When I worked in the fine wine trade in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Burgundy was a much different landscape. Yes, there were the great red and white appellations in the north and south that are nowadays pretty much unaffordable, but there was also a whole slew of petit appellations that were historically underachieving and usually unexciting. Among these unsung appellations definitely lay the wines of Ladoix. On the whites, they were often slightly dull from ageing in old oak barrels, not being worthy of any expensive new oak, and the reds were slightly tart, dilute, and at very best, safe and boring.
But how the years have changed this ugly duckling into a young swan. The rising tide of Burgundy has certainly lifted all appellation boats, and the price rises and advances in winemaking and viticultural expertise combined with a bit of global warming ripeness, has transformed appellations like Ladoix into increasingly sought after hunting grounds for high quality premium Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. In recent years, I have been increasingly impressed with the wines of Louis Jadot, and it was their stunning Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc 2014 village wine in particular that really sold me on the magnificence of their ‘lesser’ appellation white wines at incredibly affordable prices.
In his impressive pre-amble writing for The Wine Advocate, William Kelley goes on to state that “Frédéric Barnier has presided over a small but superb vintage at Louis Jadot, and in terms of overall consistency across the range, I’m inclined to single out 2019 as the most successful I’ve ever tasted at this address.” With Louis Jadot’s approach to winemaking described as ‘democratic’ with almost all cuvées handled the same way — whole-cluster pressed whites, with élevage in one-third new French oak barrels, one-third once-used barrels, and one-third twice-used barrels, they ensure that a house style is present and consistent across the whole range. To use William Kelley’s words again… “this important firm is a credit to contemporary Burgundy.”
Louis Jadot Domaine Gagey Ladoix Le Clou d’Orge Blanc 2019, Bourgogne, 13.5% Abv.
When you have a range of reds and whites as large as Louis Jadot has, it is inevitable that there will be some incredible bargains to be found when vineyard, vintage and winemaker are all in sync. In the 2019 vintage, their Ladoix Le Clou d’Orge Blanc from Domaine Gagey represents an incredibly exciting expression of Burgundian Chardonnay that exhibits tantalising aromatics of baked pears sprinkled with vanilla and cinnamon spice, sweet waxy lemons, freshly baked pastries over hints of crushed limestone and a subtle struck flint reductive dustiness. Medium to full bodied, this wine punches well above its price and appellation weight, showing an impressive fruit crystallinity, a chiselled white citrus purity, lime peel zest and a long, stony, saline, liquid mineral finish enlivened by deliciously mouth-watering tangy acids. An incredibly evocative and expressive white Burgundy that has the intensity, tensile structure and focus to drink well for several years if cellared further. Just when you thought invigorating white Burgundy was all but unaffordable, a wine like this beautiful Ladoix Blanc saves the day. I for one and smitten!
(Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
The wines are imported exclusively into the UK and are available to the trade from Hatch Mansfield, and are available retail from fine wine merchant Museum Wines at circa £29.99 per bottle.