Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru Les Chaumes 2018

£129.95

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“The 2018 Vosne-Romanée Les Chaumes 1er Cru has a well-defined bouquet of vivacious red berry fruit mixed with crushed stone and subtle pressed iris aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and gentle grip. Gains density toward the finish, which displays good backbone. It is just missing a little persistency on the aftertaste compared to the Beaux Monts this year. Drinking window: 2022-2042. 92-94 points

As I have done for several years, I arranged two sessions at Louis Jadot’s headquarters in Beaune to tackle their whites and reds respectively with head winemaker Frédéric Barnier. He has done a superb job since taking over from Jacques Lardière. “For sure it was a special year,” he told me as I set up my laptop in their tasting room, a regiment of samples bottles lined up and ready for inspection. “The reason is clearly, we have incredible weather for growing the vines. All the fruit in 2018 was special as we had a warm six months from April until end of October. What made the difference is that we had water at good moments, in June after flowering, a big storm in July in the Côte d’Or and some in August. The vines adapted to the conditions. Dijon had more sunlight hours than even Nice! Growing seasons like this don’t happen often. We had a lot of fruit, full yields everywhere and sometimes more, so it was a generous vintage, for example the Meursault Village picked at around 55hl/ha. We did no green harvesting for the reds and with respect to the whites, those vineyards that we did green harvest did not achieve full yield. Most of the wines are between 13.5 and 14.0 degrees and we hardly needed any chaptalization The two last weeks were a little extreme with hot weather and a warm southerly wind that could have been too much for the vintage, but this was tempered by the yield. The juice saved the vintage. All the vines affected by mildew seemed to pick fruit a little overripe because those vineyards were not able to absorb those last two weeks. We sometimes had to wait to obtain better maturation of the skins and this gave us a shorter window to pick the grapes. There was very little to sort once we began the harvest on 29 August, the reds the following week around 2 September, a fortnight’s picking due to the large crop. If you left the reds past the 15 September there could be too much alcohol and richness. It was a vintage where you had to use the cooling system as it was so warm. Most of the whites are not completely through their malolactic, though the level of malic acid was quite low, around 1gm/L.” We then moved on to the reds. Barnier told me: “I think the Côte de Beaune shows very well in 2018. The Côte de Nuits is very impressive. It was mostly picked in the second week and you can feel the richness. The Côte de Beaune wines are well balanced and fresh. The ageing was key: Being sure to protect the wines from bacterial infection and VA. Some of the ferments were tricky to finish, but I am confident about their ageing potential.””

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/20)