Saturday, October 3, 2009

The truth of Le Clos Jordanne

May I first direct to my last piece about Le Clos Jordanne: Niagara Tour - Le Clos Jordanne

I last visited in March of this year, when the weather was still quite frigid and the vines were bare. What a difference 6 months makes. The vines look healthy and full, bearing beautiful clusters of pinot noir, chardonnay, and a bit of pinot gris. A little Burgundian delight, if you will. We were taken to all 4 vineyards again, as last time - the only difference was that a few rows had already been picked, with the rest of the pinot noir not far off.

Our first stop was La Petite Vineyard. I love the wines coming out of this site. Ethereally floral and elegant, and simly a stunningly seductive wine. The grapes reflect this pedigree. Clean and healthy, without any sign of botrytis, rot, or disease. Tiny berries, with great colour. High level of ripeness, showing great levels of sugar. The seeds are showing ample phenolic ripeness as well. To put more simply, the grapes were absolutely delicious. Sweet, without any sign of astringency. Very perfumed, with a distinct minera lity. I never realized a grape could be so complex, but there you go. What a wonderful vineyard. Wet and cold and covered in mud, but my heart was pounding with excitement.

Next was Claystone Terrace. This vineyard is a bit tenser, with a gaminess that I find quite unique. I drank a bottle of 2006 Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir recently - still trying to recover from that night. The vineyard is looking healthy as well. Grapes not as developed as the more sandy soil of La Petite. Not as ripe, but getting there.

Our third stop was to survey Talon Ridge Vineyard, the largest site. Right across from Flat Rock, this site produces the bulk of the Village Reserve wines. What I loved is that their bottling this vineyard separately. I tasted Île de Talon from cask, which is a parcel of Talon Ridge which possesses a slightly higher elevation than the rest. This parcel is distinctly more delicate, with more perfume than the Village Reserve. The grapes we tasted looked healthy, and actually were quite ready. In fact, we saw a few workers in the fields, beginning to pick a few rows.

Finally, we stopped at Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard, the estate's Grand Cru vineyard, in Burgundian terms. We tasted berries from the Le Clos Jordanne cuvée, which was still a few days from picking. We then tasted berries for the Le Grand Clos cuvée, which is Le Clos Jordanne's top bottling, and most expensive. These parcels show a completely different pedigree. The berries show good ripeness, with an elegance and minerality. Phenolic ripeness is approaching nicely as well.

Tasting the berries, days away from harvest was such a wonderful learning experience for me. It's astonishing how the berries already show the pedigree of each vineyard - you get a picture, albeit subtlety, of how each wine will come to be. This was especially apparent when tasting the berries of La Petite Vineyard. Wonderful. Just amazing.

We then headed back to the production facilities. They were sorting through pinot noir, of Talon Ridge, and we were able to climb up to the sorting table to watch. The berries looked wonderful - very little mold. We then watched a bit of the destemming. My first time seeing this process as well. The whole berries go into a crate, which is weighed, then loaded onto the 'giraffe', which was a conveyor belt bringing the berries up and into the enormous oak fermenting vats. Dry ice is scooped into the crates, and carried into the vats, to keep the berries cool. The berries are dropped into the vats whole - the weight of the grapes aid in crushing themselves, and there's a remarkable amount of juice right out of the crates. Eye-opening and a bit emotional for me. We witnessed the birth of a masterpiece.

The walk through all vineyards was spectacular. This estate is making wines the right way, and aiming for achieving the true taste of wine. I'm excited to see these vineyards, and wines, develop. Many thanks to Candis, who so kindly showed us around in the rain and mud. Much appreciation for taking the time to accommodate an unimportant blogger with no credibility with such patience and honesty.

We're witnessing and tasting greatness, from the very beginning. Wines that show a place and time, and a true beauty


  1. the experience was amazing. and Candis was right, i got the runs when i got home..