A Taste of Burgundy

Maison Louis Jadot held its most extensive Dallas tasting ever on November 17th 2003, presenting a sampling of wines from Burgundy. Maison Louis Jadot is a négociant as well as a grower, with a broad spectrum of wines made by house winemaker Jacques Lardière.

We tasted Chardonnays, mostly from the Côte de Beaune, then reds from the Côte de Beaune, and last, wines from the Côte de Nuits.

Vintage and quality
Master Sommelier Olivier Masmondet confirmed that 2002 promises to be a great year for the entire region, and explained how the assessment of a vintage affects the quality of wines.

A good winemaker can make a good wine in any vintage.

In a bad year, there’s much more variance between the great Grand Cru and the Village wines, but you still can find good and great wines.

Since it is easier to make good wine in a good vintage, you will find many good and great wines, whether Grand Cru, Premier Cru, or Village, in a good year.

A Village wine may not have the aging potential or the delicate nuances of Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines, but can still be an enjoyable wine that holds its own, reflects the terroir, and is an excellent food-friendly accompaniment.

In any vintage, on a budget or on a roll, discerning buyers can obtain a high quality wine – red or white – that is characteristic of the terroir.

Chardonnay, mostly from the Côte de Beaune
Beaujolais has a few plantings of Chardonnay among its Gamay vineyards. Maison Jadot acquired Château des Jacques in 1996, to add single vineyard Beaujolais wines to the house.

We tasted Château des Jacques Grand Clos de Loyse Beaujolais-Villages Blanc, 100% Chardonnay, followed by three Village and two Premier Cru Chardonnays from the Côte de Beaune, known for its great whites and also home of some great reds.

· Savigny-les-Beaune 2001 Village: very pale and crystal clear, lemon and pear nose, and big oak.

· Meursault 2001 Village: a contrast to the first wines; lemon, tropical fruit; almond aromas; buttery flavor.

Both Premier Cru wines, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle 2001 with its honeysuckle aroma, and Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Garenne 1999 with its green apple aroma, had a lustrous appearance and minerality, plus an earthy quality.

My concentration was broken by my colleague’s personal bias, “…the Montrachet rocks!”

Côte de Beaune, clear luminous reds
· Pommard 2000 Village: spice, cherry, blackberry, sweet plum on the nose and taste of berries. The only Village from the Côte de Beaune group but priced the same as the next three 1999 Premier Cru wines.

· Pernand-Vergelesses, Clos de la Croix de Pierre 1999 Premier Cru: red berry and cherry nose, big and rich.

· Beaune-Theurons 1999 Premier Cru: bigger, more pronounced flavor and body, black fruit, wood.

· Beaune-Boucherottes 1999 Premier Cru: as big as the Theurons, smoothest of all.

· Last, the Corton-Pougets 1999 Grand Cru: full nose, dark fruit, firm, complex.

Côte de Nuits
Three reds from the heart of great reds, all characterized by delicacy, and two breathtaking whites:

· Fixin 2001 Village (recommended)
· Chambolle-Musigny 1999 Village, an indescribable air, very delicate
· Chapelle-Chambertin 2001 Grand Cru.

Cautioned not to try this at home, we were then asked to taste two of the best white wines in the world “to clear our palates” after the reds:

· Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne 2001, buttery
· Grand Cru Criots-Batard-Montrachet 2001, made with purchased grapes: slightly lighter, clean.

Regardless of rarity or cost, wines exist to be fully enjoyed and consumed with good food and friends.

To learn more about Burgundy, read, taste or take a class such as All about Pinot Noir, Old & New World, taught by Beat Kotoun, December 12th, 2003 at Central Market Dallas, 214.361.5754.

Karen and Richard Silverston, November 2003