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Interview with Jean-Charles Boisset
Interview with Thomas Bechelder

That terroir relies on the warming effects of the great lakes as well as the geology of the escarpment. The Clos Jordanne estates are located both at the foot, and on the top, of the escarpment. The vineyards below the escarpment; Le Clos Jordanne, Claystone Terrace, and La Petite Vineyard, benefit from limestone rich soils and sedimentary deposits left after the passing of millennia.  The Talon Ridge vineyard, Clos Jordanne’s largest, is located atop the escarpment and enjoys stone, silt heavy soils.

The decision to maximize the potential of the region seems to have been an obvious one to Jean-Charles.  Equally obvious, given his background, was to pursue a path perfected by generations in Burgundy. That path was lined with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and led to some specific notions; such as organic farming using a variety of clones at Clos Jordanne, and vinifiying the vineyard by these missed blocks. The wines are vinified using wild yeasts, and in general winemaker Thomas Bechelder practices a minimally invasive style of wine making.

Thomas, a native Canadien born in Montreal, was an obvious choice to helm this project. After working his way up the ladder through several Burgundian estates he finished his formal education by completing the program in Viticulture and Oenology in Beaune, Burgundy. I caught up with Thomas after the tasting and conducted this brief interview:

Well there’s not much more to say about Clos Jordanne. The wines will speak for themselves; so I’ll just add the notes below. One final thought though, these are wines worth trying, not only for their ability to illuminate the potential of the Niagara Escarpment, but because they are delicious and fun to drink. I am looking forward to sitting down with a few bottles soon.

2006 Clos Jordanne Chardonnay Reserve

This is crisp and subtle on the nose with hints of spice and a touch of butter accenting the green apple fruits. On the palate this is fairly rich but very well balanced with excellent acidity keeping this vibrant and highlighting the subtly chalky minerality. Though it may lack some complexity, the fruit is fresh and pure with excellent intensity and solid length making this a terrific everyday drinking style of Chardonnay. 88pts

2006 Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir

There’s a touch of wood on the nose here, you get both the spice tones and a little sweetness that adds some plumpness to the slightly under-ripe fruit tones on the nose. The aromatics are accented with floral and herbal notes that take on a slight tobacco tone when combined with the smoky wood notes.  Gentle on entry, this reveals a very nice core of ripe fruit, that’s a bit surprising after the nose. Perhaps a bit simple, again, but certainly varietal and well made with a nice, refreshing acid wash on the finish. 86pts

2006 Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir

This is also marked by smoky oak tones but with plenty of burnished cherry fruit and earth notes to support the added spice. On the palate this exhibits superb acidity with sweet red cherry fruit, which contrasts with the layers of earth, tea, and integrated wood spice notes. This offers great transparency and very good length in a precise style. It’s a pure, and even slightly delicate wine, but one with immediate appeal. 91pts

2006 Twenty Mile Bench Pinot Noir

Deep and richly layered aromatics are full of smoke, clay and stem tones. On the palate this is richer than the Claystone though also softer with more of a sois bois character to it. The dark, blackberry fruit is muscular, and supported by very fine tannins, though this lacks the precision of the Claystone it may have a more promising evolution. The finish feels compressed though seems to have ample reserves of fruit.  89pts

Great Groups Pages
Have you seen our new look? Our groups pages have been redesigned to make them both easier to use, and more helpful. In a glance you can follow all the activity that pertains to the group, both on, and off the page. See new wines, wine reviews, and comments in the forums. Get to know other Snooth members who share your interests, and explore all the details of your favorite regions, wineries, and grape varieties. It's a great place to learn more about wine, and to share your passion. Check out one of our group pages today. To get you started here are a few of my favorites. My favorite grape is Nebbiolo, and of course my favorite region is Piedmont, but that doesn't mean I don't dig the wines from The Ojai Vineyard.

Las week I introduced you to the wines of Alsace with a brief history of the region, and a rundown of Wine Labels and styles. We didn’t have enough time to go into more detail then, but I wanted to follow up with some basic pointers regarding the major wine styles made from Alsace’s grand grapes. These wines warrant your attention, not only because they can be brilliant, rich, structured white wines in a world of weak washed out whites, but also because they are simply spectacular at the table. Some of Alsace’s greatest dishes pair magically with their greatest wines. To read more about the great grapes of Alsace and the foods they pair with please follow this link.

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  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,549

    We all had a great time at the event - really nice to meet all the winemakers (particularly Jean-Charles, a real character) there.

    Keep your eye out for the rest of the series over the coming weeks

    Dec 09, 2009 at 11:53 AM

  • Snooth User: John Andrews
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    36106 3,415

    I have to admit I am quite jealous of you guys for this event. I have a couple of bottles of Clos Jordanne in my fridge and can't wait to get to them.

    What I love about Clos Jordanne is is it is creating awareness of the region so that other great small producers like Thirty Bench, Fielding Estate and Stratus will get recognized as well.

