2015 Louis Jadot Meursault

Year: 2015
Appellation: Cote de Beaune
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 87-89
Burghound: 88--Wine Enthusiast: 92
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
$49.95

"Balanced and creamy, this white will please many. Peach, apple, honey and spice flavors abound and the smooth texture carries them well. Finishes with a fresh, lemon- and spice-tinged aftertaste. Drink now through 2024. 4,000 cases made. -BS" (WS)

"The 2015 Meursault Villages has quite a rich bouquet with clear honey and brioche aromas rather disguising its origins at the moment. The palate is crisp on the entry, again well balanced with a fine threat of acidity, though I would like more Meursault character, that trademark nuttiness, to come through on the finish by the time of bottling.

As is customary, I conducted two tasting sessions devoted to almost the entire range of wines from Louis Jadot, one for the white and the other reds, with head winemaker Frédéric Barnier. "In 2015 there is not a huge difference in the cycle between Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. The beginning of the cycle it was very hot, reducing the windows between the warm and cooler place, so everything was quite ripe at the same time, even from Chablis to Beaujolais. There are 2 main periods: when it was very hot and dry, from May until the first half of July and after that, we had a more balanced summer with some water, whilst the weather was not as hot as before. Flowering was quick and véraison was later compared to the cycle at the end of July (although early compared to another vintage like 2016). This was important to have good balance in the grapes, and not too low in acidity. The rain rejuvenated the vines. When the grapes were picked, the weather was not extreme. In 2015 you feel the concentration and ripeness, but also the freshness with good acidity. Nothing is 'cooked' as you can have in a hot summer."

I asked Frédéric whether there was any water stress during the dry latter part of the season. "There was a lot of water in the soils in the winter so there was no hydric stress apart from a few parcels on the lower slopes that began to show signs of trouble (in fact there has been more in 2016). The vines were used to being stressed since the warmth was over a long period of time. At the end of June, around 26 or 27 June, there was 50-60mm of rain, which was just what we needed and made the difference between the Côte d'Or and say, Beaujolais or Mâconnais, where you could have very high degrees of alcohol. There was a hot wind at the end of August and this accelerated the sugar level, so we had to be careful with the Chardonnay. We started to pick on 2 September for the whites, a crazy week of picking from everywhere including a few red grapes from the Beaune appellation, especially the parcels with a very low yield. The Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits were picked the second week. We had the time to pick and the grapes were perfect. The grand crus were picked over 2 days with one team. We finished the picking on 14 September, 12 days in total with a break at the weekend. The reds were between 13.0° and 13.5° with good pH around 3.45-3.50, total acidity around 4-gm/L."

"We did not do any acidification, choosing to play with the malolactic instead. In fact, 90% has no malolactic at all. The level of malic acid was very low even though August was not too warm, between 1 to 1.5-gms per litre, less than half of what it turned out to be in 2016. We found that the acidity increased during alcoholic fermentation and found this to be driven by succenique acid, which is usual in reds, but very unusual to find in such levels with whites. The feeling of the acidity is strong, the pH coming from the concentration and the mix of different acidities. I don't think it is a big risk blocking the malo. The pH was crazy and the grapes kept good balance. For example, I have been following the barrels one by one - it's a big amount of work from September to mid-March. We will bottle the whites in February and March, the red next May. It would not surprise me if the reds close up after bottling."

Tasting over 100 wines from a single producer is a gargantuan task, although you profit by learning about the region as a whole, seen through the lens of a single team of winemaker(s). Singling out specific wines is an impossible task , therefore I will make the following points. Firstly, like so many others, the quality clearly lies with the red 2015s over the whites. Even though the latter were better than expected, most of them could not capture the crystal clarity, the nervosité of the previous vintage. With respect to the reds, that is a different matter entirely. I would not describe them as a consistent range of wines, partly because with such a variation between parcels and a short picking window, perhaps a couple were not quite picked at the optimal moment. That is no criticism, just the reality of dealing with such logistics. Strong appellations include Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny, though clever buyers will not ignore some really superb wines from Corton, especially as they do not command such a premium price. If on a budget, why not the Vosne-Romanée Village or some excellent Beaune premier crus under the "Héritiers des Louis Jadot" label, often one of their strongest enclaves. See also "Domaine Gagey," "Domaine Louis Jadot," "Domaine Duc de Magenta" and "Domaine des Héritiers Jadot" for more tasting notes under the Louis Jadot umbrella." (WA)

"A pungent nose of oak, petrol, apple butter and pear compote leads to round and plump yet attractively vibrant medium-bodied flavors that possess very good mid-palate density while exhibiting good length on the reasonably focused and balanced finish where hints of bitter lemon and warmth are present. This is a very rich Meursault villages that is almost opulent but not at all top-heavy and thus could easily be enjoyed young." (BH)

"Here's a plump, comfortable wine reflecting the warm vintage for whites. It is rich and soft, although with plenty of toast and spice from the barrel fermentation and aging. This generous wine needs a few more months to allow the fruit to speak. Drink from late 2018." (WE)

Winery Notes
With those of Puligny, Chassagne and Blagny, the vineyards of Meursault comprise a four-mile strip of the Côte de Beaune known as the "Côte des Blancs". These four communes produce the most exquisite dry white wines of Burgundy, rivalled only by the rare white wines of Corton-Charlemagne, Vougeot and Musigny. Meursault's A.O.C. vineyards cover 1,138 acres, the most extensive of the Côte de Blancs; these are approximately 30 percent in nine premier cru and 70 percent in village vineyards. The adjoining commune of Blagny contributes another 58 acres among four white premier cru vineyards which are classified as Meursault-Blagny. Only slightly less than 6 percent of the average annual production of 13,800 hectolitres (153,300 cases) under these three appellations is in red wine.

According to Pierre Forgeot, the name "Meursault" is derived from "murasalt," an ancient form of fortified camp situated on high terrain and likely surrounded by walls. Meursault's vineyards were first documented in 1102, when Duke Eudes II of Burgundy bequeathed property to the order of Cîteaux. The village of Meursault has remained the commercial center of the southern Côte de Beaune, and is the site of the annual "Paulée de Meursault", officially held since 1932. This celebratory, end-of-harvest feast, which at its origin united the growers, vineyard workers and proprietors at the same table, is named for the traditional dish of freshly-slaughtered pork, which was sliced and sauteed, or "poêlé", and served with wines brought by all who attended.

The wines of Meursault are the most charming and feminine of the Côte des Blancs, less rich than those of Puligny and more subtle than those of Chassagne. A naturally high glycerine content lends the wine a lovely, mellow roundness which neither compromises its dry freshness nor its ability to age with exceptional grace. Maison Louis Jadot vinifies the production of several growers in the commune with which it holds purchase agreements based on quality of the fruit from harvest to harvest. A traditional vinification in oak casks, the age and origin of which are determined according to the qualities of the vintage, is carried out to enhance and sustain these characteristics typical of Meursault: a fragrant, ripe, full-fruited bouquet which is confirmed on the palate, a generous, supple texture, and the distinctive hazelnut and spice nuances which carry into a persistent finish of great finesse.