1992-2011 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques 1er Cru

BY NEAL MARTIN | MAY 20, 2019  

One evening in the summer of 2018, I found myself double-booked: two great dinners and two sets of marvelous wines were calling my name. If only humankind had mastered the art of binary fission! I had no option but to attempt both. I began by visiting highly recommended bar/restaurant Twelve Cases in Covent Garden, where BI Wines & Spirits had assembled seven vintages of Louis Jadot’s Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques, all poured from impeccable magnums, for a dinner later that night.

Five growers each own roughly one-hectare strips of Clos Saint-Jacques that stretch from top to bottom of the slope. Jadot’s was bought in 1985 upon the division of Domaine Clair-Daü’s holdings (though in fact half was leased for 20 years, so they only owned the parcel outright from 2006). It is located in the middle of the premier cru, with Armand Rousseau and Jean-Marie Fourrier to the left as you look up the slope and Bruno Clair and Sylvie Esmonin to the right. The vines were planted in 1957 and 1962.  In the Cellar, the fruit is completely de-stemmed and given a slightly longer cuvaison relative to other growers, while the wines are matured in 50 to 100% new oak. the style tends to be a little denser and, Esmonin aside, the Jadot wine initially shows a tad more new oak than other Clos Saint-Jacques, which requires time to fully assimilate. I feel that people sometimes look down on Jadot’s Clos Saint-Jacques because unlike the other four, it is part of a large company’s portfolio rather than a family domaine. However, in blind tastings I find it stands shoulder to shoulder with the competition, if rarely quite capturing the sophistication of Rousseau or the sensuality of Fourrier.

The 1992 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (magnum) has a fragrant but not powerful bouquet featuring red cherries, cranberry, tobacco and a slight algae-like scent. The medium-bodied palate offers grainy tannin and dark berry fruit laced with tar, pencil lead and autumn leaves. I just worry than the finish is drying out. This does not seem to improve with aeration and therefore I would advise drinking it sooner rather than later. 86/Drink: 2019-2021. The 2001 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (magnum) has a lifted bouquet of crushed strawberry, blackberry, singed leather and a hint of clove and cedar, displaying much more vigor than the 1992 served alongside. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannins. Masculine in style, it feels a little aloof at first, but I discern impressive substance toward the finish, which delivers gentle grip and a welcome note of black pepper on the aftertaste. This surprisingly bullish Clos Saint-Jacques should give another decade of enjoyment. 91/Drink: 2019-2030. The 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (magnum) is blessed with a beautiful bouquet of kirsch, wild strawberry, crushed stone and floral aromas, perhaps closer to the essence of Clos Saint-Jacques than the 2001. The palate is medium-bodied with firm grip on the entry. There is fine weight and salinity in the mouth, and plenty of substance toward the sensual but utterly harmonious finish. This will probably benefit from another two or three years in bottle, and then those patient enough to cellar it will surely be rewarded with two decades of drinking pleasure. 94/Drink: 2021-2040. 

The 2007 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (magnum) has a refined bouquet of red cherries, cranberry, crushed rose petals and crushed stone, all well-defined with superb focus. The medium-bodied palate delivers gentle grip, supple tannin and supremely well-judged acidity. I love the harmony in this Clos Saint-Jacques, which is very pixelated and poised, displaying superb mineralité on the finish. To my surprise, this is neck and neck with the 2005 and may have the chutzpah to surpass it with bottle age. One of the most expressive vintages of Clos Saint-Jacques that I have encountered from Jadot. Highly recommended and excellent in terms of price-to-quality ratio. 94/Drink: 2019-2032. The 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (magnum) has a very intense bouquet with more concentration and darker fruit than the 2009, offering blackberry, bilberry, oyster shell and pressed iris flowers. The medium-bodied palate features gentle grip, wonderful substance and a surfeit of tart red berry fruit. It is slightly grainy in texture with hints of black truffle on the finish. This improves with aeration and develops a wonderful peppery note with time. A Clos Saint-Jacques built for the long haul. 93+/Drink: 2022-2045. The 2011 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru (magnum) has a wonderful bouquet of pure red currant, cranberry, briar and hint of wild heather. The medium-bodied palate offers fine tannin that provides good backbone, firm grip and a sense of symmetry and focus, and the finish is saline and sappy. This is like a younger brother of the 2010 Clos Saint-Jacques. Impressive for the vintage. 92/Drink: 2020-2038.