    By the way ... if you have any extra bottles of Clos Jordanne, I will be happy to take them off your hands!

    Dec 09, 2009 at 12:28 PM

  • I'm glad you mentioned the other producers Honda John! I completed my winemaking degree at Brock in the Niagara region and there are far more wineries than just Clos Jordanne that are producing world class. In every vintage!

    Dec 09, 2009 at 1:08 PM

  • Snooth User: LisaTillis
    221025 13

    We recently visited many of the wineries in the Niagara Peninsula -- one of our favorite stops was at Thirty Bench. They are producing some really superb Riesling.

    Dec 09, 2009 at 3:37 PM

  • White wine from Clos Jordanne are very good. The quality is, to my opinion, remarkable. Two months ago, I had the chance to invite over at my house, one of the best producer in St-Émilion François Despagnes from Grand Corbin Despagnes. I wanted him to taste wine from my country. He said he had a blast. He didn't know it was possible to create such great wine within this country. I was proud to be a Canadian that day : )

    Note: I also attended Montreal Pasison Vin. I highly recommend it to any wine passionate around the globe. Truly, this is an extraordinary experience. Right guys?

    Dec 09, 2009 at 4:46 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,549

    Martin - absolutely. We were really glad to be there, and more so, to be sharing it with other Snooth users via these articles and video interviews.

    This is the first time we've put video on the site (other than as part of the welcome/signup page), so I'm looking forward to seeing how our users like it.

    Dec 09, 2009 at 4:48 PM

  • Snooth User: hugh27
    Hand of Snooth
    253137 65

    While I agree with you regarding Clos Jourdan the major problem with Niagara is that the soils are too rich for most varietals(and while I will get lots of Canadian flak here) they are not well suited to most Varietals- and like most Canadian winemakers Niagara tries to be all things to all people, to their detriment- the Rieslings, Gewurz and Cab Franc are world class (Try Calamus Winery or Konzelman) the others with some rare exceptions are at best mediocre- however now we can look at Prince Edward County for the Pinot- definitely world class, and North Shore of Lake Erie for outstanding wines(poorer soil but better for wines) worth a try are Viewpoint for Auxelrois, Riesliong and Cab Franc- definitely in the 89 to 92 point rqnge- but do not just listen to my rant- try some and put your mouth to the test

    Dec 09, 2009 at 5:12 PM

  • Snooth User: John Andrews
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    36106 3,415

    @Hugh while I don't disagree with entirely I think you are over generalizing the Niagara Peninsula. It takes time to figure out what plots and grapes work best.

    I think the Beamsville Bench area is getting a lot of good stuff because the wineries are more in tune with the soil and what works. The experimentation (all stuff) needs to happen to figure out what works.

    Dec 10, 2009 at 3:18 PM

  • Snooth User: hugh27
    Hand of Snooth
    253137 65

    Hi Honda John
    I still stand by my original comments- I do find it somewhat distressing that so many so called wine "Experts" still equate rich soil and good wines- yes the bench does do better because it is a Glacial esker and the soil is stony, sandy with a clay base, thus allowing deep root penetration but as a Canadian and a wine person,I still think that we do too many wines that are mediocre, and as a result it is harder to find the good ones- Why cannot Canadian wine makers follow the example of the historic world regions and concentrate on what we do best- and make no mistake that best is world class- but we do not see Gamay in Bordeaux nor Riesling in Spain. Experimentation is great but it saves a lot of time to follow history as well

    Dec 11, 2009 at 10:09 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 202,157

    Thanks for the tips Hugh, and your great perspective on the Canadian wine scene. I'm not familiar enough with the soil composition of Niagara but was concerned enough by the appearance of heavy, potentially waterlogged soils to ask Thomas Belcheder, the winemaker about it in our brief video interview.

    Dec 11, 2009 at 11:36 AM

  • It was indeed a great event in Mtl. Participants are real wine lovers. The like the product as well as the story behind it, and Clos Jordonne has most definately a great story to tell. All the Pinots and all the chards are very well made. They are elegant yet accessible. It is hard for those who like burgandy to find a better a glass of new world comparable at those price points. Who knows...with climate change Canada may just be the new burgandy.

    Dec 11, 2009 at 6:34 PM

  • No doubt this was a wonderful event. Would have liked to have attended.

    I discovered the Le Clos Jordanne a few years ago, when a well known musician from Toronto suggested I taste some of their wines. Being a Sommelier and quite curious about the wines, I made a trip to Le Clos Jordanne.

    This past summer I had the pleasure of having lunch with Le Clos Jordanne's winemaker, Thomas Belcheder. After lunch we toured the vineyards and my visit ended with a wine tasting. Great Pinot Noirs are coming out of these vineyards. Keep up the good work Thomas!

    Other preferred Niagara wineries Kacaba Vineyards, Tawse Winery.

    Dec 16, 2009 at 12:52 AM

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