Tremendous Jacky! Visionary founder of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups in Montlouis and Domaine de la Butte in Bourgueil. Your exit from the stage has left us in shock. You, the great music lover, who would hop on a train or a plane to attend your favourite operas, chose to bow out with the discretion and elegance that defined you. The performance was abruptly interrupted, the curtain fell, darkness and silence took over the stage… We are left incredulous … and orphaned! We cannot believe that we will no longer have the pleasure of hearing your smile bursting through your warm voice, savouring your mischievous gaze and the jubilant emotion that filled our bodies and souls as we shared a wonderful glass of Chenin with you… So, let us reminisce about the essence that defined the time we spent together.
We first met in the years following the creation of iDealwine, at the beginning of the 2000s, during the early days of the ‘Salon des grands vins’, which would one day become the ‘Grand Tasting’ under the aegis of the Bettane+Desseauve team. That took place after our first introduction to your wines which swept us, Cyrille and I, off our feet. You had spontaneously decided to open your doors to us. That’s how you were, intuitive, generous, eager to trust with a genuine kindness, since you had actually tested us a little. Each year, at your booth at the Carrousel du Louvre Exhibition, you kept an eye on everything, observing the little flame and enthusiasm in your visitors’ eyes, and delivering a clear and captivating speech with great passion and much patience. You were second to none in welcoming everyone with a smile, a kind word, and a generous gesture. For you kept a number of rare, older, more mature bottles in your precious cooler, which you were only too happy to open and let people taste, with your keen eye rejoicing as you could see our taste buds awaken and our senses marvel.
GENEROSITY AND SHARING
How to best define you? Everything about you was an opportunity to open your doors … and your magnificent bottles. Whenever we would stop by and pay you a visit in Montlouis, time would seem to come to a standstill for us. You welcomed us wholeheartedly, being fully available and present, attentive to your guests, with this warmth, this kindness too, this urge to keep us with you just a little while longer. This willingness to help us to discover and understand your approach towards establishing this domain which you had patiently built up since the end of the 1990s. Hopping in for a ride in your car to walk through each of the parcels acquired over the years was a joy, listening to you recount the tale of each vineyard, a joy. All these places are precious jewels that have gone on to become Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, in Montlouis, and Domaine de la Butte, in Bourgueil. As a dedicated ambassador of Chenin, you had made it your mission to educate as many people as possible about its phenomenal ageing potential. And you were absolutely right to do so! Although you had been unable to keep as many bottles as you would have liked in the early years of your domain, due to economic constraints, you never hesitated to generously open these Montlouis that develop incomparable notes of white truffle with age, caressing our palates with the inimitable body and delicate touch that mark each of your cuvées.
I called you one morning in 2019 to see if you would be willing to welcome our iDealwine team, which we take to vineyards every year to discover the work of a domain. And you threw your doors wide open to us, warning me: ‘Angélique, brace yourself, as your team consists of professionals, I have planned a “plump” tasting…’. I will never forget this adjective! A ‘plump’ tasting, with you, meant that in addition to all the wines from the latest vintage that we were going to try, you had also lovingly selected about thirty bottles for us to taste… An amazing experience of sharing and discovery that will stay with each of us for the rest of our lives, that’s for sure! On this particular occasion, you had agreed to take on the role as the judge, to determine the winner among the finalists of our internal iDealwine tasting competition. Following our lunch, hosted at the Bistrot des belles caves, the restaurant you established in Tours, you took this role very much to heart, eager to pass on your legendary knowledge and, above all, your human experience acquired over the years. I also recall calling you to express our solidarity, one morning, following a severe frost. Your wisdom and your composure struck me. You showed no sign of resignation, but rather a deep inner strength, a confidence in nature, the desire to move forward, to continue, always, to look ahead and create new projects. In recent years, the new generation has certainly been alongside you. You relished the complicity that bound you to your son Jean-Philippe, you praised his talent, his ideas, his ambitions. And me, I loved to call you from time to time, in the morning, around 9 o’clock, and to hear you burst out laughing when I asked you, ‘Did I wake you?” Of course, you had already been hard at work for some time, you the tremendous worker, passionate about your job, eager to pass on your passion, tireless … until this cruel illness which quite literally struck you down…
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups and its Bourgueil offspring, Domaine de la Butte, are thus two signatures that we were eager to introduce to our clients. Even though you had become a leader in your appellation, a role model for your peers, a reference for wine enthusiasts, you always had a word to express your thanks to us, and always found a little wine whenever we put a special request to you. You often told me that we were lucky as your phone was ringing off the hook, that the requests were pouring in … and yet, you always answered, you always found a solution for us, out of loyalty for all these happy and fruitful years of working together. A few words from our team dedicated to you, Jacky, before we conclude our tribute.
THE IDEALWINE TEAM’S THOUGHTS
“A feeling of profound sadness upon hearing this sad news and heartfelt thoughts to your family, your loved ones and those who have been around you for so many years… Jacky Blot left his mark on the wine world with passion and generosity. Thank you for the wonderful tastings we shared at the Bistrot, around a common passion and the most beautiful bottles I have tasted up to now.”
Victorien, Customer relations and former employee of Bistrot des belles caves
“With the passing of Jacky Blot, part of the essence of wine has evaporated: generosity. Arms wide open, a smile barely concealed behind a carefully groomed moustache, a joyful pink polo shirt … that’s how this winemaker greeted the entire iDealwine team in July 2019. Far from being daunted by the idea of hosting 40 people, he offered us his precious time in the vineyards, opened up thirty or so wines for us to taste, from the liveliest to the smoothest and most complex, and treated us to the fine foods of his Touraine table. Generosity, an abstract essence, continues to be present in his wines, which we will now savour with a touch of nostalgia … and a smile, to honour him.’
Constance, Communication and content project manager
“Last November, during a weekend in the Loire, I decided to introduce my friends to Domaine de la Taille aux Loups. As a Chenin aficionado who had already visited the domain twice beforehand, I was all the more eager to introduce my friends to Jacky Blot. The visit was scheduled to last one hour, but we obviously stayed longer, discussing wine and sampling wines together as enthusiasts and neophytes. Three days later, I had an Instagram Live with Jacky and his son Jean-Philippe to talk about Domaine de la Butte. Then another couple of days after that, I visited Jacky’s booth at the Grand Tasting. Looking back, these three meetings in as many days all had one thing in common: the passion and kindness of this great winemaker.”
Victor, Communications and marketing
RAISING A GLASS TO YOUR MEMORY
Today, I still treasure some of the bottles I acquired 10, 15, and 20 years ago, because thanks to you, I know that they are somewhat eternal. Just like you… So, dear Jacky, allow us to raise a glass to your memory, a glass of this radiant Chenin from Clos Mosny that you were so pleased to add to your domain to further refine the definition of your wines, in a beautiful vintage that has already acquired a certain patina … a 2015 perhaps? Or a few drops of the delightful Cuvée des Loups that you only produced during special years, favourable to botrytis, why not a 2005? Or perhaps the dazzling Clos de Venise Vouvray, so vibrant? Not to forget, the unique Triple Zéro whose sharp and fine bubbles are unparalleled, reviving our palates and invigorating our souls, especially in times of grief. We will raise our glasses with a heartfelt thought for your family, your wife Joëlle, your children and grandchildren, to whom we wish all the courage and energy they require to continue on the inspiring path you have laid out. Thank you, Jacky. The entire iDealwine team will never forget you and will continue to reflect on their time with you for many years to come. Your life is fulfilled, Jacky, your work continues: long live your family, your wines and your vineyards.