From €23.90, £23.40, approx $50
‘Complete bargain’ were the last two words I wrote when I tasted a cask sample of Claudie Jobard, Les Cloux Premier Cru 2013 Rully en primeur earlier this year. Immediately followed by VVGV, for very, very good value, in case the message wasn’t clear. So I have been patiently waiting for the wine to be bottled and on the market before writing about it and its impressive producer, Claudie Jobard (pictured).
Had I known Jobard’s background when I met her very briefly at that London tasting, I would have had so many questions for a woman who trained as an oenologist and whose family business is Pépinières Jobard, which has been propagating and selling vines in Rully for the last 60 years. (The word pépinière brings a rush of memories – I had to learn to pronounce pépinieriste to talk about my family in French oral exams at school, although my father grew tomatoes not vines.) She is probably tired of people pointing out that her mother Laurence Jobard was head winemaker at Joseph Drouhin for many years but since it is mentioned on her information-rich website, I am sure she is still proud of the fact. Her father, Roger Jobard, established the family's Rully vineyards in the 1970s. The photo below shows father and daughter in the vine nursery just after the plants had been grafted in May of last year for sale in the following November to April.
Since 2002 Claudie Jobard has been making her own wines in Rully, from family-owned vines and bought-in fruit. In 2011 she also became head winemaker at Domaine Gabriel Billard, which is run by Claudie’s mother and aunt (Laurence and Mireille, daughters of Gabriel). In the same year, she took over full responsibility for three hectares of family vineyards in Beaune and Pommard (Pommard Village, Pommard Premier Cru Les Charmots, Beaune Premier Cru Les Épenotes), and she bottles the wines from these appellations both under her own label and under that of Domaine Gabriel Billard. As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, since 2005 Claudie has been consultant oenologist to Remoissenet Père et Fils, which makes approximately 700 barrels of wine per year.
Now to the wine. The cask sample was fragrant, even more so than the En Villerange tasted alongside, not just lively citrus but also a hint of white blossom and orange. The rich, creamy intensity was beautifully balanced by excellent freshness.
Tasting it in bottle this morning, six months later, the wine is just as delicious with no loss of generosity and still that zesty fresh finish. There is just a hint of cedar from the oak as well as all those other seductive aromas. For anyone getting tired of struck-match reductive characteristics – which I generally enjoy but are occasionally in excess – this is a wine of great purity, with the winemaking very much in the background and the fruit to the fore, though the oak is still a shaping factor at this young age. I originally scored this wine 17 but today I am tempted to go up a notch to 17.5, and I’d suggest it has the depth and refinement to age well over the next 5-8 years.
Les Cloux Premier Cru is one of Rully’s best sites and Claudie Jobard buys the fruit from a regular source. The vines are 50-60 years old, planted on an east-facing, pebble-rich slope. The wine was fermented in 342-litre oak barrels, of which just 25% were new, and aged 16 months therein.
In the UK, this wine is available from its importer Haynes Hanson & Clark for £23.40 a bottle (£20.79 when you buy 12). It is imported into the US by Pigniatello in Ashville, NC (contact email@example.com for precise availability), and Domaine et Saveurs Collection in Beaune tell me the wine is also imported by Free Run Seattle, The Country Vintner/Winebow and Fruits of the Wines in New York. Wine House San Francisco and Chambers Street Wines (NYC) sell Claudie Jobard’s wines but not (yet) this one. You can also find it in online in Belgium chez Frank Fissette. It is apparently also available in Holland via Wijnkoperij Streuer in Grollo.
After the rise and rise of St-Aubin, maybe Rully is the next village to watch for great-value white burgundy such as this. Other Claudie Jobard 2013 wines that I tasted en primeur and that seemed particularly good were the white Rully En Villerange and the red Les Charmots Pommard Premier Cru.