2015 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanee

Year: 2015
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 87-89
Burghound: 89-92
Red Wine

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"The 2015 Vosne-Romanée Village has an uncomplicated but attractive raspberry and wild strawberry-scented bouquet. The palate has a nice piquancy on the entry, builds in the mouth to a structured finish that is detailed and focused, though just shortchanges a little on the aftertaste. Still, this is a very decent Vosne-Romanée.

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 spicy nose consists of dark currant, violet and Asian-style tea nuances where a note of dried orange peel can be discerned. Similarly there is that lovely trait of inner mouth perfume to the velvety and caressing yet quite serious and muscular flavors that are borderline robust while delivering excellent length. This is not an especially elegant Vosne villages but offers terrific quality and especially fine complexity. Recommended. (BH)

Winery Notes
For viticultural purposes, the adjacent communes of Vosne-Romanée and Flagey-Echézeaux are considered to be one. At the very center of the Côte de Nuits, Flagey-Echézeaux is bordered by Chambolle-Musigny on the north and Clos-Vougeot on the north and east; adjoining Flagey to the south, Vosne-Romanée is bordered on its own southern edge by Nuits-Saint-Georges. The two communes wrap around a contiguous slope of southeast and east exposure, in Vosne, to an east and northeast exposure in Flagey. Taken separately, Vosne- Romanée covers 388 acres and Flagey-Echézeaux 177 acres, but all the village level and premier cru vineyards of the latter fall under the Vosne-Romanée and Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru appellations; only the grands crus of Flagey-Echézeaux bear the commune name.

Thus, of the 243 acres of Vosne-Romanée village vineyards, 210 lie in Vosne and 33 lie in Flagey. The fourteen premier cru vineyards cover just over 141 acres: eleven of these are in Vosne, two are in Flagey, and one is split between the two, with total acreage of 113 and 28 acres, respectively, in each commune. The seven grands crus, arguably the greatest of the Côte d'Or, are less complicated: Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, La Romanée, Romanée-Saint-Vivant and Richebourg are in Vosne- Romanée and cover 64.7 acres; Grands-Echézeaux and Echézeaux are in Flagey-Echézeaux and cover 115.8 acres. Annual production, which is exclusively in red wines, averages 5,386 hectolitres (64,950 cases) in the village and premier cru vineyards, with the grands crus contributing another 1,910 hectolitres (21,200 cases).

The village of Vosne, known as early as 639 as "Vaona," was in later centuries a hunting preserve of the Dukes of Burgundy, who maintained a lodge where the village now stands. Most of the buildings have been constructed since 1870, when Vosne was nearly razed in the Franco-Prussian war. Viticulture dates at least to 1232, when the vineyard now known as Romanée-Conti belonged to the Abbey of Cîteaux. While the quality of the grands crus is justifiably exalted, and of the premiers crus very high, the quality of the village wines is often variable. If partly due to variation in soils evident also among the grands crus, some growers clearly rest on the laurels garnered by the name of this great commune. Choice of producer is thus of special importance in choosing a village Vosne-Romanée, the best of which are sublime wines. Maison Louis Jadot holds purchase agreements with growers in Vosne and Flagey and produces a classic, elegant Vosne-Romanée of silkiness, finesse and breed, with supple, exotically-scented red berries and spice allied to a firm yet ethereal tannic structure, and a finish of lingering woodsy notes.