Barry Weinman: 16th December 2021
It is hard to work out what is what when it comes to Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume, and his eponymous brand.
According to the website, the Jessiaume family have been making wines for seven generations from their estate in Santanay. However according to the Domaine Jessiaume website, the estate was sold in 2006.
What is apparent is that, following its purchase by investors in 2012, Jean-Baptiste along with his father and uncle took over winemaking and management of Domaine Chanzy. Towards the end of the decade, the family appear to have left Chanzy to start Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume.
This is the first time that I have tried the wines and the outcomes are very impressive. Overall, the wines are clean, fresh and very well made in a modern style. There was also excellent consistency of quality across the range.
A Western Australian distributor has been lined up, so expect wines to be available sometime around Q2 2022. Prices are to be confirmed.
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Bouzeron – Aligote – 2020. Just a touch of caramel, with lovely mouthfeel and texture. The fruit is quite shy initially, with hints of citrus and tropical notes building. Very food friendly. The fruit (100% Aligote) is hand-picked and barrel fermented (10 – 15% new oak). 90pts
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Santanay – Le Forge –Chardonnay – 2020. Fresh, zesty and neutral, with a touch of nuttiness to the nectarine-like aromas. The fruit has a lighter weight on the palate but is clearly high quality. Gentle oak and minerality add texture. The length and persistence are notable. Very well made. 91pts.
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Mercurey – Bois De Lalier – Chardonnay – 2020. More volume of fruit compared to the Le Forge and very well made. Textural, silky and near seamless, with stone-fruit building in the glass. 91pts.
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Rully – 1er Cru – Marissou – Chardonnay – 2020. Pretty fruit, in a cooler style, is supported by exciting acidity. Grapefruit and lemony acid keep the wine fresh and lively, while the oak is texturing without adding overt characters. An elegant, finer style that would suit short-term aging. 92pts.
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Santenay – Clos Du Haut Village – Pinot Noir – 2019. This has dense fruit for a Pinot, but just lacks the structure to elevate it to the top level. But this is supple, rounded and great early drinking with the strawberry fruit supported by fresh acidity. 90pts
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Volnay – Pinot Noir – 2019. Clean, fresh and elegant, with pretty red berry fruit to the fore. The palate is lithe and supple, and whilst not overly complex, has delicious cherry and spice notes. 91pts
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Rully – 1er Cru – La Fosse – Pinot Noir – 2019. This has attractive fruit in the cherry/plum spectrum, supported by liquorice notes. However, the texture here is the key feature, with graphite-like tannins and minerality to the fore. Dense, structured, modern. 92pts
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Volnay – 1er Cru – Le Ronceret – Pinot Noir – 2019. There is more depth and power here, with fruit weight akin to new world Pinot. The silky ripe fruit has real density and gravitas. An impressive wine. 93pts.
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Santenay – 1er Cru – Les Gravieres – Pinot Noir – 2019. I like this a lot. This is dense and textured, with great oak handling. Yet this retains a lightness and elegance that makes it irresistible. Souring cherry acidity on the close adds life and balance. 94+pts.