The World of Wine at an Easy Click
Château Lacour Jacquet
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Since my last interview with Regis, I've been dying to return and enjoy the honesty and good company I've come to expect from Château Lacour Jacquet.
This is an interesting visit because it takes place on the same day that I visited Château Smith Haut Lafitte. It’s about an hour and a half north in an area that lies between the two classic regions of Margaux and Saint Julien, and with neighbours like these, beauty is surely bound to feature in the soil. I'm interested to see how they are weathering the storms that seem to have been hitting the French wine industry in the last couple of years. The triple threat of Covid, the Chinese seeming to lose interest in buying up every vineyard in France, and the young deciding that alcohol is not the beverage of choice for them.
It's an easy place to find, and as I enter the village location I pass by vines that are owned by Lacour Jaquet. Perhaps life is returning to the good times for one of the smaller producers.
I park and there is Regis. He's a man who has the land in his veins and his face tells of honest battles with to produce the best wines he possibly can.
To me, he represents the farmer who farms grapes rather than those who are lucky to be at the top of the pile. It's possible to see the heart of French winemaking in everything he does here.
These are places where the struggle to produce honest wine is constant, and for people like Regis, and Lacour Jacquet, there seems to be a lot to do before the celebrating can start.
He gives me a brief tour and shows me his facility. This is a place where hard work is the norm. In some places I have been, the equipment looks as though it's never been used and is there for the tourists.
We walk around, and end up in his small, approachable, tasting room where we chat for a few moments.
Winefullness: When I first wrote about you, it was before COVID and things seemed good. How’s life been?
Regis: It has been difficult, but the life of a small producer has always been hard and the margins can often be small. If you do not get the balance correct in your wines then that can also add to the problems.
Winefullness: Did the fires, last summer, affect you?
Regis: Not directly, although you were aware of their presence. We avoided things like smoke-taint because the wind was with us and seemed to blow the smoke away from us. They were mostly based in Arcachon which is a little bit away so we were lucky. It seems that nature is warning us to take care of things in a wise way. For Château Lacour Jaquet this means working the land carefully and making sure that one doesn’t just take, one has to give something back.
Winefullness: You’re between the areas of Margaux and St Julien. What does this bring to your wines?
Regis: We are located at an equal distance from both, and are lucky. As a small producer it is possible to work the soil and make the wines the way we wish, which is more carefully than some of the bigger producers who have so much technology that they seem to be apart from the process of making their wines. Here we control the process because we are so hands on.
Winefullness: Which wine is typical of Château Lacour Jaquet?
Regis: I would say that the 2016 is what we wish to achieve with our wines. They are for normal people to drink now with food, and if you taste this wine you will find it a mixture of experiences. It can be easily tasted, it goes well with various food without overwhelming or being overwhelmed. This wine goes well with cheese, but also with one of the local entrecote steaks that we are famous for in Bordeaux.
Winefullness: You are Cru Bourgeois. Would you like to reach Cru Bourgeois Supérieur?
Regis: It took us a few years to go from making wine to becoming Cru Bourgeois, and that meant a lot of effort and time. We won awards during these times, but I feel that the leap to the next level would take even longer, and I would question if it is worth it. If you reach those levels the price of your wines go higher and then you are distant from the reason you first made wine. As I said, I make wine for everybody to enjoy now. I do not make expensive wines that are only tasted once in a while.
The conversation continues in the tasting room and we talk about a wide variety of subjects, including the London agent for his wines and how he hopes that people will come by and enjoy his wines. I feel so guilty for occupying this man's time as I know it is precious to him as he continues to work hard at producing an honest, and enjoyable wine.
What I found with Regis is a passion that makes you want him to succeed. The wines are easy drinkers, but that doesn’t mean they have little going on. I found them very fruit forward and would be enjoyable to open with friends when one wants a good chat but not to lose the thread of conversation because the evening has been hijacked by a surfeit of wine!
If you try one, why not this?
Coming from the Haut-Médoc, this mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot is a lovely surprise to try and will not disappoint.
There's an honesty to the taste that feels very terroir driven. This is a wine that lets its location do the talking with interesting, earthy berries mixing well and leading you into plums, cassis and hints of black pepper.
5 out of 7