CellarVie Meets…Louis Jadot winemaker Jacques Lardière





If CellarVie Wines have learnt anything whilst endeavouring to interview winemakers, it’s that they are rarely anything other than captivating, perpetually busy and rarely have a moment to spare. Unsurprisingly this was certainly true of Jacques Lardière, the man responsible for making Louis Jadot wines for over 40 years. Often referred to as ‘The Master of Burgundy’, the charismatic and eloquent 62-year-old has been the genius behind the Maison Louis Jadot since 1970 and is widely deemed one of the most important and respected winemakers in France. Ahead of our ‘Focus on Burgundy’ CellarVie Wines were fortunate enough to catch up with the legendary and somewhat mythical Lardiere, to discuss his attitude to wine and the Louis Jadot winemaking philosophy founded on biodynamical farming…

 
Describe yourself and your attitude to winemaking in three words…

I prefer not to speak about myself.


Briefly describe your wines…

I prefer others to describe how they find the wines.


Describe the Louis Jadot philosophy and your approach to winemaking…

Decisions about how to manage the vineyards are very important ones for any grape grower. This is because healthy grapes picked when fully ripe will inevitably produce wines of quality, with their own personality and a sense of terroir.

In order to achieve the best possible quality we have for the past 20 years banished all use of synthetic products (fertilisers, herbicides, etc) on our vineyards' soils and have taken up traditional practices instead.

Our work is done either by tractor or, for the most inaccessible vineyards, by horse. We don't work our soil deeply but prefer to concentrate on surface actions in order to preserve its innate structure.

We encourage our vines to grow their roots in such a way as to enable them to mine the soil's minerality. This allows them to fight disease naturally and more efficiently.

Yields that are too high unbalance a vine's biochemical processes, so need to be controlled by adaptive pruning and, sometimes, by permitting competing grasses to grow between rows of vines planted on deeper, richer soils. This competition makes the vines stronger: we try and maintain environmental balance in all things.

In a few small sections of our vineyards we use anti-fungal agents, but such use is kept to a minimum.

In addition, for the past five years we have managed 14 hectares of vineyards in the area around Beaune biodynamically, as well as some of the Rochegrès vineyard belonging to the Château des Jacques in Moulin à Vent.

The study and application of biodynamics is enthralling. In order for it to succeed, our viticultural team must espouse its methods and beliefs to produce a very accurate expression of our terroir and the true identity of each wine.
 

What wines are Louis Jadot responsible for making?

Overseeing the making of all of Louis Jadot’s wines – over 150 different wines each vintage.


How did you get involved in the winemaking world?

More than 40 years of dedication to Burgundy and Jadot and nothing else but Jadot. 
 
What are your main passions outside of wine?

My grandchildren.


If you didn't make wine what would you do?

My time and life is so full with wine I have never thought about doing anything else.

 
What is your favourite meal?

It changes every day, I love so many things.


Describe a day in the life of Jacques Lardière

At vintage time I’m usually up around 4am and on route to Beaujolais to taste the new wines. Although chemical analysis inevitably plays a part, the first taste reveals everything to me. It offers an instinctive indication of what is required and while I empower my superb team to make the decisions about viticulture I have been known to intervene!

The vast majority of the Jadot estate vineyards are farmed biodynamically and this obviously takes an awful lot of commitment, but in my eyes it is worth it. A biodynamically farmed vineyard is different. You can smell it, taste it and in the summer months the ambiance is magical. The vineyard is imbued with energy.

We don’t seek technical perfection; our work is a collaboration with the vines and our terroir. Jadot wines are committed to traditions and styles of what has preceded them, and we will not compromise this choice even if some wines drink better than others. Some wines, in terms of the way they are manufactured, are impeccable, but they lack distinction in regards to their personality and soul. We try to preserve the memory and foundation of the wine and give the drinker a sense of the wine’s life. 
 
To view all Louis Jadot wines stocked by CellarVie Wines click here.  
 


All the wines made under the Maison Louis Jadot label are Appellation Contrôlée wines from across the region. The vineyards of Maison Louis Jadot are now scattered across 154 hectares of Burgundy, from the Côte d'Or to the Mâconnais and down into Beaujolais. In order to produce wines that celebrate their terroir, Jacques Lardière works with a team: Christine, Guillaume and Audrey. Together they have a large part to play in determining the success of our enterprise. Each influences the creation of our wines with their own particular set of skills, whether technical or commercial, thereby ensuring that Maison Jadot has a bright future ahead of it.
 
 
 


 
 

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