The petite estate of Domaine du Jaugaret has been in the Fillastre family since 1654. Jean-François Fillastre, the current proprietor, is dedicated to preserving the traditions not only of Jaugaret but of the St. Julien appellation. Stepping into the cellars of Jaugaret brings one back to an era when the Bordelais were modest and the wines were grand. Here is an estate where one finds neither pretense nor hubris just the essence of the appellation.
Jaugaret encompasses a mere 1.3 hectares of vineyards, made up almost exclusively of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) with some Petit Verdot and Malbec to supplement this classic Médoc structure. The average age of the vines is over 50 years (as of 2011) and some of the Malbec vineyards are in excess of 100 years old. This combination of grape varieties permits Jaugaret to find the ultimate expression of the terroir of Saint Julien, taking advantage of the deep gravel beds and the long growing season that mark St. Julien as a unique and special appellation. The old vines of Jaugaret combined with the unfertile, gravelly soils results in naturally low yields which again provide the wines of M. Fillastre with a concentration virtually unequalled in Saint Julien. Here is a truly unique wine from a gentleman who follows the most classical traditions.
The sad irony is that, in this age of extensive outside investment in the prime areas of Bordeaux married to an obsession with technical control of vinification, the very essence of the terroir of these grand micro-climates in the Médoc, like Saint Julien, is being undermined with the result that the wines of Domaine de Jaugaret are now being rejected for the appellation that they represent so truly and well. Thus, in this tragic moment of standardization, the most “typical” of Saint Juliens is being threatened with being denied the right to claim its origin as Saint Julien! We stand with Monsieur Fillastre in his refusal to “modernize” to satisfy the new “normal”; thus, for those of us who love and admire Jaugaret, the names of Fillastre and Jaugaret will remain synonymous with Saint Julien.
|Domaine du Jaugaret Monsieur Fillastre: harvests his “field blend” usually in one or two days. The grapes are placed into a small press and are crushed manually. The cuvaison is long, frequently extending three (3) weeks or more. The wine is then racked into small barrels (only a minor percentage of which are new) to complete the malolactic fermentation and then are left to age in a small, damp underground cellar with minimal racking for approximately thirty (30) months. The wines are never filtered before bottling. The wines of Jaugaret, relying so extensively on Cabernet, are built to last. We purchase approximately four barrels (1200 bottles) of Jaugaret per annum.|
Last year a friend asked me a question I had never considered before: Over the many years I had been writing about wine, what was the greatest thing this job had given me?
I answered almost reflexively. As a New Yorker who has spent most of my life living in Manhattan, wine had provided me a connection to nature that I most likely would never have experienced otherwise.
I’ve thought about this a lot over the last few weeks, as the pandemic has now been with us for more than four months. Most of that time, I’ve been in my apartment, far away from vineyards, much less anything that might reasonably be construed as wild and natural, like a forest or ocean. I feel the difference, physically and emotionally.
My friend professed surprise at my answer. He’d assumed that I would cite the wonderful, otherwise inaccessible wines I had been able to drink, or maybe the many intriguing personalities in the wine world with whom I’ve spent time.
These, of course, have been wonderful benefits as well. If I were not representing readers of The New York Times, I would never have had an opportunity, to drink, say, great old wine made from grapes harvested in 1846, or to try 16 vintages of Château Lafite-Rothschild going all the way back to 1868.
I also know that my understanding of wine would not be nearly as rich without having had the opportunity to spend time with people as diverse as Jean-François Fillastre…
Drinking 2012 Jaugaret tonight. A perfect wine in the purity of its expression of its terroir. Every wine should be this “correct”. In the background there is an enchanting herbal, weedy, tobacco rich flavor and bouquet, the tannins are bright yet with a pleasant grip; only 12.5% alcohol which is when Bordeaux from Cabernet is […]
Tonight (1 Feb 2012) we are drinking a bottle of Domaine du Jaugaret 2007, a wine from a weak vintage (or so it is said). Satisfying – a true wine of Saint Julien, as clear an expression of this particular terroir as exists in today’s world of Bordeaux. Yet, this splendid wine may be the […]
So, over the past several evenings, we have drunk Haut Segottes ’06 and Jaugaret ’04, an experience that stimulates a few thoughts about the two wines specifically and our Bordeaux selection in general. First, it becomes obvious after consuming these two wines that our work in Bordeaux is every bit as profound and important as […]
Passed a lovely moment with Jean-Francois Fillastre at Domaine Jaugaret this morning. He was in good spirits despite the fact that both his ’08 and ’09 have been rejected by the tasting panel that gives the OK to have the appellation Saint Jullien for the wine. The wine was putatively rejected due to an excess […]