Corton in springtime — Domaine des Héritiers. Photo Courtesy of Louis Jadot

‘They belong in any serious Burgundy collector’s cellar’ — the wines of Louis Jadot

As some of the finest and rarest wines from this long-standing producer come to auction, Christie’s specialist Charlotte Sere explains why they are so highly regarded

Louis Jadot has a long and illustrious history

The maison was founded by Louis Henri Denis Jadot in 1859, 30 years after the family had bought its first vineyard, the Clos des Ursules.

Based in the Burgundy wine capital of Beaune, it is now recognised as one of the most important négociants in the region.

It also owns some 60 hectares of exceptional vineyard holdings, and makes the wine for such prestigious estates as the Domaine du Duc de Magenta at the magnificent Château de Sully.

Its winemakers are exceptional

The quality of the wines produced by Louis Jadot can in large part be attributed to the tireless work of Jacques Lardière, winemaker at Louis Jadot from 1970 until 2012.

Having proved his skill with his expert handling of the challenging 1971 vintage, Lardière was given complete freedom over the winemaking process by André Gagey, then director of the estate.

Lardière’s approach followed the principle that every wine, from village to Grand Cru level, should be a true and honest representation of its terroir, achieved with as little interference as possible.

The wines he produced were fantastically expressive, with great definition and self-assurance: the critic Robert Parker described them as ‘rich, well-delineated, structured wines that stand the test of time’.

The winemaking at Louis Jadot is now overseen by Frédéric Barnier, who joined the estate in 2010 and worked alongside Lardière until his retirement. Barnier continues to embrace much the same philosophy as his predecessor, producing wines that stand out for their elegance, complexity and longevity.

Louis Jadot’s vineyard holdings are first-class

Louis Jadot is well known for its extensive négociant  operation, whereby it bottles and sells wine produced by other growers. However, it also possesses holdings in some of the most illustrious vineyards in Burgundy, such as Bonnes Mares, Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières, Corton-Charlemagne, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Musigny and Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses, among others.

Vines at Corton-Charlemagne and Corton-Pougets, Domaine des Héritiers. Photo Courtesy of Louis Jadot

Vines at Corton-Charlemagne and Corton-Pougets, Domaine des Héritiers. Photo: Courtesy of Louis Jadot

What makes this estate so special is its ability to produce wines of exceptional quality across the board. Indeed, in 1990 Jadot produced 10 different Beaune Premiers Crus that Parker described as ‘without question, the best Beaunes I have ever tasted’.

Certain vintages are particularly collectable

So wide is the array of wines produced by Louis Jadot that there is a standout vineyard or site in every vintage. However, certain vintages are especially sought-after for the insight they offer into the terroirs showcased by the estate.

These include 1989, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2007 and 2010. The older vintages are particularly worth looking out for as they are quite rare and provide a unique insight into Lardière’s winemaking prowess.

The wines age beautifully

Lardière’s skill was such that he was able to craft extraordinary wines even in vintages that were considered tricky — for example 1992, when he created some exceptionally long-lived white Burgundies.

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Older vintages of Louis Jadot wines have shown a similarly excellent capacity for ageing. In a 2018 tasting of the 1999 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, critic William Kelley noted that the wine was ‘still surprisingly firm and structural… medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with excellent intensity and persistence’.

As Robert Parker proclaimed, these are wines that ‘belong in any serious Burgundy collector’s cellar’.