Tasted in Romanèche-Thorins with Cyril Chirouze, 04 February 2019.
Château des Jacques
47 Les Jacques
Tel: +33 3 85 35 51 64
Cyril on 2018:
“In 2018 we had some good fortune with 44 hl/ha – my average is 39 here – so 10% higher. 40% of the surface is already organic and much of the rest on conversion. Until 10th of June – the change of the moon – it rained almost every day, the bottom of Moulin à Vent had some mildew issues, so because of that we lost a little yield. April was hot until the rain, all the high zone of Moulin à Vent really suffered from the dryness and heat – here I lost about 10% probably – but the average yield is fine. We have good colours from grapes where we started to pick 30 August in Morgon and the bottom of Moulin à Vent – we finished 15 September. Some days had 35°C in the afternoon and a south wind so there was an effect of concentrating the grapes. Tasting the cuvées there’s a bit more acidity than 2015, perhaps a profile that resembles 2009. The first vintage at the domaine that the chardonnay was picked before the pinot. Highest degrees were one or two tanks with 14° here.”
Cyril on 2017:
“In 2017 the conditions were ideal, and no mildew – provided you didn’t get hit by hail it was pretty much perfect. Very easy to ferment compared to the 2018s which required more attention. Practically no parcels here were free from hail – it required a very significant attention to the triage – 17 hl/ha for the domaine – best was Côte du Py with 20 hl/ha! In 2016 we lost 100% of Fleurie, twice! It was like winter in the summer of 2016 – in 2017 the vines needed twice the time to prune. In 2017 the leaves were hit, but not the same stark effect on the wood of the vines – so the 2018 pruning was much easier than in 2017 – but 2017 was still a recovery vintage here – even before the hail there was still only about 30 hl/ha on the vines…
“For use it was of the highest importance to keep the dried fruit out of the fermentation – those berries affected by hail. We started harvesting 1st September, finished 21 September – the longest harvest in the history of the domaine because of the lack of consistency in ripening. In 2017 the hail came late – after the last treatment – 10 July – I half considered another bio treatment – but everything was dry – so we left it as it was.
“I think of 2017 as more digest than 2015 and with more material than 2016 – but I love 2016! 2017 is a good mix between the massive and the best qualities of some of the previous vintages without their excesses. I believe that 15 is a great vintage – given time – but it’s hardly typical – you could compare it to 1976 which is hallucinant now, but wasn’t very highly regarded for a long time.”
Top class – in my first couple of visits to this domaine I was disappointed with the amount of creamy-vanilla oak I encountered in the young wines – but for a couple of vintages now, top marks – perfectly balanced, beautiful wines – indeed, great wines, bravo!
Starting with two whites, both bottled in the Spring of 2018, not 100% malo for these wines to ‘keep a certain tension’:
2017 Beaujolais Blanc Clos de Loyse
Between Crêche and La Chapelle de Guinchay, quite close to the route nationale – there is granite here but it’s two metres down! This all tank elevage. 20 hl/ha – because hit by the end of the hail storm
Ripe, yellow fruit, tending a little to pineapple. Full, round, a decent energy in the middle and holding quite a decent intensity in the finish too, slightly mineral in the finish – not austerity, tasty, full wine.
2017 Bourgogne Blanc Clos de Loyse
Same provenance, the Clos de Loyse has been part of the domaine since at least the 1930s. Allowed fermentation to start in tank, and then a part of the wine elevaged in barrel, only racked before the bottling. ‘It’s not meant to be a competition for Pouilly-Fuissé, it simply shows what chardonnay can bring here in the north of Beaujolais, without any limestone.’
Not a bigger nose, but almost an impression of a little more freshness. Like the nose, more line, a little more drive to the wine, almost a touch of phenolic texture. The flavour is less overt, but the impression is finer over the palate. This is excellent!
3 origins, 50% of the total from Bellevue
Deep colour – I can just see through it. Hmm – I love this nose – a little mineral, graphite, complex, certainly some darker fruit too! Full, mouth-filling, great complexity of flavour, a little licorice. Supple, nothing hard. Great ‘Morgon’ – I love the length.
75% Bel Air, the rest Grille Midi
A rounder nose, some suggestion of flowers and a less dark fruit, less overtly mineral too – though no less inviting. Nicely mouth-filling once-more. A fresher aspect to this wine – more overt tannin too – an intensity of finishing flavour – bitter chocolate finishing, perhaps also a touch of licorice. Super length, but you should drink the Morgon while waiting for this!
8 different climats but the largest part comes from Rochegrès
A more fruit-driven nose – and of some depth of dark fruit too, time brings a fine floral extra too. Ooh – a step up in texture and the ‘vivid-ness’ of energy for the flavour. Growing in intensity, layered, always fresh – Great
That was three wines that will be great in 5 years, but only two are great today – the Fleurie needing much more time
2017 Moulin à Vent La Roche
From 2 hectares of vines
A fine nose – good top notes, accented with a little salinity and a fine depth too – a great invitation. Smooth, silky, deep, a more layered delivery of flavour, with a little ripple of tannin below. The finish has both weight and complexity – still some salinity here too.
A similar shape of aroma to La Roche but with more insistent fruit – almost touched with a little almond. Hmm, much fresher, more direct, more energetic, more to wait for – really great width of tannin-inflected finishing flavour – ooh that’s a baby – but a great one!
A different style of nose – wide and finely complex – this fine complexity is the gamay equivalent of Vosne-Romanée, almost a suggestion of the floral too – never overt but still perfumed. Nice volume, fresh energy – mineral, lovely dimensions of flavour – almost the least involving of these three wines today – but I feel the most complete – aromatically the greatest – from the flavours – more to wait for, a fine finishing vibration of flavour. Great wine in waiting though.
A much deeper nose, sweeter, almost caramel sweetness. Big, round but fresh too – there’s no fat here. Framed with a modest tannic texture, vibrantly finishing – wide finishing flavour. More density to the flavour than the Thorins – more open and upfront today too – deliciously great!
From the top, east-facing with little soil, blended with a lower parcel and with more depth of soil.
A deeper colour – almost saturated. Floral and herbs mixed above the forward fruit. The most mouth-filling of all these – the freshest too – plenty of very fine tannin though the astringency is very modest. Less modest is the intensity. Wiry and muscular – the energy is completely different. Small waves of finishing flavour.
2017 IGP Syrah des Jacques
2 barrels from 1 ha (of the domaine’s 38 hectares), planted in 2015 – which was already a challenge due to the dryness, one parcel in Rochegrès the other just above Les Genevrières – this the 3rd flowering – 9 barrels would be a proper yield. Harvest is 3 weeks later than the gamay…
The colour is quite similar to the previous wines in both shade and depth. The first nose is similar to the gamays but it gains in direction and brings an almost a medicinal – no it’s menthol – style to the aroma, slowly a little floral too. Less weight and depth to the flavour but lovely waves of flavour over the palate – like a Bourgogne before a grand cru.