A Bacchus head on a yellow background, you probably know the wines of Maison Louis Jadot in Beaune in Burgundy. Jacques Lardière was the winemaker there from 1970 to 2012. To retire from the Pinot Noir was unthinkable, so when Maison Jadot bought in 2013 Résonance, a beautiful estate in Oregon, he started supporting Guillaume Large for the winemaking.
Tasting with Jacques is like experiencing something magnetic. He is seeking in ourselves the flow that allows us to vibrate in osmosis with the wine. With his speech and his smile, he is embarking us in his arabesques, the ones of his wines.
It is with a lot of modesty, honnor and curiosity that we had this discussion. I was curious to understand how he manages to wake up all these emotions just with a glass of wine. After working for 4 years at Maison Louis Jadot, this exchange had a sweet, special and privileged note. Jacques belongs to this kind of man who inspires, transmits passion and reawakes in ourselves questioning. I let you vibrate and taste his words.
Where does your philosophy and approach to winemaking come from?
I look for it everywhere. I have worked a lot on quantum physics. For that, I visited many holy places to understand magnetic fields and energy force fields within them and to see if I was able to feel them. It is only after doing this that I tried to apply this approach to blind tastings to understand if the hierarchy of Burgundy wines is logical and it is.
I have met people who tasted with you 10 or even 20 years ago and they still really remember this experience. What is your secret?
I think it maybe comes from the fact that I have always tried to help them to deeply understand what wine is. It is important to adapt our speech to the person that we are with. I have always done in-depth and long tastings to let them get beyond their preconceptions or their self-control.
At some point, they have to let that go and push those emotions away to be able to really feel and experience the wine. Only then, they can make their own mind up if they like the wine or not. The most important thing is not being influenced by the name we see on the barrel… we don’t give a damn! The most important thing is the energy that we sense in it, and this will be different for every wine and every individual. That’s why the diversity between the different appellations is so special. It is important to not manipulate the wine making process because we will loose these differences, and we will forget the special characteristics and energy of each wine.
How do you embark people in this tasting experience?
II trust people, I give them the keys to free themselves and let everything go. This is why we don’t give a damn about technical terminology. When we rely on technical words, it’s like we don’t know how to explain the wine. It is important to use people’s own words and to speak their language. That’s why I have tried to forget these technical words that nobody understands. I don’t really know even if they have a real meaning. We need to talk using references to a philosophy, to something out of the ordinary, using powerful words that we all have in common. By doing this, everyone can understand, even foreigners. I like to say that everyone has a sunny side and a dark side. We begin tasting in the darkness, and as the tasting goes on, the light enters. After the tasting, you are filled with more light.
We use the descriptive blackcurrant, because it is easy, but this doesn’t mean anything because when you think about it, there maybe no blackcurrant aroma and someone else will smell something completely different. Tasting is a trap especially when we use too much technical vocabulary that can impose and influence our own perceptions on others. I have never influenced a person who came for a tasting at Jadot. Those moments were a real pleasure for me. I would take the time because for the person I was with it might be their only visit or tasting at Jadot in their life! It wasn’t really Jadot that I let them taste; I wanted to let them experience the beauty of Burgundy. Burgundy is amazing: such a tiny area with so much diversity in terroir.
What do you do to recharge your batteries?
I taste wine. I used to be able to taste 7 to 8 hours per day. I use the energy from the wine to make me feel good. When we understand and use this technique, we can taste for as long we like.
What is the best compliment someone can give to you when they taste your wine?
I am happy if the person tells me that the wine is good, that they are enjoying it and it is enthralling all their senses. If the person is pleased straight away, it exasperates me because I am not interested in the immediate. It is interesting when the person tastes, takes the time and allows himself or herself to experience the energy within the wine. Only at this point can our senses tell our brain “ it’s great, it is interesting and I like it!”.
What are you the most proud of?
I am very proud to have kept a beautiful Burgundy flag flying above Maison Louis Jadot. I am passionate about Burgundy so it is important to have given something back.
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Stream of consciousness
- Music : I listen to a lot of music. I am a big fan of Ferret, Brel, Brassens. I like Mozart, I listened it in the winery, I like Bach… I don’t know a lot about classical music but I like it a lot. I would love to know more about opera for instance.
- Book : I read 5 to 6 books at the same time ! Right now, I am reading one on herbs (not the kind you smoke!), classics such as Victor Hugo, Virgile. I have read almost all of Steiner’s work because it was something I was introduced to when I was 15 by my father.
- Movie : A movie that impacted me… Décaméron
- Meal : I never do the same recipe twice because I love to be creative. Other than any seafood, a recipe that means a lot to is me is vendéennes mogettes (local white beans) cooked in water with a veal sirloin and a salad with garlic sauce… When I was young, my mother always cooked this. I love “terroir” cuisine. It is simple but tasty.
- Memorable bottle : The first time I tasted Montrachet Grand Cru 1904. That wine really impressed me a lot !
- Vintage : 1997 at Jadot
- Wine grape : Pinot Noir, also Cabernet Franc and Merlot.For the whites, Chardonnay of course!
- Smell : Leafy and vegetal smells, whilst appreciating that they will develop and transform.
- Color : Blue, I wear it a lot. I also like green and red.
- Destination : The desert. I have never visited one and this is somewhere I would like to explore. The closest I have got experiencing the desert was in Arizona. It was a very meditative place for me because you are stripped of all the outside influences of the environment around you, so you can easily reconnect with your inner self.
- Perfect sunday : Preparing a nice lunch even if it is just something simple, it always has to be very tasty. Reading, walking, going to the cinema. Living peacefully. And when I am with my children, they are my priority.
Marie-Pierre Dardouillet (Editor and photographer)
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