Saturday Tasting 2-5pm
Come by tomorrow for a special tasting of five exceptional wines from the Jura & Savoie regions of France. We welcome Wink Lorch, who, as Paul likes to say, "literally wrote the book on Jura wine." She is also an avid skier and resident of the Savoie. Wink take us through the line up, answer questions and animate her book, Jura Wine, available for purchase.
Wink's project continues to substantially broaden our understandings of France's eastern mountain regions. Her book is the first English language publication devoted to the wine from the Jura, an area of low mountains and one of the smaller, most intriguing wine regions of France. It gives well-researched, comprehensible and lively profiles of virtually every producer in the area. It may be read all at once or equally well-enjoyed as a reference. I love having a copy in the shop to pour through periodically, or to pull off the shelf when we need the chronicle of a specific producer. The book is also a necessity for planning a trip full of good eating, drinking and exploring in the region.
Like the best culture writers, Wink effortlessly integrates description and commentary. Her writing speaks about the larger traditions and trends of Jura winemaking by sticking closely to the contours of individual people and places. Keenly diplomatic in her approach, Wink does justice to an incredible diversity of vinicultural styles and practices. Her next publication will explore the higher mountain wines of the Alps, another under appreciated but remarkable region.
On top of how cool it is to have Wink here, these are simply some of the best wines and finest producers we represent.
Finally, we wanted to include Dominique Belluard's 2015s in this tasting, but quantities are so small it might have been a mean tease. The following wines are available- please let us know what you'd like to reserve.
Grandes Jorasses - $46
Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee Altesse. Original vines from the Dupasquier family.
Le Feu - $55
Le Feu (the Fire) comes from steep, bright red, iron-rich clay slopes of high altitude vines. This is Dominique's only single-parcel Gringet cuvée and considered his top wine.
Mont Blanc - $51
This sparkling Gringet spends three years on the lees. A deceptively rich and textured wine that ages beautifully, retains delicate aromatics.
Onto the Tasting!
Domaine de l'Octavin, Foutre d'Escampette 2014 - $26
Alice and Charles Bouvot are the proud proprietors of 5 hectares of vines in the Arbois region of the Jura. They started their domaine in 2005 with just 2 hectares and over the years have bought small plots and slowly increased their production. Some of our favorite winery visits are with Alice and Charles and their adorable sons. On top of their warmth, the vineyards are equally as vibrant.
This Chardonnay pet nat has shown incredible complexity thanks to the longevity Octavin's traditional whites are known for. This is the same mature-vine fruit as their still Chardonnay bottling called Pamina.
Since 2009 all L’Octavin wines are "pur jus", with no additives whatsoever. The grapes are destemmed by hand and fermented without the use of SO2, cultured yeasts, or other additives. Most of the wines are fermented and aged in fiber glass or steel tanks, but only at the ambient temperature of the cave.
Domaine des Marnes Blanches, Savagnin en quatre vis, 2014 - $36
The Sud Revermont area of the Jura has become a small hub for terroir-driven, natural wines that more than titillate the palate. Beginning with the renowned Jean-Francois Ganevat, the philosophy for making wines of nature spread to his neighbors Peggy and Jean-Pascal Buronfosse who started their domaine in 2000, and to the nearby village of Saint Agnès where Geraud and Pauline Fromont began Domaine des Marnes Blanches in 2006.
Their domaine covers 10 hectares of vines (some of them being around 100 years old!) spread across three towns in the southern part of the Côtes du Jura AOC: Cesancey, Vincelles, and Ste-Agnès. Cesancey was their first acquisition and is home to the white marl soils for which the domaine is named.
The Fromonts have two cellars on their property, one dedicated to ouillé (topped-up) wines, the other to the traditional sous voile wines the Jura is known for. The former is a newer facility, filled with stainless steel tanks and neutral casks of various sizes. The latter is a 200-year-old farmhouse that they have converted into a three-story cellar that also contains their tasting room. Windows on each end allows for warm air to pass through each level in the summer, and different levels of humidity on each floor make for conditions that flor can flourish in.
En quatre vis is ouille, neatly rendering that silky texture the Savagnin grape possesses. The wine has beautiful non-fruit character, like some cool metallic sea tones. It's their Chardonnay's enchanting siren older sister.
Jean-Yves Peron, Les Barrieux 2012 - $36
Jean Yves Peron is an intrepid natural winemaker in the Alpine town of Chevaline in the Haute-Savoie. A native of the Haute-Savoie, he attended university in oenology and biochemistry at Bordeaux before taking up winemaking. He encountered his first wine made without sulfur while working at Willakenzie in Oregon. He returned to his family home in Chevaline, a large farmhouse with a cheese room and adjacent pastures with their contended cows, in the early 2000s; his first vintage was 2004. His vines are a few kilometers from Chevaline near the town of Albertville and rest at 400-500 meters.
Les Barrieux is Jean-Yves' blend of Jacquere and Roussane. The Jacquere lightens the blend, while the Roussane imparts a precise, floral quality to the wine. This wine is the richer, more structured papabear to his other whites.
