Our second podcast comes from the recent 2007 release tasting of Le Clos Jordanne where I was lucky enough to spend some time with Vineyard Manager and Winemaker Thomas Bachelder and Jean-Charles Boisset of Boisset Family Estates.
To listen to the podcast click here.
As a select group of wine writers and sommeliers gathered in the upstairs space of Toronto’s Sassafraz restaurant earlier this week, it quickly became apparent that there was a perceptible and unmistakable air of reverence surrounding the event. It was that special kind of reverence that one would most usually associate with the unveiling of a new vintage of a great European Grand Cru. But this was an event for the unveiling of a new vintage of Le Clos Jordanne, a project that many (myself included) view as being home to some of the very finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir made in Canada. As the dapper and vivacious Jean-Charles Boisset, the ever-eloquent Thomas Bachelder, and assistant Winemaker Sébastien Jacquey introduced themselves to the audience, it became quite clear that those present were in for a very special tasting indeed.
2007 Village Reserve Bachelder speaks of it being important to show a non-believer the Village Reserve level wines first, a “sacrificial lamb” of sorts, and I understand exactly where he is going with that. Although for me not as initially as impressive as the Village Reserve Chardonnay, this wine displays lovely aromatics of underbrush, ripe black fruit and just a hint of that elusive gaminess. This expresses the true terroir of Jordan as it comes from 4 vineyards within one village. In a dry, warm year such as 2007 the Village Reserve bottlings should be the “go to” wines.
2007 Talon Ridge Black cherries were the very first thing that hit me here, then a little forest fruits; raspberries and strawberries. This wine was immediately more obviously perfumed than the previous. There was a tiny little hint of raisin here, which makes complete sense because of the 07 vintage. Tannins were very much more evident. This wine was elegant and balanced with a wonderful density and concentration.
2007 La Petite Vineyard A tiny vineyard of only 3.36 hectares on the lower bench, the first step off of the escarpment. La Petite is usually the most elegant, aromatic and perfumed of the Pinots. The fruit on this wine is more kirsch, blackcurrant and blueberries with delicious vanilla, spice and cedar elements. The wine has a superbly defined structure due in no small part to the density of the tannins being quite exceptional.
2007 Claystone Terrace Bachelder referred to the Claystone Terrace Pinot as “The Beast” as it is usually the earthiest of the entire range. He also believes that the best part of the Claystone vineyard rivals Le Clos and Le Grand Clos. Bachelder is learning that the wines of Claystone show more consistency from vintage to vintage which he understands to be an indicator of what makes a true Grand Cru. The aromatics dance between both red and black fruit but still feels a little closed and requires more time in bottle as the wine still needs to evolve before it comes into its own.
2007 Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard exhibits quite a lot more decadence than Le Grand Clos. In this vintage it was actually the first vineyard to be picked but required the longest maceration once the fruit reached the winery. The wine is very masculine with lots of ripe plum and other dark fruits on the nose alongside a certain spiciness. Assertive tannins and lifted, fresh fruit elements point to serious ageing potential here. A spendid representation of the 2007 vintage.
2007 Le Grand Clos As with all wines from Le Grand Clos, this requires some time before its full glory will be revealed. One can already see the potential of this wine if one studies it carefully, but it will be quite a number of years before it truly blossoms. Balanced fruit and wood tannins combine, making the wine tight and structured with a core of immaculate red and black fruit. This wine contains myriad secrets that will not be revealed until the time is right.
2007 Village Reserve Bachelder spoke of the Village Reserve wines as being the hardest wines to make as one was working with parcels of fruit that had not been selected for the single vineyard wines. Labled as Niagara Peninsula VQA as fruit sources straddle two VQAs (Vinemount Ridge and 20 Mile Bench)He sees this wine as being a great example of Ontario terroir, something that one could compare to a St. Veran or village Meursault. Lots of varietal typicity with just the right amount of crème brûlée alongside nuances of apple and papaya. I found this Village Reserve to be the most rewarding yet from Le Clos Jordanne, expressing tremendous value.
2007 Talon Ridge This new wine comes from rows in the west side of the Talon vineyard. Citrus, apple, peach alongside a ginger spiciness. Mouthfeel is very round with exotic fruits and a wet stone minerality. The effects of battonage are quite apparent as the wine exhibits a wonderful textural quality on the palate.
2007 Claystone Terrace Of the chardonnays we tasted this was certainly my personal favourite. Extrememly tight and as Bachelder put it “a real Winemaker’s wine”. Of all the wines in the 2007 release I found this to be the most European in style. The fruit dances with the well-integrated oak profile to great effect. This extremely well-crafted chardonnay shows a pronounced and defined minerality coupled with wonderfully bright fruit.
2007 Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Despite being the driest of the wines tasted (0.4g per litre residual sugar), this exhibited the most volume in the mouth with an appealing glycerol expansiveness that almost had one thinking of truffle oil. Upon further inspection one could discover delicate aromatics of white, dried flowers and pear.
2007 Le Grand Clos – As with all of the wines from Le Grand Clos, this wine’s destiny is certainly somewhere in the future. Le Grand Clos is always the wine saying “Leave Me Alone!” whether in the vineyard, vat, cellar or bottle. Aromatics of white flowers and lacey minerality are apparent but the wine as a whole is still extremely tight and not yet opening up in any way. I would very much like to revisit this singular wine in 24 months.