2020 Louis Jadot Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes
Wine Details for 2020 Louis Jadot Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes
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: If you have a craving for some beautiful, mind-expanding Pinot Noir, few regions can match the talent and consistency of Burgundy. The grape almost seems like it evolved for this very region, and its essence will stimulate your senses and arouse your imagination. Drink deep and experience almost spiritual enlightenment.
: As one of the oldest grape varieties in the world, Pinot Noir has a long and storied history which began more than 2,000 years ago. This story spans form the time of ancient Roman influence to modern day trailblazing; Old World and New World grape growing. It also involves the most unlikely of “characters” from Cistercian Monks to the Holy Pope and even Hollywood actors; each playing a part in the development of the Noble Pinot Noir grape variety. For a grape that appears simple on the surface, it may be one of the most complex varietals on earth, playing a major role in the formation of some of the most profound and distinguished winegrowing regions in the world.
Pinot Noir’s exact origin remains relatively unknown as it is far too ancient to have been recorded precisely. It is thought to have been cultivated in the rocky hillsides of Burgundy by Roman hands as early as the 1st Century AD. At that time, Roman agronomist Columella identified and tasted wine that very much seems to be consistent with today’s description of Pinot Noir. There are complex theories on how either the Greeks or Romans took cuttings of Vitis Vinefera (Pinot Noir) from the area of Transcaucasia (modern day Turkey, Iraq and Iran) and brought the wild vines to France. Speculation aside, what we do know is that the wine-loving ancient Romans spread their dominion far and wide, leaving grapevines in their wake. Their innovative devotion to cultivating wine in French soil set in motion, nurtured, and influenced the winegrowing culture that we very much enjoy today.
Around 1000 AD, long after the dismantling of the Roman Empire, the history of Pinot Noir in Burgundy begins to have clarity, greatly due to the extraordinary record keeping of the Cistercian Order of Monks (formed from the Benedictine Order). The Cistercian Monks began gaining authority outside the area of what we know today as Dijon. Devoted to hard labor and prayer, the monks began cultivating the rocky hillsides of early Burgundy, painstakingly documenting detailed records of their vineyards. Centuries of specifying their practices, describing exactly how and exactly where vines thrived or failed and how the resulting wine tasted, the Cistercian Monks unwittingly created the world’s first harvest reports while simultaneously inventing the idea of terroir. These records and the notion that wines reflect their growing locales, permanently shaped the fundamentals of winegrowing and making terroir a critical concept.
This concept really gained attention when Pope Urban V refused to return the Papal court to Rome from Avignon due to unavailability of Burgundy wines south of the Alps. The lack of commerce routes inhibiting the Burgundy wine trade did not affect the Cistercian Order of Monks as they were driven towards higher quality and excellence through religious devotion instead of monetary gain. Both the outward remarks of the Pope and diligent efforts by the monks helped place Burgundy in a class of its own.
Pinot Noir would eventually spread its wings and infiltrate Champagne, Loire and Alsace, Provence, Sancerre and Languedoc, finding hospitable terroir and new purposes along the way. From bubbles to “pink” wine, it adapted to the soil, revealing the terroir through the wine itself. The early developments and manipulation of the Pinot Noir grape within France was a precursor for the inevitable. The varietal spread through Europe and eventually making a trip around the globe landing in the Willamette Valley, Oregon (planted in 1965 by David Lett).
The Pinot Noir grape quickly found a niche in Willamette Valley where it shares the same latitude of 45 degrees north, experiencing similar sunlight as well as a similar cooler climate to that of Burgundy. A few years later it would be introduced to California where it found terroir hotspots in both cool and surprisingly hotter climates, thus spreading to Napa, Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Carneros among others, birthing New World Pinot Noir winemaking. And, of course, there was the Pinot craze that occurred after the release of the movie Sideways which manifested “Pinot snobs” around America. The 2004 American comedy set the market on fire, increasing sales of Pinot Noir in the state of California by 170 percent.
The varietal of Pinot Noir thrives in cool climates with terroir consisting of marl and limestone soils of extremely variable composition that mimics that of its ancestral home of Burgundy. For a grape that is notoriously difficult to grow, Pinot Noir is ubiquitous in winegrowing regions around the world, spanning 115,000 hectares. It may be a fussy grape, but when planted in the right location and climate, it reveals the qualities of its host terroir in many different manners.
The Noble Pinot Noir grape has greatly impacted the world of winegrowing and making while birthing the concept of terroir; from fruit forward Pinots produced in warmer California localities to New World Oregon wines with Burgundian nuances to Rose in Provence, bubbly in Champagne to the infamous Domaine de la Romanee Conti and its eye watering prices and unrivaled quality. Pinot Noir has long lived the quiet, elegant lifestyle giving Old World winemakers and consumers an ethereal pleasure. New World winemaking has granted it the opportunity for worldwide consumption on any budget and creating the Pinot Phenom. The varietal is now enjoying the best of both “worlds.”
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: Situated just west of the beautiful river Saone, the hills and valleys of Burgundy stand as they have stood since medieval times, and you can almost hear the cheerful chatter of vineyard workers from miles away. Indeed, France's identity in the world of wine would be incomplete without the inclusion of Burgundy and its many viticultural achievements. Every little sub-region of the area boasts a unique soil composition, which, when combined with the area's climate conditions, creates an incredibly diverse and appealing selection of fine wines.
