Located on a gentle slope from vines purchased in 2012, the 2013 Chorey-les-Beaune Beaumonts has a perfumed, floral bouquet with impressive intensity and delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with chalky tannins, a keen thread of acidity and a structured, slightly austere, grainy finish that is nicely focused. Closed at the moment, I can foresee this opening nicely once in bottle.
Score: (88-90) points -- Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, Dec 2014
Like last year, I sectioned off two morning sessions to taste through the complete range of Louis Jadot’s Côte d’Or wines. That’s over 100 wines and so I prefer to not rush, spend my time diligently tasting and comparing each one in the presence of winemaker Frédéric Barnier and then on the second morning accompanied by proprietor Pierre-Henry Gagey, fresh from a ten-day fasting in Germany and positively bounding with positivity. With such a plethora of vineyards under their wing, both owned and rented, both gentlemen have a birds-eye view of how Burgundy performed in the vintage.
“It was a late vintage due to the late start to the vegetative cycle,” Frédéric began. “Especially the first half of the year was difficult. There was no spring! Between April and May, there was double the amount of average rainfall and a significant lack of sunshine that disturbed the vines. It was very challenging with a strong pressure of oïdium and mildew. Summer was better and it probably saved the vintage, except what happened at the end of July, with the three big hailstorms that devastated a large area, around 1,500 hectares from Aloxe-Corton to Meursault. It was just 20 minutes at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I was actually here in Beaune, in the tasting room with some clients, and I could see the hail mixed with rain outside. So I called the vineyard manager. He said it was just rain, so we went into the vineyards together and we could see the devastation. We had some flooding in the winery and damage to the roof. At the same time, we were lucky because it was a late cycle that gave the vines two months to recover. The weather just after the hail was dry and not too hot, so this helped the convalescence and the scars on the vine could heal. August was very good and the vines restarted to build the leaves so that the quality of grapes was perfect, even in the hail-affected vineyards. So, in a way we were lucky. It was actually more challenging than in 2014. September was where the ripeness and maturity came so it was very important because at the beginning of that month some of the grapes were still green. There was still some rain so we had to be very patient to obtain a suitable level of ripeness, rather than what you would call a "perfect ripeness." At the end of September, we decided to pick the grapes not too late, starting with the whites on September 25: 90% picked before the first weekend in October when it was raining a lot. This made a big difference to the quality.”
“There are two vintages: people who picked before and picked after that weekend when 50mm of rain changed the quality. We had to sort the grapes carefully. My fear was to have vegetal notes that you can sometimes have in late vintages, but during the fermentation we could see nice colors, no aggression and no vegetal notes, which you could never have predicted when you saw the weather first-hand during 2013. In Burgundy, we do not need fantastic weather to reach full maturity, it is more important to reach phenolic maturity. The weather in 2012 was nice during harvest, but that was not the case in 2013. Around 90% of the white and reds had to be chaptalized. Some of the whites were picked at 12.2%, but that was the top maturity we had in 2013. The acidity was mainly malic acidity and it was important to keep some of this and I did not want the feeling of a low acidity of wine, so in some crus we decided to stop the malolactic early.”
“The good surprise in 2013 is the purity of the fruit, especially when you compare to say 2004. It does not have the density of richness of 2012 but you do have that purity. Both 2012 and 2013 were expensive in terms of production in order to protect the vineyard and we have half the normal yield so we are at the limit of farming. We know in Burgundy we need to suffer to make good wine, to have this freshness and balance.”
It is difficult to summarize the quality of Jadot’s wines when they are so numerous. Certainly, as I remarked in last year’s report, I feel that Frédéric Barnier has adroitly stepped into the large charismatic shoes of his predecessor Jacques Lardière, and while not every label is a home run, the general quality is of admirable standard given the size and logistical complexity of their operation. In some ways, you can view Louis Jadot as a barometer of how Burgundy performed as a whole, excelling in areas such as Gevrey-Chambertin, while others such as Nuits Saint Georges were more variable. That is to be expected in a challenging season such as 2013. Certainly there are some outstanding wines that, as I have mentioned countless times, stand shoulder to shoulder with more bijou domaines that command much higher prices. However, compare them blind, and it is clear that the quality here can often match and occasionally surpass them.