Jean-Yves’ wines have a very particular character. All undergo some carbonic maceration and a regime of pigeage and skin maceration. "Pigeage" is the term for punching down the cap of grape skins that forms on top of the wine during fermentation, a process that imparts color and tannins to the wine. All the wines are aged in Bordeaux barrels, generally six months for the whites. Jean-Yves likes the effect of oxygen on his wines. He generally bottles without any sulfur, and has been known to bottle the whites before all the deposits have settled to the bottom of the barrel.
Domaine Ardoisieres, Argiles rouge 2015 - $42
This domaine was planted during Roman times before becoming overgrown with forest. A passionate group of supporters cleared the vineyard in 1998 and began piecing the steep terraces back together to create Domaine des Ardoisieres. Since 2005, Champagne native Brice Omont has taken over the winemaking and is now considered one of the most exciting producers in France. Only recently have they been imported into the US.
The domaine’s 17 acres of vineyards are planted on steep, rocky slopes high above the town of Freterive. The entire production is sourced from two single vineyard sites: Cevins and St. Pierre de Soucy. The domaine produces five different cuvées (three white, two red) using the area’s unique varietals, including Altesse, Jacquère, Mondeuse, Gamay and Persan. The domaine has employed biodynamic principles in the vineyard since the vines were planted. The reds are produced without any de-stemming, and all the wines are fermented with native yeasts.
Brice’s wines are brilliantly unique, capturing the stony and mineral character of the vineyard terraces, and possessing an amazing crystalline purity. Drinking these wines from the side of Mont Blanc is like tasting freshly squeezed juice running off a glacier.
2015 Argile Rouge is made of 80% Gamay and 20% Persan. The wine then spends nine months in three- to five-year-old barrels before bottling. It is a touch smoky on the nose with red raspberry compote, pomegranate seeds, with a bright, lean and mineral palette.
We have Argiles blanc in house as well, and have access to other wines from Ardoisieres - please inquire if you'd like.
Louis Magnin, Mondeuse Arbin, 2011 - $34
The Savoie village of Arbin is home to the fascinating Mondeuse grape. Domaine Louis Magnin devotes 55% of its eight hectares to Mondeuse, all planted within the confines of Arbin in the sector known as the “Combe de Savoie”. Another 30% of the vineyards are devoted to the Roussanne grape, known locally as “Bergeron”, all of which are situated in the neighboring village of Montmélian, equally renowned for its affinity to the Bergeron. The remaining 15% of the holdings are planted to Altesse and Gamay.
Louis and his wife, Béatrice, are dedicated to organic viticulture, with certain parcels are treated according to biodynamic principles. The vineyards generally face south-southeast and are planted on steeply-sloping hillside sites the soil of which is a clay and limestone mix with an overlay of scree. Almost all vineyard work must be done by hand.
Jean-Francois Ganevat, Vin Jaune, 2004 - $95
This classic cuvée is produced from several parcels scattered about Arbin. The grapes are destemmed before crushing. The period of maceration can last for as long as 12 days with daily pigeage in the first days. The elevage is principally in stainless steel but a small percentage is left to age in older barrels. The Mondeuse “Classique” is a rustic wine with a slight smokiness to the nose, herbaceous and spicy on the palate and marked by gentle tannins in the finish.
At this point I've already needed to mentioned Ganevat, showing the significance of the domaine to Jura wine at large. We don't receive much of the remarkable cuvees he makes, but we've hoarded some Vin Jaune from the 2004 vintage.
Known as “Fanfan” to his friends, Jean-François’ wines have occupied the better part of la Combe, filling picturesque country cottages with barrels and barrels of his diverse yet traditional wines. He comes from a long line of winegrowers, dating as far back as 1650, although the family supplemented their grape growing with a dairy that produced milk destined for the local cheese, Comté, until 1976. After working both for his father and for the prestigious Domaine Jean-Marc Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet, Jean-François returned to the Jura in 1998 to take over the family domaine.
Literally translated as yellow wine, Vin Jaune is one of the rarest of French wines, representing less than 5 percent of the production of the Jura. Its complex, distinctive flavor, marked by notes of pine resin, curry, citrus, nuts, salt and anis, is unforgettable. Vin Jaune is aged sous voile like other traditionally made white wines of the Jura. This involves leaving the wine in a partially filled wooden barrel after fermentation — for six years, in the case of Vin Jaune. A film of yeast forms on the surface of the wine, protecting it somewhat from oxidation, which would impart musty flavors if it were allowed to proceed unchecked.
Sherry is made in a similar way, and develops similarly nutty aromas, but sherry is fortified with distilled spirits, an ally against the effects of age, yeast and oxygen. Most unfortified wines would be too fragile to handle this regime on their own, but Savagnin is uniquely unwavering.
*We can only afford (actually we can't really afford to, but we're doing it anyway) to open one of these 375ml bottles - try to arrive early if you'd like a taste!
We hope you will join us!
As always, if you can't make it to the tasting but would like to order one of the featured wines, please let us know by replying to this email or calling the store directly at 773-486-4769.