Just as news was announced that 2023 is the second spectacular vintage in a row in Burgundy so Louis Jadot unveiled its Burgundy 2022 En Primeur offering in London through UK importer Hatch Mansfield. In stark contrast to the disastrous 2021 vintage, when hardly anyone had any wine to sell, 2022 came as a relief, delivering outstanding quality and quantity. However, the soaring demand has kept prices firmly anchored on the elevated end of the spectrum. Leona De Pasquale spoke with Louis Jadot’s managing director, Thibault Gagey, for an overview of this much-anticipated vintage.
“The overall impression of Burgundy 2022, after tasting 25 red and 21 white wines during the tasting, is one of balance, richness, and intense aromatic freshness,” writes De Pasquale.
Frost, pests, and diseases wreaked havoc in the vineyards of Burgundy in 2021. “As a result, it was one of the smallest crops that we have ever had in our history,” recalls Thibault Gagey, the newly appointed managing director of Louis Jadot, whose family has been managing both the domaine and negociant businesses for over six decades. In 2021, they lost 80% of white grapes and 70% of the black grapes, a year Gagey hopes will never be repeated.
However, in Gagey’s view, global warming has had a positive impact on Burgundy for the past two decades. “Both the vines and the people managing them have adapted to the new normal. In fact, in the short and medium term, I believe we will find solutions to better adjust to it,” he says. Nonetheless, Gagey worries that if such severe weather patterns continue, it could become a real issue. In his opinion, 2022 serves as an example of such an extreme.
Bud break in 2022 occurred early, although it was one week later than in 2021. Consequently, the April frost did not cause as much devastation as the previous year. While 2021 was very wet, 2022 experienced extremely dry conditions. “Drought has become a challenge for us in Burgundy. We were fortunate to have two episodes of rain, primarily in June and at the end of August, just before the harvest. These rains saved the vintage of 2022,” Gagey remarks. “Some vineyards have undoubtedly suffered, but nothing compared to the damage in 2021,” he adds.
For Louis Jadot, 2022 was a success. Both the reds and the whites have achieved a good balance and the alcohol level is between 13 to 13.5%. The yield for Pinot Noir was generous, though they had a lower volume for Chardonnay. Overall it’s a happy vintage for many in Burgundy.
“With the minuscule 2021 vintage and some small crops we have had in Burgundy in the previous years, we are desperate for a full vintage. So both 2022 and 2023 are like a real godsend that we have been waiting for,” Gagey points out.
According to Gagey, this gives growers and producers confidence as they realise that “it is possible to make good wine even when facing a challenging vintage.” But they are proactively preparing themselves to be “climate change ready.” Going organic and trying new rootstocks are the two that are high on their priority list.
“Frédéric Barnier is our winemaker, overseeing both viticulture and winemaking. He and the team manage our replanting program,” explains Gagey.
On the domaine side, which includes vineyards directly owned or controlled by Louis Jadot, the team replants between 1.5 to 2.5 hectares every year.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of replanting, which many growers in Burgundy are reluctant to do due to the fear of income loss,” says Gagey.
Although this reluctance is understandable, Gagey maintains that replanting is crucial, especially in very old vineyards which need to increase diversity to better cope with extreme weather patterns.
“As drought has become a bigger challenge, we are experimenting with different rootstocks, from both the clonal and massal selections. The former is through a collective ‘clone exchange foundation’ in the region with other growers; the latter is to cultivate our own Pinot Noir and Chardonnay cuttings in our nursery. Both ways help us to achieve diversity in the vineyard,” Gagey adds.
From 2021, Louis Jadot has initiated the process of obtaining official organic certification for the domaine side of its business. Starting with the 2024 vintage, all grapes from its three estates, Domaine des Héritiers, Domaine Louis Jadot, and Domaine Gagey, will be certified organic. However, since the domaine and negociant wines share the same wineries, the wine won’t be certified at this time because not all the growers they work with are organic certified.
“We have been working organically for a long time, so this is simply to make it official. This is significant to us because the vineyards are very close to houses, and working in this way is crucial to protect our workers and the people living nearby,’ Gagey explains.
