JAO Wine Imports is predominantly a Burgundy house specializing in boutique wineries, and we’ve reported on our tastings of their Burgundy portfolio several times over the years. However, JAO also brings in wines from elsewhere in France, as well as a few selections from Italy. We recently tasted 2011 new releases from the Loire and Burgundy and wines from two Italian estates, in addition to some older Grand Cru Burgundies. Our tasting notes follow. Not reported here are the excellent wines of JL & F Chavy of Puligny-Montrachet, which we have published as a separate article featuring that domaine.
Domaine Nicolas Girard 2011 Menetou-Salon ($24) 90 A perfume of melon with a light green citrus note gives way to a nicely concentrated palate with minerals, citrus and an herbal note. Well-balanced with good persistence and a crisp finish.
Domaine Nicolas Girard 2011 Sancerre ($27) 90+ This Sancerre reveals subtle scents of minerals and flowers and a clean, chalky mouth feel showing waxy fruit and dusty herbal flavors. The stony minerality continues on the finish with a lingering thick extract.
Domaine Marc Jambon 2011 Mâcon Pierreclos ($25) 90 A note of rich, toasted oak shows on the nose of this Mâcon although it only has 5% new oak. It’s a well-rounded wine with good balance and freshness. Flavors tend towards light orchard fruit and just a hint of toast
Domaine Dubuet-Monthelie 2011 Meursault ($49) 91-2 Recently arrive at port, this Meursault is still suffering from its travel, which explains our uncertain evaluation. But the promise is there, with flint and floral scents and a bright, fresh palate of chalky minerals. Orchard fruit flavors are likely to become more prominent with a little bottle rest.
Domaine Michel Gaunoux 1996 Pommard Grands Epenots ($105) 91 Mahogany at the core fading to garnet brick at the rim, this is an earthy wine with fragrant notes of underbrush, earth, and dried plum. It finishes dry and long with firm earthy, oxidative notes. A perfect wine to pair with cheese at the end of the meal. Made from 30-40 year old vines and aged 18 months in 25% new oak.
Domaine Michel Gaunoux 1995 Corton Renardes Grand Cru ($115) 92 Brick at the core but pale at the rim, this 15+ year old wine is bright with notes of dried red fruit and earth notes. Not as big a wine as the 1996 Pommard but more elegant. It’s well-balanced with rich fruit and a very long finish. Sees 25% new oak for 18 months. As reflected in these wines, 1995 was a more accessible vintage than 1996.
Az. Agr. Villa Schinosa 2011 Greco di Puglia ($15) 89 This Greco di Puglia is an outstanding value and delicious, too. Herbs, minerals, and ripe melon combined with good acidity and a round mouth feel make for a very pleasant wine. Fermented in concrete vats with no oak aging.
Az. Agr. Villa Schinosa 2010 Primitivo ($19) 88 Soft, round and easy drinking, this Primitivo shows plum and earth notes. The palate is full and ripe with good acid balance. Spends six months in concrete tanks followed by 10 months in large Slovenian oak vats.
Az. Agr. Armilla 2010 Rosso di Montalcino ($25) 89 This baby Brunello is unusually savory, ripe and earthy for a Rosso. It exhibits a flavorful palate, firm tannins, and a pleasing finish that reveals an unexpected bright red cherry note.
Az. Agr. Armilla 2007 Brunello di Montalcino ($53) 91 A classic Brunello from an excellent vintage, this wine has a lovely richness with integrated aromas and flavors of earth and dried dark red fruit. In the mouth, it’s soft and elegant with round tannins.
These wines are imported by JAO Imports of McLean VA. www.jaowineimports.com
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler