(Photo Courtesy of Clos du Jaugueyron website)

Living in the Médoc: Clos du Jaugeuyron

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If you’re familiar with Clos du Jaugueyron, you know that winegrower Michel Théron focuses on a style of Bordeaux that is deliciously fresh. He intentionally makes wines that can be enjoyed young. But on the same note, all the Jaugueyron wines that I’ve tasted display a healthy flavor and structure that would surely allow for long cellaring and development.

Théron arrived in Bordeaux to study winemaking in the late 80s when he was 20 years old. His parents and their vines were in Minervois, and he was likely to return there after his studies. Things changed when he fell in love with a Bordelais woman named Stephanie. He wouldn’t move home and the two eventually married. He also admits to having found a firm admiration for the Médoc. He saw through the grand châteaux and the brands of big business. The Médoc, as Jaugueyron’s website puts it, is “between woods, estuary, ocean, and deep gravel in which the vines plunge.” This appreciation for the environment, its beauty and its natural vivacity, has been integral to Théron’s farming and winemaking. 

Théron’s wines are self-described as “living.” He relies on the inherent energy and character of the Médoc’s ecosystem and of his grapes. In a region infamous for manipulation, Théron is an exception, sealing his commitment to ethical practices in 2008 with Demeter certification. But since his initial purchase of vines in 1993, he has never used chemicals in the fields. Viewing photos of his vineyards, you see grass and flowers dispersed amongst the classic Bordeaux gravel. In the cellar, his grapes go into tank whole-cluster (to ensure a light extraction) and are fermented with indigenous yeasts. After fermentation, elevage in oak is implemented, with percentages of new wood depending on the classification of the bottling - though he always keeps it limited. This lasts for about 12 months. Lees are stirred to enhance the textural finesse of the wine. 

Clos du Jaugueyron, with Michel Théron at the helm, is a producer carrying Bordeaux into the modern wine market, where large pockets of consumers are focused on immediate drinkability and organic/biodynamic practices. However, he has a strong connection to the Left Bank, and he produces wines of strength and potential for lengthy aging. More than anything, it seems Théron wants those that buy his wines to taste the vitality of the Médoc, the land he earnestly appreciates. David Hatzopoulos 

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Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2014 Margaux

The Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux is Michel Théron's top wine and a monument to traditional, old-school winemaking. The blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from his parcel of old vines with some Merlot and a bit of Cabernet Franc planted on sand and gravel. All of his parcels are biodynamically farmed and he has never used synthetic treatments of any kind. This unfailing attention to detail in the vineyard carries over to his cellar work, which is precise and masterful. The wine is aged mostly in new wood for up to 18 months before spending another year resting in cuve. The 2014 is built to age but shows wonderfully hedonistic aromas already. Complex notes of sage, violets, and campfire mingle with graphite, coffee, and dark chocolate on the nose. The palate offers powdery, mouth-coating tannins, bright acidity, and cool mineral inflections beneath supple flavors of bitter chocolate, thyme, and plum. Decant 1-2 hours if drinking now or hold for 5-8 years (at least). Amanda Bowman

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  • red
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  • $111.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2015 Margaux

One of the geniuses of Margaux, Michel Théron produces beautiful, thoughtful wines from lively vineyards in the Medoc on Bordeaux's left bank. Unlike most of the production in that region, Théron avoids the use of chemicals in his vineyard and cellar, creating bright but serious wines. The Margaux sees the most new oak out of all the Jaugueyron cuvées, but it is not the primary detail of whats in the glass.

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  • red
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  • $124.99

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  • $249.99

Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2015 Haut-Medoc

Michel Théron's 2015 Haut-Médoc is remarkably terroir-driven yet approachable in its youth, even in this ripe vintage. The blend is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc from the classic gravel and sandy soils of the Médoc. Michel's vineyards are farmed using strict organic and biodynamic methods and his precise work in the cellar elevates each variety for a pure expression of Haut-Médoc. He uses up to 25% of new oak which is well integrated and lends structure without dominating. Aromas of crushed violets, saddle leather, and spiced red cherry cascade on the nose. The palate is supple with grippy tannins, flavors of ripe plum, game, brown spice, and dark chocolate on the finish. A lovely wine that should be decanted if drinking now but will evolve over the next decade. Amanda Bowman

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  • red
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  • $48.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2015 Haut-Medoc 1.5 L

Michel Théron's 2015 Haut-Médoc is remarkably terroir-driven yet approachable in its youth, even in this ripe vintage. The blend is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc from the classic gravel and sandy soils of the Médoc. Michel's vineyards are farmed using strict organic and biodynamic methods and his precise work in the cellar elevates each variety for a pure expression of Haut-Médoc. He uses up to 25% of new oak which is well integrated and lends structure without dominating. Aromas of crushed violets, saddle leather, and spiced red cherry cascade on the nose. The palate is supple with grippy tannins, flavors of ripe plum, game, brown spice, and dark chocolate on the finish. A lovely wine that should be decanted if drinking now but will evolve over the next decade. Amanda Bowman

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  • red
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  • $89.99

Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2015 Margaux Nout 1.5 L

This cuvée from Michel Théron is from some of his younger vines (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot) in Macau and sees 50% new oak. However, like all he produces, this bottle isn’t incoherently dense. There is a taut and assertive medley of black and red fruit on the nose, with a unique salty spark. The palate is spicy, with cassis and pepper, and savory, with jerky, miso, and mint. This wine should be experienced while youthfully bright, but it is formidable, with a hearty character that will continue to evolve over the next 15 years or more. (David Hatzopoulos)

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  • red
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  • $139.99

Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2015 Margaux Nout

This cuvée from Michel Théron is from some of his younger vines (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot) in Macau and sees 50% new oak. However, like all he produces, this bottle isn’t incoherently dense. There is a taut and assertive medley of black and red fruit on the nose, with a unique salty spark. The palate is spicy, with cassis and pepper, and savory, with jerky, miso, and mint. This wine should be experienced while youthfully bright, but it is formidable, with a hearty character that will continue to evolve over the next 15 years or more. (David Hatzopoulos)

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  • red
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  • $69.99

Clos du Jaugueyron (Théron) 2015 Margaux Petit Jaug

The Petit Jaug (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot) is made with fruit from the Petit Jaugueyron parcel in Margaux, planted with younger vines than the adjacent Grand Jaugueyron parcel. Together these two make the Clos du Jaugueyron, which is a true clos (or walled-in vineyard). This bottle seemed to be the most subtle when enjoyed alongside the other wines of Michel Théron. Although the bottle took its time, it mysteriously danced rather than walked into a sophisticated state. By the last glass, smoky aromas of spiced red and black fruit paired with flavors of coffee, cocoa, and healthy earth. The fruit on the tongue matured to woodsy plum and raspberry. Let this bottle air for longer than you might think necessary, and you’ll be rewarded with an elegant wine. (David Hatzopoulos)

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  • $57.99