Spotlight on White Burgundy: Maison Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres Premier Cru 2006

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Negocients are both the most maligned and the most widely available producers of Burgundy. The preference for small growers amongst the wine cognoscenti does have some rational basis: many negocient wines are uninspired and yet just as expensive as many of the better grower wines.

Jadot, however, is an exception. While not everything in the Jadot portfolio is brilliant, it is almost always up to a reliable level of quality. Sometimes, like with this wine, the wines can be downright impressive.

The Material and The Craft

The Les Folatieres vineyard lies mid-slope, halfway between Meursault and Chassagne. It is considered one of the top vineyards in Puligny with soil composition not unlike Chevalier-Montrachet. It is also the largest Premier Cru in the village at just over 17 hectares. The wines are known to be powerful, stylish and precise. Clive Coates suggests that Les Folatieres makes superior wine to the more northerly vineyards due to its more consistent richness and greater elegance.

Jacques Lardiere, Jadot’s winemaker, has some unusual winemaking techniques. He uses hot fermentations, long cuvaisons and does not filter the wines. Oddly, wines from better vintages see less oak than those from weaker vintages.

It seems that the combination of these techniques with the Folatieres terroir and an excellent ripe year like 2006 has produced a truly outstanding white Burgundy.

Four Words

Sometimes four words, a line of poetry, can knock you out of your quotidian life by virtue of their grace. Grace leads this Les Folatieres to its dignified perch, all poised and ethereally beautiful. Underneath lies a power that oscillates imperceptibly like sub-atomic particles. Reaching this dynamic is the paragon that all producers of Chardonnay seek. It is rarely achieved.

Excellent+
~$160 at Kits Wine

Final Thoughts On Puligny

The various Puligny-Montrachet’s I’ve tasted in this profile have consistently been finer, more elegant, more balanced and more structured than their counterparts in Meursault. It seems clear to me which vineyards tend to be superior and, though there are a few exceptions in Meursault like Lafon, Coche-Dury and Ente, you will likely find more consistency amongst the wines of Puligny.

The best of these wines (the Premier and Grand Crus) are very expensive and far less affordable than both Meursault and the Macon. That said, in the rarified world of $80+ Chardonnay, I’d choose one bottle of Premier-Cru Puligny over two bottles of $80 Meursault. When choosing a good producer and a top vineyard from a good year, the Chardonnays of Puligny-Montrachet represent the apex of truly great Chardonnay. Outside of Chassagne (which I will explore next), they are unparalleled examples of the power, nobility and dignity of the queen of all white grapes.

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