"The 2012 Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru is more mild-mannered and serious on the nose when compared to the Echezeaux – poker-faced black fruit hand in hand with tertiary aromas. The palate is very refined with silky smooth tannins. This is very harmonious with impressive weight and sensuality towards the finish that fans out with more precision and grace than the Echezeaux, retaining tight control at every moment. Excellent.
One statement nonchalantly uttered by head winemaker Frederic Barnier not only summed up the 2012 vintage, but the plight of Burgundy in recent years. “We have lost around one and a half crops out of the last four.” Imagine losing your equivalent income? For a significant negociant such as Louis Jadot, one that under outgoing(ish) winemaker Jacques Lardiere and his successor, have constantly striven for quality, that dearth of fruit has a major impact. The dramatic decrease in crop means that more people are “fighting” for top quality contracted fruit. The rise in land prices has exacerbated the problem as few can afford to buy vineyards and therefore resort to building small negociant businesses and join the queue. Now, small operations that just require one flagship barrel of grand cru might just be able to afford to pay over the odds. However, a merchant such as Jadot simply cannot afford to do that when they need dozens of barrels to satisfy worldwide demand. So how do they do it? “Relationships,” answers Frederic, “It all comes down to relationships with our contracted growers.” For evidence of that, just flick down to my review of their Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet that came a whisker away from never being made. So with all the sturm und drang, how are Louis Jadot faring? Suffice to say that Frederic seems to have slipped into Jacques Lardiere’s impossible-to-fill shoes by simply slipping into his own. There was a confidence about him when I conducted two morning sessions with him, though he never crosses the line into braggadocio. The first tasting focused on a complete horizontal of the white. “The (white) 2012s were very rich,” he remarked. “Some of the village crus were overwhelmed and they were too fat and heavy. So in order to maintain freshness we blocked the malo-lactic through sulfur addition.” Frederic goes into more detail of the vintage in the accompanying video, but the main point is that the skins were thick and the berries yielded very little juice. This meant that he had to exact a very prudent vinification in order to eke out the free-run juice without leeching hard, bitter, perhaps astringent elements. He appears to have done exactly that. While I would not say that it was an unmitigated success, after all when you annually produce 100 crus there are bound to be some that don’t quite make the grade, Louis Jadot’s 2012s continue a fine run of form that disprove the theory that large-scale merchants cannot produce wine equal if not better than bijou growers. And that comes from a lot of sweat and tears. Frederic rued that he had not seen his wife or children over the previous four weeks during the harvest! But these prenatal wines appear to have made that temporary estrangement worthwhile. These samples were all taken from barrel and prepared by Frederic Barnier on the same morning of my arrival, with as much effort to reflect the final blend as possible. Note that for the village crus, samples did not include deselected premier crus barrels that will obviously ameliorate those wines." (WA)
"The 2012 Grands Echézeaux wraps around the palate with silky red berries, spices, crushed flowers and mint. The Grands Echézeaux is one of the more open and expressive 2012s in the range, which leads me to think it will drink well relatively early. Feminine, gracious and a bit ethereal in style, the 2012 is very nicely balanced." (VM)
"A slightly more complex and even a bit more elegant nose offers up notes of menthol, spice and very fresh red currant and wild raspberries that are set off by moderate wood influence. There is excellent richness to the mouth coating big-bodied flavors that brim with plenty of dry extract as well as solid power and muscle on the gorgeously long finale. This is at present very serious and while not rustic it's clear that this will require plenty of cellaring." (BH)