With the demand for Burgundy wines being higher than ever, one will be wrong to assume the price for the Burgundy 2022 vintage, which has yielded a more generous crop, is going to decrease.
“For us, the keyword is to be reasonable. In the end, we still want our wines to be affordable, especially for the younger generations. It will be difficult on the Grand Cru level naturally, but with production in both 2022 and 2023 returning to a bit of normality, we are hoping the prices can stabilise in the next few years,” concludes Gagey.
Top seven wines at the Louis Jadot Burgundy 2022 tasting which offer great value:
The 2022 vintage was one of the warmest and driest on record, similar to 1947 and 2003. Despite the warmth, the wines maintain balance in the glass. The alcohol content is moderate, ranging between 13-13.5% (unlike that of 2019). The colour of the red wines is deep but not as inky as those of 2020 and 2018. The overall impression after tasting 25 red and 21 white wines during the tasting is one of balance, richness, and intense aromatic freshness.
At the village and Premier cru levels, most red and white wines are delightfully approachable, with some offering relatively good value. Here are the top seven that could work well on any given wine list.
Marsannay Le Chapitre, Famille Gagey 2022
Le Chapitre was promoted to Marsannay appellation in 2019 and is showing great potential. The wine has vibrant cherry and strawberry notes, with great energy and fresh acidity, approachable now but equally age-worthy, one that offers great value. Wines labelled as Famille Gagey are from the vineyards owned by the Gagey family (Ex-cellar price €225 per 12 bottle)
Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Clos de la Croix de Pierre, Héritiers Louis Jadot, 2022
Located on the western side of the Côte de Beaune, bordering Savigny-Lès-Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses is home to Clos de la Croix de Pierre. The name of the Clos is derived from an ancient, imposing cross of unknown origin. The wine boasts an elegant bouquet with cherry and violet notes, complemented by a subtle spiciness in the finish. Great fruit intensity on the palate with gracefully smooth tannins. (Ex-cellar price €265 per 12 bottle)
Beaune 1er Cru Boucherottes, Héritiers Louis Jadot 2022
All four Beaune 1er Cru wines in the tasting are impressive. Boucherottes, located at the southern end and bordering Pommard, features deep clay soils, resulting in a darker, riper, and spicier profile. It’s rich and full on the palate, complex, and structured, with a lingering, warm, sweet spice finish. (Ex-cellar price €368 per 12 bottle)
Santenay Clos de Malte, Domaine Louis Jadot, 2022
Thibault Gagey sees Santenay as a testament to climate change’s positive impact on grape quality. Clos de Malte, on Santenay’s western slope, is a 7-hectare monopole of Domaine Louis Jadot with chalky clay soil. This charming wine is lively, with crisp acidity and a rounded texture, accented by fresh blueberry notes. (Ex-cellar price €231 per 12 bottle)
Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes, Famille Gagey, 2022
Les Combottes nestles in the heart of a small valley in Pernand-Vergelesses, with the vineyard facing southwest. The wine has delightful scents of white peach and lemon mingled with a subtle, inviting hint of toasted oak. The palate offers a smooth, creamy texture, balanced by lively, mineral-driven acidity. (Ex-cellar price €296 per 12 bottle)
Savigny-Lès-Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Guettes, Famille Gagey, 2022
Clos des Guettes in northern Savigny-Lès-Beaune has a clay underlayer that yields powerful wines. The wine exhibits seamless oak integration and a rich, layered stone fruit aroma. The palate is nutty and unctuous, with lingering peach notes. (Ex-cellar price €328 per 12 bottle)
Pouilly-Fuissé Tête de Cru Clos des Prouges, Domaine Ferret, 2022
The 2-hectare Clos des Prouges in Fuissé features limestone-marl soil, with the average vine age being 33 years old. This wine boasts an opulent yuzu note, bright and refreshing, with a subtle undertone of polished pebble stones. A delicate, lingering oak spice adds depth. Domaine Ferret has been under the ownership of the Ferret family since 1840 and was acquired by Maison Louis Jadot in 2008; however, it continues to operate independently. (Ex-cellar price €435 per 12 bottle)
The wines of Louis Jadot are imported and sold in the UK through Hatch Mansfield which is a commercial partner of The Buyer. To discover more about them click here.