Jacques Lardière: “Pinot Noir is like a Peacock”

We’ve been to the Louis Jadot facilities in Beaune several times with Wine Lovers groups and even had lunch in their ancient wine cellars. One of the memorable moments was when they pulled a few bottles of a Meursault from the 1954 vintage to have with our meal.

peacockBut for me, the most memorable moment was when Jacques Lardière, the venerable Jadot winemaker, led us on a visit to a vineyard where he described his opinion on the difference between red Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Burgundy only uses the Pinot Noir grape whereas Bordeaux has to rely on blending at least 2 grapes, sometimes as many as 4 or 5 different varieties. That’s because the Cabernet may be lacking in color or tannins or body and to compensate for these deficiencies, winemakers are obliged to add other grapes, such as Malbec, Merlot or Petit Verdot.

But the Pinot Noir is like a “peacock” because it has everything it needs in one grape and in his mind, the analogy with a peacock is justified because the feathers symbolize a wide spectrum which come together in harmony.

I will also admit I loved his French accent when he pronounced peacock. So it was without any hesitation that I accepted the invitation to attend a presentation of his new venture with Jadot: Resonance in

Jacques Lardière

Jacques Lardière

Oregon.

Jacques retired after 42 years as winemaker but was asked to assume the lead of the new winery which as expected features the Pinot Noir.

A while ago I conducted a tasting featuring 8 Pinot Noirs produced throughout the world and the number one wine voted  that evening was from Oregon. It wasn’t Resonance but Oregon proved itself against some excellent company.

But back to our tasting with Jacques Lardi¡ère. We had the opportunity to taste 14 wines: 10  from Louis Jadot in France and 4 from Resonance in Oregon.

One was a Chardonnay 2016 that was crisp and lean as a white Burgundy. Unfortunately the price was about the same, about $60 so it’s a hard sell competing with California and France.

But the highlights were clearly the 3 Pinot Noirs: Willamette Valley 2016, Découverte Vineyard 2015 and the Yamhill Carlton 2015, which I found outstanding. It had color and substance and was redolent of dark berries.

Jacques Lardière

Jacques with Vin

I had a brainstorm and tasted it against a Jadot Pommard from the same 2015 vintage, and at the same price, $70.

The Pommard was lighter in color, with a faint berry aroma and flavor. In other words, a typical red Burgundy with finesse and charm and soft tannins.

The Resonance by contrast was fruit forward with very noticeable tannins. Jacques predicted that this wine would easily last 30 years. It was my favorites wine of the evening and I would like to thank William of Harry’s Wine  in Fairfield, CT for inviting me.

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