Every new bottle is an adventure of its own, and a snapshot of its birthplace. You could spend years sampling great Burgundian wines, and you would still have a lot to learn, which is what makes the region so compelling for veterans and novice wine lovers alike. No matter what your taste in wines may be, there is a winery in Burgundy that could mesmerize your mind and make your senses scream with joy. And what better way to spend a comfy summer afternoon with your friends and family than with a classy bottle from some of the region's most reputable wineries? From the noble slopes of Cote d'Or to the flatlands near various settlements, let us help you on your journey as we explore Burgundy's most delicious and renowned wines.
|Subregion||Cote de Beaune|
|Climat/Vineyard||Clos des Chenes|
: It all began with a parcel of vines. In a land of great grapes and precious, coveted terroir, even these individual bits of land in Burgundy are of great importance. It was with the acquisition of the Beaune Premier Cru, Clos des Ursules, in 1826 that the story of Maison Louis Jadot began. Over the course of a long and illustrious history, Louis Jadot acquired massive holdings throughout Burgundy, built an exceptionally, trusted and revered reputation, while respecting Burgundy’s unique tradition of winemaking.
For three decades, Louis Henri Denis Jadot (the first of his family) expended time, energy and financial resources into acquiring key vineyards in the Cote d’Or, developing a grand portfolio of climats and eventually acquiring his own negociant firm. In 1859, he purchased Lemaire-Fouleaux and gave the firm his name. This became the official formation of Maison Louis Jadot. As an omnipresent figure in the Cote d’Or and a frequent traveler, Jadot acquired a faithful clientele, which only fueled his company to greater success and recognition. His ambitious efforts created a wine empire and the start of a legacy which his family would continue to cherish and uphold for over 150 years.
After the death of Louis Jadot, his son Louis Baptiste Jadot, enthusiastically carried on the work his father had begun. He expanded his export markets as well as his clientele in France, reinvesting his profits in the acquisition of vineyards in some of the finest and most famous Grand Crus and Premier Crus of the Cote d’Or. Louis Baptiste passed away in 1939, leaving control of the firm to his eldest son, Louis Auguste Jadot, who had assisted in the direction of business under his father (since 1931). He opened and greatly developed the new export market in the United States as well as those of Great Britain, Holland, South American and New Zealand.
With the emergent demands of a prospering wine business, Andre Gagey joined Maison Louis Jadot in 1954 and assisted Louis Auguste in managing the firm. Sadly, when Louis Auguste Jadot died in 1962, he was survived only by his wife. With faith and determination to continue the success and uphold the Jadot name, Gagey was appointed managing director of the firm and had full responsibilities under Jadot’s ownership and direction. Gagey oversaw the firm for 3 decades, having final decisions over selection and purchase of all grapes and wines bottled under the Jadot label, as well as the care and maintenance of the vineyards within the Jadot estate. In 1985, it was time to think about the best way to ensure that Maison Louis Jadot could face the future while remaining faithful to its heritage. Madame Jadot made the decision to sell the business to the family of Rudy Kopf, the US importer of Jadot wines.
Today, with extensive vineyard holdings in nearly every corner of Burgundy, including Cote de Beaune, Cote de Nuits, Cote Chalonnaise, Maconnais, Chablis as well as vineyards in Beaujolais, Maison Louis Jadot ranks among the premier producers and negociants of traditional, Burgundian single variety wines. These holdings include some of Burgundy’s most famous vineyards, including Le Musigny, Echezeaux, Chapelle-Chambertin and the famously fragmented Clos de Vougeot Vineyard. Jadot wines are also made in the historic and legendary Grand Cru’s of Chambertin, Montrachet, Corton and Romanee Saint Vivant.
Jadot’s list of some 150 labels presents a unique collection of Grand and Premier Cru vineyards, much of which the company owns; the house can boast that a large percentage of Louis Jadot wines are made from grapes grown on their own vines or in vineyards under the company’s management control. Maison Louis Jadot owns an impressive 215 hectares, 120 of which reside in Grand Cru and Premier Cru locations. This is incredibly significant considering these are the highest classifications in Burgundy.
While Jadot has adapted to modern production techniques, these have remained subservient to the company’s insistence on traditional winemaking methods. All four grape varieties (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligote and Gamay) are harvested and selected by hand, all wines are aged exclusively in wood and the wines themselves are prepared with only natural ingredients. The company’s labels also respect tradition, where it denotes the specific vineyard from which its grapes originated. Each bottle of Louis Jadot is stamped with its unmistakable ‘Bacchus’ label which pays tribute to the man who began a mission of creating a product accessible to those looking for quality Burgundy wines.
Burghound | 90-93 BH
The 2020 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes (Domaine Louis Jadot) reveals aromas of rich berries, orange rind, peonies and warm spices. Medium to full-bodied, with a lively core of fruit, ripe but firm tannins and a nicely defined finish, it will demand some bottle age.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91-93 RP
The 2020 Volnay Clos des Chênes 1er Cru comprises of one 456-litre barrel this year. It has a very well-defined bouquet with seamlessly integrated oak and impressive mineralité. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, fine delineation, just a little chewiness on the entry but there is tension interwoven into this Volnay from start to finish, plus great persistency. Superb.
Vinous Media | 91-93 VM