Q&A: Sébastien Jacquey of Le Clos Jordanne

Sébastien Jacquey is the winemaker at Le Clos Jordanne in Ontario – a partnership between Constellation Brands Canada and Boisset France. He joined the company in 2007 by way of Burgundy via Dijon, the Loire Valley, Corsica and Bordeaux and is responsible for making the estate’s Chardonnays.

Séb Jacquey

Séb Jacquey of Le Clos Jordanne

What factors in your view makes a Chardonnay great?

A cool climate will drive vitality and freshness to help balance a Chardonnay. It’s important to achieve the right level of ripeness and to be respectful to the fruit in the winemaking process in order to get the perfect balance of power, freshness, fruit and oak.

What regions of the world, other than your own, are emerging today as particularly exciting sources of Chardonnay?

The Fingers Lakes in New York have great potential for the development of Chardonnay. Prince Edward County in Eastern Ontario is also able to make great mineral Chardonnays.

What is it about Chardonnay that means it has lasting global appeal?

A few factors can explain the success of Chardonnay over the last few decades. Firstly, its ability to reveal the terroir characteristics throughout Burgundy has been proved and has helped to elevate the grape’s reputation.

Secondly, Chardonnay is a pretty hardy variety and can flourish with ease in many different climates and terroirs. Chardonnay is one of the greatest varieties for expressing terroir – it’s easy to differentiate Chardonnays from different regions around the world as it acts like a mirror onto the individual soils.

Finally, the winemaker has the ability to make different styles of wine with Chardonnay: oaked, unoaked, barrel fermented, mineral rich, fat, sweet. This flexibility has been a major factor in the success of Chardonnay over the years.

We were bombarded with a lot of sweet oaky Chardonnay for many years but consumers have tired of that style, so unoaked Chardonnays are currently in vogue. Most of the Chardonnay producing regions around the world are coming back to the tradition by trying to respect the balance of the wine and revealing a of sense of place in the glass.

Is there winery whose expression of Chardonnay inspires you?

I would have to choose three: Domaine Hubert Lamy in Burgundy, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and Evening Land Vineyards in Oregon.

Do you believe Chardonnay has ageing potential? 

Yes, for sure. Chardonnay has all the necessary criteria for a ageing: structure, a powerful mid-palate, perceptible minerality and good acidity.

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