Burgundy's Jadot Taps Oregon Pinot Noir to Expand Outside France

  • Jadot has been active in Burgundy for more than 150 years
  • Pinot Noir experience gives it opening for New World project

Thibault Gagey, son of Pierre-Henry Gagey, who is president of Burgundy wine producer Louis Jadot, is overseeing a Pinot Noir project in Oregon. Photo: Maison Louis Jadot.

Burgundy wine producer Maison Louis Jadot is expanding beyond its French base and starting to market the 2013 vintage of Resonance, a pinot noir red wine it’s producing from a vineyard acquired in Oregon three years ago.

The project is being overseen by Thibault Gagey, son of Jadot’s president Pierre-Henry Gagey, while Jacques Lardiere, Jadot’s winemaker for more than 40 years before his recent retirement, is supervising the vinification.

Thibault Gagey, son of Pierre-Henry Gagey, who is president of Louis Jadot, is overseeing a project in Oregon.

Photo: Maison Louis Jadot.

Jadot controls 210 hectares (519 acres) of vineyards scattered through Burgundy from the Cote d’Or down through the Maconnais to Beaujolais, while the vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley represents its first venture into the New World. There’s no winery on site for now, although the company has plans to build one, and it acquired another small vineyard plot in Oregon in 2014.

“We had a very good feeling about the place,” Thibault Gagey said in a phone interview during a visit to London last month. “We don’t want to rush; we are there for the long term. It’s a serious project for us.”

Jadot bought the 2013 crop along with the vineyard, and started to market the vintage in the U.S. earlier this year and now also the U.K. The producer’s move into the Pacific Northwest comes as the region’s reputation for quality pinot noir, the classic Burgundy grape, has been growing in recent years. Jadot, founded in 1859 and with a long history in the Burgundy wine trade, acknowledges that Oregon has its own distinctive style.

“The mistake would be to try to make a Burgundy in Oregon,” Gagey said, while noting that although “the soil is different, the water is different, obviously it’s pinot noir.”

Jadot is not the first Burgundian wine producer to experiment with production in Oregon. The Drouhin family, which has been active in Burgundy since 1880, established its Oregon estate Domaine Drouhin in the late 1980s.

Jadot’s 2013 Resonance wine is on sale at Morrell & Co. in New York for $69 a bottle and at California-based Wine.com for $64.99 a bottle, according to market website wine-searcher.com.