Sunday, March 02, 2008

Domaine de Jaugaret '02, '03 and '04 - A Classic Styled Bordeaux

Today I figured out what a truly “classic styled” Bordeaux taste like. On the advice of Eric Asimov’s “Pour” blog, I headed to Rosenthal Wine Merchants on East 84th St. for a tasting of Domaine de Jaugaret from the St. Julien region of Bordeaux.

According to Rosenthal Wine Merchants…

“The petite estate of Domaine de Jaugaret has been in the Fillastre family since 1654. Jean-Fancois Fillastre is dedicated to preserving the traditions not only of Jaugaret but of the St. Julien appellation. Stepping into the cellars of Jaugaret brings one back to an era when the Bordelais were modest and the wines were grand. Here is an estate where one finds neither pretense nor hubris, just the essence of the appellation.”

“Domaine Jaugaret comprises a mere 1.3 hectares of vineyards, made almost exclusively of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) with some Petit Verdot and Malbac to supplement this classic Medoc structure. The average age of the vines is over 50 years and some of the Malbec vineyards are in excess of 100 years old. This combination of grape varieties permits Jaugaret to find the ultimate expression of the terroir of St. Julien taking advantage of the deep gravel beds and the long growing season that mark St. Julien. The old vines of Jaugaret combined the unfertile, gravelly soils leads to naturally low yields again providing M. Fillasstre with a concentration virtually unequalled in the appellation. Here is a truly unique wine from a gentleman who follows the most classical traditions.”

“Vinification: After being hand-harvested and hand-pressed, the cuvaison is long, frequently lasting for three weeks or more. The wines are then racked into small barrels to complete the malolactic fermentation and are left to age in a small, damp underground cellar with minimal racking. In substantial vintages (e.g. 1996 or 2000) the wines are bottled (always unfiltered) after 30 months of aging. The wines of Jaugaret, relying so extensively on Cabernet, are built to last”

At Rosenthal, where I had to ring the front doorbell and then be lead downstairs to the tasting room. Slightly odd but also kinda cool too… In the tasting room with about 10 others, I was able to taste the 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages. As they state, they are certainly built to last, being some of the most tannic wines I’ve ever tasted and very classic in structure… What does “classic” mean? While, now I think I know. Tannins are more upfront. Fruit more in the back. Slightly less ripe. Slightly less alcohol. Certainly not approachable when young and you have to use your imagination to figure what they might taste like ten to a dozen years from now at least. I can safly say that I had tasted nothing like these wines ever before.

2004 Domaine de Jaugaret: The 2004 was ruby red in color with red fruit. Cherry. Red currant. Possibly cranberry. And definitely smoke. Tannic and dry but it was also the brightest and most approachable of the three wines tasted. Long finish.

2003 Domaine de Jaugaret: The 2003 was also ruby red in color with light cedar, some cherry and other brighter red fruit. It was almost like a pinot noir in its aroma profile. Heavy on the smoke and tar. Very tannic and dry to the point that it sucks all moisture out of the mouth. Slightly acidic and just a touch out of balance.

2002 Domaine de Jaugaret: The 2002 is another ruby red wine with smoky aroma and stronger fruit than the 2003. Here its blackberry and cassis. Bright and smoother in texture than either the ’02 or ‘03. It has a very lush long finish. Not incredibly complex but well balanced and approachable now. Even so, it still needs aging.

As I said, it was an experience to taste these wine. Although I found all three to be a bit tough to drink now, even with food, it was still a great education to what Bourdeaux was probably like back in the day. And I mean the day… 100 years ago?

All three are approximately $75 a bottle from Rosenthal Wine Merchants.


RougeAndBlanc said...

Thanks for the tasting notes. I missed the tasting and glady found your notes.
By the way, you mentioned the aroma of 'tar' in the 2003 vintage. Is it something like the smell of pine tar, or the smell of something that used to pave the street?
I have never experienced that aroma in wine and therefore cannot imagine it.
Did Rosenthal say which wine shop in NYC will carray the Jaugaret?

Anonymous said...

You can get the 03' at "the greene grape" in the financial district. It's on the corner of liberty and nassau.

Joshua B. Kardon, SE said...

(2/15/10) We just opened a 1996 bottle of M Fillastre's Domaine de Jaugaret--we bought several bottles of various vintages when we visited him in St. Julien in 2000--and this '96 is the best yet.