Philippe Jouan’s rustic, unprentious take on Burgundy certainly flies under the radar — and with the current quantities produced, this is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Philippe Jouan: Salt of the Burgundian Earth
A small offer of Phillipe Jouan's outstanding 2019 vintage
If you've been following the shop for a short or long while, you've likely heard and read our "oohs and aahs" on Philippe Jouan's wines. We're big fans of how Philippe's wines can show off rustic irreverence with structure, polish and balance. I think Jonathan said it best on last vintage's offer: "There are others with similarly-aged Pinot Noir vines using similar techniques, yet Jouan's remain singular. It's hard to describe the wild edge of Jouan, but to me it feels like something Italian or Piedmontese is creeping into the wines, a nervy spiciness and unrestrained passion that brings these alive where other Burgundies feel stoic, or coy. Jouan's wines feel like loud, quirky friends with big hearts."
After the boisterous 2018s, the 2019s dial back the intensity to show Jouan at a new level of excellence. They are velvety, complex, and haunting. For all the overhyped Burgundy out there, here is one that delivers and stays in your soul.
Though Philippe could surely command far higher prices given the scarcity, he doesn't. Naturally, his wines sell out quickly, especially the affordable Coteaux Bourguignons. But there are barely cases, plural, so we have to limit this offer to a few bottles per customer, first-come, first-serve.
The iconic Jacky Truchot is often used as a reference for Jouan's wines, and while the proximity and friendship with Jacky is certainly worth mentioning, I think it's more representative of an ethos and taste level than stylistic similarities. Jouan's wines always have a more rustic tendency, with a little more concentration and color, and that "old vine fruit" structure - with sappy fruit and vigor.
The grapes — from 80 year-old vines even in the village-level wines — are destemmed before a cool, natural fermentation in old oak, manually pressed in wooden basket presses — a labor intensive method that hasn't changed for over 100 years — then spilled into barrels (mostly old).
It's always hard to convey what's so special about "special" wines, but if you made it here, there are few wines that check all the boxes quite like these.
A little more on 2019s...
The consensus throughout Burgundy is that 2019 is an outstanding vintage, with that special balance of concentration and detail. This said, it wasn't an easy growing season. A mild and very dry winter meant vines didn’t have deep stores of water. Then spring was early (seemingly the new norm these days) with a warm February and March getting the sap flowing and kicking off bud-break at the start of April. Cool nights throughout the season retained balance in the wines – an element that a number of growers felt was key in 2019 preserving both acidity and aromatics. Overall, it was a dry season though, and this was crucial. The grapes didn’t simply ripen under a hot sun, accumulating more and more sugar; instead, they were concentrated, meaning fruit had phenolic ripeness and acidity. This allowed growers to pick based on flavor balance, not just sugar levels. Philippe Jouan found the tannins ripened more quickly in 2019, enabling him to pick a week earlier than 2018, and keeping more acidity in his wines. This lift and purity of fruit is a constant throughout the wines we tasted - and the hallmark of the vintage.