Louis Jadot Pommard Rugiens 2014
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As is becoming tradition these days, I spent two mornings at Louis Jadot on the outskirts of Beaune, one dedicated to their whites and the other their reds. Apart from enjoying the wines that I think are doing very nicely under head winemaker Frédéric Barnier, the marathon offers an overview of the Burgundy region across geography and across hierarchy. I began our conversation asking about the factors that influenced the quality of the 2014 vintage...
"I would say that the important factors, not only for white, was the early and intense season with a very good spring that was warm and dry, so it was favorable for the growing and development of the vine. Maybe it was too hot during the flowering, which impacts the whites more than the reds in terms of vine stress reducing the yield. So we lost part of the crop through coulure. For Aligoté it was a disaster even though the budburst was very good."
“It was really a tale of two seasons. The second part of the season was difficult. The hailstorm at the end of June, at least in terms of area, was more reduced, affecting Beaune, Pommard and Volnay, a part of Meursault. But it was limited compared to 2013. In the affected parts, the center of the storm in Beaune and Pommard, we lost a large part of the crop, in some places we cropped less than one-third of the average. July was not so bad and it allowed the areas affected by hail to come back. There was not too much rain. August was more disturbed with a lot of water. The first two weeks were grey but not so cold, but it was humid. This retarded the cycle that had been early up to that point. When we came back in the third week of August the grapes were clearly not ready, especially the whites, the reds a little more in advance. We thought we might pick some Pinot Noir before the Chardonnay. The good thing for the white was that because of the late maturity level, it was not affected by grey rot. There was very little botrytis for the whites, just a little on the reds. The grapes were so hard that the botrytis could not attack the berries.”
“The last week in August and the first ten days in September, conditions improved with normal temperatures, dry, a northerly wind that fixed the reds and dried the soils. We still had some water in the soil in a few places. We started the maturity process and it was impressive how the white recovered the levels of ripeness over the two weeks. We had a nice balance with a good sanitary state -- not perfect, but good. It was easier for the whites than the reds where we had more sorting to do. We attained a very interesting balance, not a low level of acidity, pure. We weren't confident with the whites when we started picking (September 11 for the reds, September 13 - 16 for the whites.)”
“We had some problem with acid rot, not so much because of the suzukii fly, but because of the hot and humid weather. We had some affected in Monthélie. Some of the neighbors left the cut grapes on the soil and this attracted the flies. We lost maybe around 3%. When the flies appeared, the reds were more advanced and they attacked reds more than whites.”
“There was a good fermentation. It was cool here in Burgundy, but there was no winder until mid-December and this was good for the malolactic fermentation that was relatively early. This was good for the white. We blocked a large part of the malolactic in 2014, as there was a certain richness in the vintage that works well with acidity and freshness, so there is still malic acid for many of the whites. The whites in 2014 are very well balanced -- pure, very different from 2013 that are linear with more tension. These are richer and more rounder.”
The 2014 Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens has a crisp redcurrant and strawberry pastille-scented bouquet that perhaps does not quite have the complexity of the Grands Epenots. The palate is supple on the entry with a gentle grip. There is good density to this Rugiens, a little sinew towards the finish and perhaps more oak to be subsumed, so afford this 2-3 years in bottle.
Score: 88-90, Neal Martin
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