Easily recognizable by the grinning god Bacchus on the pale yellow label gracing its wines, Maison Louis Jadot has for over a century been synonymous with excellence in Burgundy. From the Jadot family’s very first purchase of Clos des Ursules, a Beaune Premier Cru, in 1826 the estate has grown into a vast collection of carefully selected vineyards, 240 hectares of vines from the Cote d’Or to the Maconnais and down into Beaujolais. Rather than defining a signature style, Louis Jadot has long championed the idea of minimal involvement, allowing the wines to clearly express the nature of the specific terroirs from which they came without later shaping them too much at the winery. The result is a dazzling array of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, each reenacting the behavior of a Burgundian climat in a given vintage.
The Piecing Together of a Burgundian Puzzle
The story of Louis Jadot is one of strategic acquisitions, the piecing together of a puzzle of terroirs. The house was founded as an independent wine merchant in 1859 by Louis Henry Denis Jadot, although the Jadot family had begun purchasing land with Clos des Ursules in Beaune in 1826. In 1900 the estate was passed down to Louis Jean Baptiste Jadot who began rapidly expanding the property by purchasing several vineyards, including Corton Charlemagne and Chevalier Montrachet Les Demoiselles. Andre Gagey joined the company as Director in 1962 and his son, Pierre-Henry Gagey became president of the company in 1992. In 1985 Madame Jadot sold part of the estate (Domaine Louis Jadot) to its US importer Kobrand, keeping Domaine Gagey for the Gaget family and Heritiers Louis Jadot for the Jadot family. The wines of Domaine Louis Jadot have been especially successful in the restaurant sector, frequently appearing on wine lists of both small establishments and larger hotels. This can be attributed in part to the diversity of the range, which offers something for everyone, from the wine novice to the more experienced consumer and the professional sommelier.
Terroir: A Patchwork of Climats in Burgundy
Louis Jadot expands over 240 hectares of vines scattered across the Burgundy region, from the Cote d’Or and the Maconnais to Beaujolais in the south. The vineyards are managed by a team of 70 or so people led by Pierre-Henry Gagey, using traditional practices, without the use of synthetic products (including fertilizers and herbicides) for the past 20 years. Either tractors or horses are used to carry out the work on the field, depending on the nature of each vineyard. The various layers of soil are left intact, with most vineyard work focusing on the surface. Yields are controlled through adaptive pruning and, in some cases, by allowing grasses to grow between vine rows and compete for resources with the vines. This results in the vine roots digging deeper into the soil, increasing access to nutrients and minerals in the soil and making for grapes that are more complex in flavor. Around 15 hectares of vines in the Cote d’Or appellation are managed with biodynamic methods. The vineyards are also certified HVE (High Environmental Value) and will achieve the level 3 of this certification in just a few years.
Savoir Faire: A Legacy of Crafting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay
After the Pinot Noir is harvested by hand and carefully selected, the fruit is destemmed and added to oak or stainless steel for a long maceration. Alcoholic fermentation is carried out with the use of wild yeasts, followed by a slow malo-lactic fermentation in oak barrels. The wine matures for a period of 12 to 18 months – in stainless steel for the simpler Burgundies and some of the Village wines, and in oak (1/3 new oak barrels, 1/3 oak barrels of one use and 1/3 barrels of 2 previous uses) for the Grand Crus, Premier Crus and the rest of the Village wines. The liquid is clarified naturally, but not fined before bottling. It is, however, sometimes lightly filtered to achieve the desired texture.
In the case of the Chardonnay, harvest is also carried out by hand and the grapes pressed. The must is then left in stainless steel for around 36 hours in order to allow it to settle. Alcoholic fermentation takes place slowly in oak, with wild yeasts, followed by either partial or total malo-lactic fermentation, depending on the vintage. The aging process is usually long in order to allow for the expression of a wider range of aromas. The wines are often lightly fined before bottling.
Following a manual harvest, the Gamay grapes at Louis Jadot undergo rigorous selection. They are then destemmed and left to ferment with wild yeasts, macerating for two to three weeks. This is followed by malo-lactic fermentation and maturation, half in oak barrels and half in stainless steel. The estate’s Beaujolais Nouveaux wines are aged in stainless steel, allowing them to express the natural flavors of the fruit more clearly. They are bottled quickly after fermentation, aging only for 6-8 months. Louis Jadot also produces a range of wines from Chateau des Jacques, half of which are aged in barrels, and the other half in stainless steel. The wines are blended before bottling, after around ten months of aging.
Maison Louis Jadot also owns its very own cooperage, Cadus, established in 1995. The oak is sourced from some of the best forests of France and seasoned in the open air for 30 months before being shaped into 228-liter Burgundian barrels. It is in these barrels that the most prized wines of Louis Jadot rest, slowly developing into complex, elegant and intense expressions of Burgundy’s terroir.
Three of Our Favorites From Louis Jadot
Louis Jadot : Vosne-Romanee Village 2012
The Vosne-Romanee Village 2012 from Louis Jadot is a single-varietal Pinot Noir red wine coming from the Vosne Romanee vineyard situated in the commune of Flagey, one of the most famous climats of Burgundy. The vines are planted in chalk and clay soils with some stones at an altitude of 320 meters. The wine is fermented in open vats for 3-4 weeks and then aged in oak barrels for 18 months.
The Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanee Village 2012 is a full-bodied and well balanced wine, displaying a pretty ruby color. On the nose, it exudes intense aromas of violets and cherry, consistent with a mild and delicate palate. This wine will age nicely for 5 to 10 years.Browse this Wine