Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Abbaye de Morgeot 2021


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“The 2021 Chassagne-Montrachet Abbaye de Morgeot 1er Cru has the best, most complex and well-defined bouquet amongst Jadot’s Chassagne, demonstrating more mineralité and nuance. The palate is well-balanced with a fine bead of acidity. It’s pretty saline in the mouth, with impressive depth and extract on the finish. This should drink beautifully over the next 15-20 years. Drinking window: 2024-2038. 91-93 points

“The frost was clearly the worst event we have had for 40-50 years that affected all the vineyards from Chablis to Beaujolais,” head winemaker Frédéric Barnier admits in our usual two session comprehensive tasting, albeit shortened by numerous cuvées falling victim to the frost and their percentage of contracted fruit. “We did not expect the reds to be affected as well. There was little you could do to fight it. The first night, I said not to use candles…there was no point except for those growers that pruned late. Personally, I am more keen to work on agronomic solutions that might delay the bud break via rootstock and clones and so forth. You can delay by one week to ten days; that can make the difference between a 2021 and a 2022. We need to understand the risk plot-by-plot, why some are affected more than others. The vines were stressed for a long time, and it took a while to see the vineyards recover. By the end of May, it looked like the beginning of April in the vines. They were sensitive to the oïdium. It was not a cold year like 2013, but in terms of humidity, it was the necessary amount of rain, but the fact that there were constant light showers created a humid atmosphere. So, rot pressure was constant, which inhibited vine growth because they needed hot temperatures.”

“We started picking on 21 September, knowing that we would have a shorter time to pick; the last fruit was picked on 30 September, starting in the Côte de Beaune and then in the Côte de Nuits and the later parts of the Côte de Beaune. Usually, it takes a fortnight. The fruit was not perfect, so key things were the quality of pressing to adapt to small volumes and choosing the right lees, as sometimes they were not good. So during settling, it was vital to choose the lees that you want to use for the fermentation and ageing. For the reds, it was important to sort the grapes, which we had not done in recent years, to select what you want for the maceration. The fermentation was normal, but the maturation was challenging. If we buy few new barrels in 2021, then this has a knock-on for the next vintage [i.e. a lack of used wood]. Some of the whites are in large oak tanks to maintain a classic balance. For the whites, we have natural nervosité because of the higher malic acid, so we blocked some of the malolactic fermentation to capture that. I am thinking about bottling the reds at the end of the year after racking – I’m not sure what ageing will bring, whereas the whites could accept a longer élevage.”

Barnier is a winemaker that showcases a refreshing change in being unafraid to speak his mind. “It’s not: back to a classic vintage,” he contentiously says, contradicting numerous other winemakers. “Nowadays, a classic vintage is 2018, 2019 and 2020. In fact, for the reds, the pH is quite high, and acidity is quite low.””

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/23)