2015 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanee les Suchots 1er Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 92-94
Vinous Media: 88-90
Burghound: 91-93--Wine Enthusiast: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :

"Medium red. Ripe aromas of raspberry and cocoa powder. Sweet and plush on entry, then a bit clenched in the middle, showing a medicinal reserve as well as a faint greenness to its raspberry and dark chocolate flavors complicated by spices and herbs. The wine's green element has a drying effect on the granular tannins. An awkward showing today--and very different in style from the wines vinified by Frédéric Barniet at Jadot." (VM)

"The 2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots has a distinct marine influence on the nose, shucked oyster shells and iodine complementing the red berry fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, gentle but insistent grip, very good depth with the exuberance and precocity you expect from this vineyard. It should age with panache for 15-20 years.

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)

"In contrast to the prior two wines this is aromatically much more reserved though aggressive swirling eventually liberates Asian spice box, tea, plum and violet scents. There is fine richness to the very suave and highly seductive medium-bodied flavors thanks to the abundant amounts of dry extract that impart a sappy texture to the lingering and solidly complex finale. This is both classy and stylish and built to reward medium plus-term aging." (BH)

"With so many grand cru vineyards in this small village, even the premier crus make excellent wines. This is a case in point, a powerful wine packed with tannins, dense black fruit and a solid structure. The future looks good, with opulent fruit about to come through the framework. Drink this wine from 2023." (WE)