Soul of Burgundy in the Heart of Bordeaux: 2008 Jaugaret (St. Julien)

Posted by Ian McFadden

"For me, the importance of a place like Domaine du Jaugaret in St.-Julien cannot be overstated... Jaugaret brims with soul."

-Eric Asimov

A bottle of Jaugaret is an eye-opening, life-affirming experience.

Of course, the Neal Rosenthal back-label should suggest that this wine is no standard bottle of Bordeaux. Indeed, in clarity and expression, in style, in soul, Jaugaret stands right there with the likes of Bea, Fourrier, Pradeaux, etc.

More than just a great wine, this is an important wine. Jean-François Fillastre of Jaugaret works only 1.3 hectares in St. Julien, one of Bordeaux's most important communes. (As a reference, this is about half the size of Denis Bachelet's estate, less than half the amount of land Willi Schaefer in the Mosel farms!)

At Jaugaret, there is no grand Chateau, no sculptural Chai; there is only a man and his vines. Asimov, in a loving New York Times review described the winemaking facilities as, "a series of stone sheds with floors of dirt and gravel and walls covered in a mushroomlike mold."

We've loved and supported these wines since the 2004 vintage. Every year they've surprised us more and more and today we feature the 2008 - one of the brightest, clearest, most beautiful expressions of St.-Julien, of Bordeaux, that we've had in a long time.

This is just so pure, it's haunting. This is Bordeaux for the Burgundy lover. That phrase captures something of the fine-ness, the elegance and precision of the wine quite well. If Thierry Allemand made Bordeaux, it would likely taste something like this.

There is no doubt that as Bordeaux has ratcheted up the power and extraction of the wines, something has been lost. Those lucky enough to have tasted Bordeauxs from the 60s and 70s understand the haunting elegance and the perfume that old-school Bordeauxs can express. These can be wines of terroir!

Thankfully, Jaugaret has remained committed to this nearly abandoned style, and the 08 is a heartbreaking example of it. 2008 in Bordeaux is a classic vintage in terms of its purity and scale - the perfect vintage to showcase Jaugaret's style.

It's worth noting that maintaining this aesthetic in spite of fashion hasn't been easy for Jaugaret. You'll notice that the 2008 Jaugaret is labeled a "Vin de France," instead of St. Julien. The AOC committee (as they've done with quality-driven producers like Dagueneau, among others) denied Jaugaret appellation status for being atypical.

Rosenthal sums this up, writing, "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!" Is Jaugaret too old-school for Bordeaux?

Over the past couple of years, a lot of attention has turned to the great traditionalists of the Northern Rhône, like Verset and Gentaz-Dervieux, as people realized something very real was being lost. Jaugaret's wines are another reminder that an important part of history is threatened with disappearing. For that reason, it should be celebrated.

This is not an inexpensive bottle of wine. However, the quality, the craftsmanship, the artistry and soul - this is all here in spades and there is just no denying the fact this wine has more depth and nuance and intrigue than an ocean of Bordeaux that gushes through the market at 2, 3 and 4x the price.

With 1.3 hectares, there is painfully little to go around. Good things come in small hectares - this is special and very recommended.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer

Crush Wine & Spirits

2008 Jaugaret (St. Julien)