Tasted in Romanèche-Thorins with Cyril Chirouze, 17 May 2016.
Château des Jacques
47 Les Jacques
Tel: +33 3 85 35 51 64
The Château des Jacques is a well-known name in the Jadot wine portfolio, but I didn’t realise that it was quite so large – covering 86 hectares, the vines mainly sitting in Moulin à Vent and Morgon, 37 hectares in Rochegrès and even 9 hectares of white in Chapelle de Guinchey.
It’s pretty much the 20th anniversary of Jadot’s purchase and their man at the helm of the domaine is ‘Director’ Cyril Chirouze: Cyril began wine-making at the Beaujolais domaine of Piron in 2006 before moving to the Château des Jacques between 2007 and 2013. He then worked for a couple of years at the Château de Marsannay before returning to Château des Jacques in 2015.
The buildings of the domaine date from the 19 century, but the old cellars below are earlier – from the 17th century.
Cyril says that they plan a new cuverie construction after the 2016 harvest. 100 harvesters are used each year, the grapes being destemmed and triaged – Cyril explaining that the château was one of the pioneers of destemming – even before the time of Jadot’s ownership. They use 3-4 weeks cuvaison, currently in cement, but that will be mixed with stainless-steel in the future. The chardonnay sees only stainless-steel. The grapes go into tanks cool to delay fermentation, but without overt pre-fermentation-maceration. The tanks are ‘relatively’ small, because the different parcels are all fermented separately – “Necessary when maturity could be a week apart. We find pigeage works well here so our new tanks will facilitate that.”
“We like barrels here – we always did – but we are always working to make the tannins more supple. We blind taste the different forests every year, not just with our Moulin à Vent. It depends on the vintage, but usually our barrel elevage lasts 12 months. All the parcels are blended only before bottling, always the 8 climats are assembled for the Château des Jacques.”
Cultivation of vines is changing for Jadot; “Goblet-pruning is complicated because it’s hard to use a tractor, it’s also difficult to aerate grapes in the middle of the goblet ‘bush.’ So all our new plantings have been in cordon, the oldest parcels are now 20 years old. Cordon training can be a little more risky than goblet when we think of vine disease, but in this respect, gamay anyway does a little better than pinot. As for the old goblet-trained vines, we have been introducing a new palisage (training) to improve access for ploughing, but it takes about 10 years to make the conversion. It’s not just about training though, we have about 25 hectares that are now in ‘Bio‘ but our approach is more about principles of work than communication…”
Depending on the vintage, 250-400,000 bottles are produced each year. And very nice to see, it’s a volume that enables them to save 100 bottles of each cuvée, each vintage, for their wine library.
Another visit based on selecting wines/producers blind. I’m no fan of the small glasses used for tasting here – I think it accentuates the vanilla component of a wine – and frankly I don’t like it…
A beautiful nose of flowers with a depth of fruit. Mouth-filling, fresh, lots of energy here. Super growing intensity – really super!
Also very floral, almost a soap-powder aspect, similar to the last. A little deeper red fruit register. Vibrant, lots of waves of flavour here – just a little vanilla too, but modest and there’s plenty of salinity too. A very impressive wave of finishing flavour and brilliant length.
Also quite a similar starting aroma – clean soapy, fruit – I smelled the glasses to start with and they didn’t show any soap! Vibrant, intense a little spicy, more mid-palate tannin also super long but more modest intensity and following a bright, fine line. 3 super wines!
It depends on the vintage as to how many separate climats are bottled:
Bright pretty, vanilla too, but not too much. A little rounder, more weight, lots of dimension, lots of energy too. Wow – super.
The finest red fruit yet, no obvious oak. Here wider, deeper, less round and with more line than La Roche. Super finishing burst of energy here with some spiciness.
Silky, sweet floral fruit, again almost soapy impression. Beautiful line – of darker fruit, more mineral too perhaps with a hint of coffee in the mid-palate. Long, long, long, eventually subtly salty – a caramel with a salted tang…
2014 Moulin à Vent La Rochelle
The noses are remarkably similar, but there’s certainly a little more vanilla oak in wait here. Lots of volume, freshness, and yes, vanilla, this will need more time to absorb this. Cyril notes “We prefer to talk about vintages that are more ‘in place.’”
2014 Morgon Côte du Py
Here for me is the first wine that is very different, aromatically – dark fruited, with energy, vivacity and florality – slowly adding a faint caramel. A wonderful line of flavour in the mouth, despite a little tannin, leading with supple fresh fruit, a suggested backing of salt-cracked caramel.
1999 Moulin à Vent Rochegrès
Deep, almost woody, a slowly growing freshness above. Fresh in the mouth, wide, layered and complex. This is still very young and has zero oxidative character. Very tasty wine!