Nicolas Joly, 2010 Update

It doesn’t seem that long since Nicolas Joly last featured on Winedoctor; nevertheless it was more than a year ago, an update prompted by my tasting of his three wines from the 2007 vintage. My Joly profile received a major overhaul, and in it I paid particular attention to the views of other writers on the wines. This isn’t something I make a habit of on Winedoctor, but with Joly’s wines the opinions are so divergent it is vital that any profile of the man and the estate acknowledge this. Depending on who you read, the wines are either glorious homages to Bacchus or tragic train-wrecks, these seemingly polar-opposite opinions paraphrasing Andrew Jefford or perhaps Clive Coates in the case of the former, and Jacqueline Friedrich or Richard Kelley MW in the case of the latter.

Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

One criticism frequently levied against the wines by the ‘train-wreck’ crowd is that they show signs of oxidation. Joly would dispute this, stating that tasters are confusing oxidation with maturity, and that the tasters simply don’t understand or ‘get’ the wines, but I don’t think this is an appropriate response to experienced tasters and holders of the MW certificate such as those above. Read Kelley’s notes and you can sense the experience, thinking and consideration that lies behind them. Admittedly, many of my own experiences have been positive, but that is hardly surprising; if the problem here is random oxidation, with the restricted addition of sulphur in the cellar a possible culprit (perhaps compounded by cork variation) then there will always be some good bottles (which have come my way it seems) and some bad ones too. In addition, oxygen takes time to carry out its destructive work, and many of my recent experiences are dominated by tastings of very youthful samples poured by Virginie Joly. Not only are these bottles too young to show the oxidative degeneration that might await them, they are naturally screened before pouring; this is certain to improve my hit rate of good bottles.

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