At a wine tasting last week, I was able to taste through Le Clos Jordanne’s entire range of the spectacular 2007 vintage. What a pleasure! They are beautifully well-made wines and the 2007 Le Grand Clos Chardonnay is perhaps one of the best Chardonnays I have ever tasted (although it should be pretty amazing at $65 a bottle!). While I definitely enjoyed the tasting, most of these wines need at least a couple of years in the cellar to really show their stuff, especially the Pinot Noirs which are bigger and darker than most Pinots. The 2007 growing season was warm and dry, resulting in very concentrated Pinot Noirs with powerful fruit flavours. Le Clos Jordanne winemaker, Thomas Bachelder told me in the summer that, “They may be atypical, but they are gloriously atypical”.
Back in August of this year, Jancis Robinson wrote in her Purple Pages that the Ontario Pinot Noirs she found “most impressive” were those of Le Clos Jordanne, and she stated that she preferred the Village 2007 to the Grand Clos 2007. She prefers lighter, crisper wines.
Le Clos Jordanne was founded in 2000 as a joint venture between Vincor and the Burgundy producer, Boisset. The vineyards were planted that same year with vines shipped from Burgundy. The wines are distinctly Burgundian in character and only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are produced. The first vintage for Le Clos Jordanne was 2003, but only a small number of cases were produced that year because extreme winter conditions damaged many of the vines. Production levels in 2004 increased.
In 2002, plans for a new winery and hospitality building, designed by Canadian Architect Frank Gehry, were unveiled to lots of hype. It was futuristic-looking in design with a dramatic furled metal roof that looked like clouds floating over the vineyard. The plan was to have it completed by 2010, and it was to draw tourists from around the world to the Niagara Peninsula. Well, it seems that the plan has been put on hold indefinitely. In fact, vines have now been planted on the site that was to house this undoubtedly unaffordable facility. For the meantime, Le Clos “temporarily” remains in the ugly green building that was once the site of a plant nursery. The building can be seen from the QEW, but is not open to visitors and it sports no signage indicating that it is Le Clos Jordanne. If you’d like to taste Le Clos Jordanne wines, Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery (also owned by Vincor), in Niagara-on-the-Lake, may have a few for you to try.
Tasting notes for the 2007 wines:
Village Chardonnay: A very bright yellow colour with intense aromas of orange creamsicle, pineapple, nectarine, tropical fruit, and vanilla with a hint of butterscotch. It has medium+ body with sweet vanilla, cream, and ripe pineapple flavours. The typical Ontario minerality is there with refreshing acidity.
Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Chardonnay: More minerally than the Village wine with crisp aromas of yellow and green apple, softened out with sweet vanilla. This is more of a Chablis-like wine with well-integrated oak and a slightly flinty minerality.
Talon Ridge Chardonnay: The 2007 vintage is the first to be released as a single vineyard. Prior to this it was blended into the village wine. This wine has sweeter aromas of butterscotch, vanilla, cantaloupe, and ripe apple than the Le Clos Jordanne and Village Chards. All those soft, sweet and fruity aromas are supported by an abundance of minerality. On the palate it is rich and creamy with light butterscotch on the long finish.
Claystone Terrace Chardonnay: The 2005 vintage of this wine was the surprise winner of a blind tasting in the spring when it was pitted against some Chards from California and Burgundy. The 2007 Claystone is a big Chardonnay with intense aromas of vanilla, butterscotch, ripe apple, dried pineapple, white peach, and Pina Colada. The oak needs a little time to integrate more. This is a full-bodied wine with a rich texture. There are lots of fruit flavours with good minerality, crisp acidity, and a long length.
Le Grand Clos Chardonnay: This wine was incredible and I found something new with each taste. There are intense, concentrated aromas of vanilla, butterscotch, mandarine orange, nectarine, white peach, pineapple, and mineral. It’s full-bodied with a silky smooth texture and an extremely long length. Flavours of ripe pear, dried pineapple, nectarine, vanilla, and butterscotch, with a touch of toasted caramel on the finish. This wine should be even more amazing after a couple of years in the cellar.
Village Pinot Noir: A very bright ruby colour with tons of cherry, strawberry, sweet red and black berries, a touch of spice, and a little black pepper on the nose. Flavours of red berries and a little spice are evident. It falls a little short on the length and the nose is definitely more interesting than the palate. It’ll be interesting to try this wine in a year or two to see if the flavours have emerged more.
Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Pinot Noir: A deeper ruby colour than the Village wine and a bit more earthy. There are aromas of dark fruit and blackberries with a little spice. The tannins are firm and there are flavours of dark berries, mineral, and spice. It’s a bit closed right now and definitely needs some time to open up.
La Petite Colline Pinot Noir: Aromas of wild forest berries and cherry cola dominate, with some earth, mineral, and a floral note. It has a soft, smooth texture with lots of berry flavours and velvetty tannins. Cellar for at least 3 years before drinking.
Talon Ridge Pinot Noir: There are very floral aromas, with red cherry and other red berries, vanilla, and a touch of anise. I loved the nose! It has a silky texture with good acidity and velvetty tannins with the fruit flavours following through from the nose. This wine is drinking the best out of all the Pinots right now, but will also benefit from cellaring.
Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir: This is a darker, meatier Pinot with cola, blueberry, black cherry, red cherry, earth, brown spice, and a hint of black licorice. The tannins definitely need time to soften and integrate more, but there is good fruit character and a long length. Drink in about 3 to 5 years.
Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir: A giant Pinot! A dark ruby colour with ripe dark and red fruit aromas, dark chocolate, Christmas cake, and a touch of black licorice. Obviously more oak was used on this wine but it’s still well-integrated with some toasty oak characters. It’s full-bodied and meaty, with firm tannins, chocolate, spice, cola, and dark berry flavours. It has a very long length with a smoky toastiness on the finish. This wine definitely needs time. Drink after 5 years.