Château des Jacques' motto is 'a great wine is a living wine', and indeed this property's wines are some of the most long-lived in the entire Beaujolais region.
When Louis Jadot purchased the château in 1996, both cellars and vineyard were in sorry state and certainly in need of capital to bring them up to standard. The process has been long in the making and quite rightly has been much more evident in the vineyard.
At first, Château des Jacques was managed by Frédéric Burrier, who eventually left to return to his family estate at Beauregard in Fuissé. His place was then taken an old soldier, Guillaume de Castelnau, descendant of the victors of the first battle of the Marne. The aim was to restore this estate to former glories and in this they have been entirely successful. Part of the vineyard has been replanted and pruning has been shortened in order to minimise yields. Ploughing was brought back to give life to the soils and chemical fertilisers, insecticides and herbicides have been replaced by more natural solutions. The result has seen a dramatic rise in quality.
Though Château des Jacques produces wine from several Beaujolais appellations, it is Moulin-à-Vent which has captured the headlines. The estate is a large landowner here with scattered plots across the appellation. Moulin-à-Vent's geology is complex as though the soil is mostly granite, in fact there are variations with more clay in some, more stones and, uniquely in Beaujolais, greater or lesser amounts of manganese. Moreover, exposition is different with some slopes facing fully south, others more south-east and at altitudes that may vary by some 1000 feet.
From the start, the plan for Jadot was to make single-vineyard wines, at least in good vintages and this they have done with Rochegrès at its richest and La Roche maybe at its finest. Jadot also produce a generic blend of the estate's Moulin-à-Vent.
Moulin-à-Vent is the weightiest in style of Beaujolais and the closest in style to Burgundy, because it's made in the same way as a pinot noir from a top vineyard site on the Côte d'Or, with a 20-30 day fermentation followed by partial ageing in French oak. These are wines that invariably get better with ageing. Château des Jacques is now considered among the leaders in Beaujolais and its ambition has had an effect on the rest of the region, encouraging many young growers by showing them what is possible.