Rewarding Patience: the 1997 Louis Jadot Nuits-St. George “Les Damodes” 1er Cru

16 Apr

I know, I know: it’s been nearly six months since my last post.  Forgive me, those few of you who read this blog.  It’s been a helluva year, but despite that I have been extremely lucky.  I have wonderful friends and have been able to drink some really great wines.  These next few months will see me posting more regularly–or at least until the next huge life event derails my publishing schedule!

To fill you in a bit about what’s been going on, I’ve been living in the tiny Alexandria, VA neighborhood of Del Ray, which with its small Craftsman-style homes and tree-lined streets reminds me a great deal of my native South Pasadena.  It has everything one might want for good living, including a great barbecue restaurant and bar, independent coffee shop, and a kick-ass wine shop.

The name of this kick-ass wine shop is Planet Wine, and I’ve whiled away many an afternoon there browsing its very carefully curated selection of bottles.  I’m salivating over a bottle of 2003 Loire Valley Chenin Blanc I’ve laid down in my basement, and I’ve tried a fair percentage of the shop’s inventory.  As I’ve told the manager, Tim, this is exactly the type of shop I would open if I had my druthers.

On a recent occasion I had opportunity to purchase and open a Burgundy from 1997, the 1997 Louis Jadot Nuits-St. Georges “Les Damodes” 1er cru ($45, on markdown first from $65 and then from$ 52 at Planet Wine).  The vineyard is named after a triad of Druid goddesses who were believed to control harvests, and is a limestone-rich mix of clay and silt.

While 1997 wasn’t a stellar vintage in Burgundy, it was still a decent one.  I was just happy to find an older bottle of Burgundy at such a good price!

Kudos to Tim for doing a fantastic job of opening the bottle: the initial pull only managed to remove the center of the cork.  The cork was extremely brittle and soft, but after about two or three minutes he was able to extract the remainder of the cork.

Fortunately for us, the cork had held up and the wine inside was good.  I got sour cherry, a little bit of spice, and a really nice savory finish.  Good acidity, with light tannins.  The color was a faded brick red, as could be expected for a nearly 15-year-old bottle.

Ultimately, this was a good bottle though not a transcendent one.  It’s been far too often my experience that older bottles turn out to be disappointing, on their way down, or ruined, but the Les Damodes was a pretty, and solid, wine.

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