2018 Domaine Claudie Jobard “Milliane” Pinot Noir
In Burgundy, around every street corner, behind every cellar door, there are always more treasures to discover — bottles of beautifully crafted Pinot Noir, made by an under-the-radar producer in a backcountry village. If you’re willing to explore, your palate will be richly rewarded. And if you’re very fortunate, you won’t have to pay a lot for the experience. Such is the case with the wines at Domaine Claudie Jobard in Pommard.
Claudie is the eighth generation of the family to have worked the domaine’s vines. Laurence Jobard is Claudie’s mother and a rather famous woman in Burgundy. She was the first female winemaker at Domaine Drouhin, a distinction that made her the first female winemaker at any large and important Burgundy house. She was also the first female Burgundy winemaker to garner enthusiastic and extensive praise for the wines she made.
And then there’s Claudie’s dad, Roger Jobard. Nursery work in Burgundy is considered “woman’s work because,” says Claudie, “men are too rough.” But Roger is a nursery owner and one of the region’s best. Name a top Burgundy domaine and Roger’s been there planting vines. Growing up, Claudie helped her dad graft, mend and plant over 100,000 different vines. But after high school, Claudie wanted out of Burgundy and away from wine. As Claudie told my tasting group, “After Mom in Burgundy wines, and Dad in Burgundy vines, there wasn’t much room for me to become Claudie.”
This is an Old World French family, and leaving an Old World French family is a big deal. Between her grandma and her parents, the pressure on Claudie to return and work the vines of the domaine steadily intensified. Mom was chosen to apply the big guns. She asked Claudie to throw Grandma a birthday party featuring a vertical tasting of 60 vintages from her favorite vineyard, Pommard Premier Cru Les Vaumuriens. For Claudie, this was the turning point. The vertical was, she says, “just magical. Vintage after vintage, it so strongly revealed the identity of the vineyard that the hand of winemaker couldn’t be seen.” The experience encapsulates the French idea of terroir — an idea so powerful to all wine lovers. “It was like waking up one morning to discover just how beautiful the world is,” Claudie said, acknowledging that her mom taught her the love of winemaking.
Named after Claudie’s grandma, the 2018 “Milliane” is not only made from 100% Pommard fruit, its fruit also comes from 100% vieilles vignes, or old vines. Its nose offers aromas of pure, fresh raspberries, as if they were just picked while strolling in the French countryside. The fruit is framed by notes of spice and a lively acidity. All of the old vines for the wine come from the lower slope of Pommard, where the subsoil changes from clay to limestone. Clay typically gives Pommards their depth and succulence and their robust tannins. In this wine, clay delivers the fascinating combination of Pommard’s luscious, spicy fruit with a smooth tannic structure. It’s intellectually woven and hedonistically satisfying.
Burgundy treasure awaits in this beautifully crafted bottle!