Mission: Impossible – Burgundy. “Your job, Jim, should decide to accept it, is to produce world renown wines with centuries of history, created from the most challenging varietals in an area of the wine world under a microscope from the globe’s critics. Your top bottles will retail for more than $500 each upon release, and, if successful, double or triple in value in later auctions. You’ll be in charge of making 12,000,000 bottles from 160 different cuvees. And, you’ve only worked in the industry for ten years and you’re under 40.” Pause, silence. “Are you nuts? No one can do that. I refuse the job,” declared Jim.
Jim was wrong. Someone can and has done that. Meet Frederic Barnier, Technical Director for Maison Louis Jadot, one of the premier Burgundian producers. As Technical Director, Frederic oversees all aspects of the making some very affordable Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and also some of the most sought after Grand Crus of those same grapes.
How does he do that? “It’s a team. My role is to make sure everything is working alright.” Respect the tradition of Louis Jadot, respect the origin of the grapes, then do the best job, “and that’s it.” He makes it sound so simple, this art of making thousand-dollar wines.
He’s the first in his family in the wine business. He started in Burgundy in 1999. In just ten years, he was hand-picked to succeed Jacques Lardière, Jadot’s previous winemaker for the prior forty-two years. Solid experience, a solid view of the job, and strong technical background – this, according to Frederic, is what qualifies him.
“We are not making the wine in Burgundy, the wine is made by the place.” Allow the wine to be revealed in as simple a way as possible, that’s Frederic’s job. According to initial reviews, Frederic has “revealed” magnificently.
© Carl Kanowsky