One of the first Burgundy wine houses in Côte d’Or
Maison Louis Jadot, founded in 1859 by Louis Henry Denis Jadot, is one of the first Burgundy wine houses in the Côte d’Or. Jadot’s current winemaker, Frédéric Barnier, and his team reconcile tradition and technology by focusing on the purest expression of each wine’s terroir. This allows winemaking to take the lightest possible hand in winemaking and produce the essence of beautiful Burgundy. The house has 528 acres of vines.
Barnier joined Maison Louis Jadot in 2010, under the direction of Jacques Lardière, responsible for the vinification and bottling of all wines for 42 years. Lardière briefly retired, later coming out of retirement to launch Resonance Wines, the Jadot brand from Oregon. Barnier now leads the winemaking team with the Maison Louis Jadot philosophy of not compromising on quality.
Here, Barnier shares with Forbes the most monumental moments in the history of Maison Louis Jadot, how he became a winemaker, two food and wine pairings and more.
Lisa Kocay: How did you become a winemaker?
Frédéric Barnier: “I am from Brittany. My father worked in the financial sector, and he is also a real wine lover. I did a ‘wine’ training mainly with some Bordeaux wines and whites from the Loire Valley, an obvious source in Brittany. I remember very well seeing my father very stressed when it came time to make a choice for my future career. I decided to explore what made my father so happy and enthusiastic: wine. I studied in Montpellier in an Agronomic school and I started my first experience as a winegrower in Burgundy in 1999. »
Kocay: Thinking back to the creation of Jadot Wine, what is the most monumental moment in its history?
Barnier: “For me, there are three big moments:
“It is good to know that the story begins with Jadot, a small winegrower in 1826 when he bought a small plot in Beaune: our Clos des Ursules. Many of the large, successful traditional traders today started out as smallholders. Nowadays, many winegrowers become small traders. We do more and more the same job. »
“After prohibition, the meeting between the Jadot family and the Kopf family, which created Kobrand to import French wines into the United States. Since then, we have had a long and very special link with the United States.
“And of course, in the mid-1980s, we were able to extend our vineyard to the Côte d’Or.
Kocay: Can you highlight three of your wines and discuss their importance?
Barnier: “Burgundy Chardonnay and Burgundy Pinot Noir: in Burgundy, we produce 50% of regional wines. To discover what a wine from our region could be, we often start with a Bourgogne Pinot Noir or a Bourgogne Chardonnay.
“It’s your ‘first date’ with Burgundy and we want to make this wine unforgettable just to make sure you’ll come back to Burgundy and try a village, a premier cru next time.
“Beaujolais-Villages: from a distance, we consider that Beaujolais belongs to a part of the history of Burgundy. Beaujolais is part of Greater Burgundy, and we share the opinion: to make great wines from great terroirs. Great wines are produced with another grape variety, Gamay, but with the same approach. So this wine is made to make people more comfortable with this region [and] to show that we can make consistent and accessible serious wine: a taste of Beaujolais.
Kocay: Can you offer a pairing option for two wines, one red and one white?
Barnier: “I’m a big fan of oysters accompanied by a glass of Mâcon-Villages.
“Beaujolais-Villages will be the best companion for a barbecue with “sunny vegetables”: sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers…
Kocay: What differentiates Jadot from other wines?
Barnier: “We produce gourmet and consistent wines, from regional appellations to Grands Crus. When you make wines from regional appellations, you have to invest more time and energy. This is why we have built specific/dedicated cellars for the production of our Burgundy and Beaujolais-Villages wines.
“We respect the land, making sure nothing affects its purity. The idea is to impact the wine as little as possible.
“Jadot is not afraid of challenges. [For example]the great Musigny is difficult to produce well, and we do it in Jadot.
Kocay: What is Jadot most proud of?
Barnier: “We start from the principle that all our wines carry the same label. He is recognizable all over the world.
Kocay: Anything else I should know?
Barnier: “We cultivate the vines of our domain in organic farming (certified), and it is a real challenge to take up with a property of 120 hectares [297 acres].”