Jurassic World Revisited
Now that we have your raptor attention.
It seems like every day there is a sequel to our Jurassic story, but the fact is that Jura is either famine or a snack-on-the-hoof on our list. It is a small region with small growers, who don’t make a heck of a lot of wine, and whatever wine they do make is the subject of considerable demand from all corners of the natural wine world, and that demand has been exacerbated by the recent lack of supply owing to the tiny vintages in 2016 & 2017.
We work with no fewer than fourteen producers in total. Some like Overnoy/Houillon; Kenjiro Kagami (Domaine des Miroirs) and Renaud Bruyère make such small amounts of wine that we receive mere bottles of certain cuvees, which now go exclusively to the wine bars. We make it our aim to buy them and share them with deserving/likeminded wine friends. The wines of Philippe Bornard and Etienne Thiebaud (Domaine des Cavarodes) are now becoming equally sought-after. And rightly so. These wines have also been on allocation, due to the tiny vintages.
Michel Gahier (eloquent Trousseau wines), Marie-Pierre Chevassu (traditional oxidative whites from Chateau-Chalon and glouglou reds) and Daniel Dugois (old-school highly-structured yet clean-lined whites and reds) have also been on our list for many years. As have the wines from J-F Ganevat, which have proliferated into a bewildering array of cuvées and negoce spin-offs (despite this the quality gets better and better).
Whether it is something in the air, the water, or more probably the soil, Jura has been a hub of organic and biodynamic farming and world-renowned for its exquisite naturally-made wines. Much of the credit must go to Pierre Overnoy and then Emmanuel Houillon, latter-day philosopher-vignerons, who proved that if you farm well and you make the wine carefully with long lees-ageing, that you don’t need to add anything. Jura’s relative isolation and traditions also helped to foster a distinctive wine culture. The oxidative/vin jaune styles have set the standard for this style of winemaking. Finally, a lot of growers left and came back, bought themselves tiny parcels of vines (1-2 ha) on the complex mosaic of soils that Jura possesses, and inspired by the very different examples of Overnoy, Eveleyn & Pascal Clairet, Jacques Puffeney and Stephane Tissot (amongst others) are beginning to realise their own potential.
We begin with Patrice Beguet and the delightfully named Orange Was The Colour of Her Dress, a knowing wink to one of his fave jazz musicians, Charlie Mingus. The grapes come from two biodynamically farmed parcels, one is Mesnay, the other in Pupillin, and is pure Savagnin with a slow press. It is rounded and rich with an oak element to add butter to the bread. Back as well are the delightfully pale and oh-so-pretty Ploussard and the more intense spicy/pepper Cote de Feule Ploussard from a mixture of blue, grey and red marls.
2018 Orange Was The Colour
2018 Ploussard “Cote de Feule”
Alexis and Emilie Porteret, both from Jura, created Domaine des Bodines in 2010, when they bought a house in the centre of Arbois which had an adjacent three ha of vines attached to it. They fully converted to biodynamics using preps 500 & 501. The clay-limestone soils are ploughed by horse. Reds are made by layering (whole bunches with stems, bunches without stems, then with stems). No pigeage or remontage, no added SO2. Poulsard is in fibreglass and stainless, Pinot is aged in barrel as is the Trousseau. The wines are beautifully limpid.
2018 Pinot Noir
Julien Mareschal was born in, and grew up in, a village near town of Dole in the Jura region. He purchased this 5.5-hectare-vineyard from another Pupillin vigneron in 2003 and created Domaine de la Borde. He carried out several work placements with Jura-based and also Burgundy-based vignerons such as Xavier Reverchon (Jura) and Maison Ambroise (Premeaux Prissey, Burgundy), Marquis d’Angervillle (Volnay, Burgundy) and Pascal Clairet domaine de la Tournelle (Jura). We will be receiving new vintages of his limestone-inflected Terre du Lias Chardonnay, and a trio of reds including the semi-carbonic Ploussard Cote de Feule and the more structured Pinot Noir Sous La Roche and Trousseau Sous La Roche from steep SW facing slopes.
2017 Terre du Lias Chardonnay
2018 Terre du Lias Chardonnay
2018 Ploussard “Cote de Feule”
2018 Pinot Noir “Sous La Roche”
2018 Trousseau “Sous La Roche”
Jean-Baptiste Menigoz, Les Bottes Rouges, is one of the new wave of natural producers in the Jura. He enrolled in a viticulture course and was eventually taken under the wing of Stephane Tissot in Jura. He started by renting his vines and is slowly buying parcels now, when and where they become available. The Aleas Rouge in 2017 is a blend of Trousseau 50%, Ploussard 25%, Pinot Noir 25% from vines planted between 1978 and 1991. Grapes were destemmed before 20 days of maceration, without extraction. Then careful pressing before continuous fermentation and ageing in stainless steel tanks. This is a mix between all their normal red cuvées, because of the terrible frost in 2017, they were only able to make one wine. The Savagnin B is aged on the lees and has very fine texture.
2017 Savagnin B
2017 Aleas Rouge
Fabrice Dodane took over the reins at Domaine St Pierre in 1989 and started the conversion to organic and biodynamic viticulture. He makes a variety of cuvees including “Burgundian” Chardonnays and lovely semi-carbo reds,
Chardonnay Les Brulées is from white marl and chalk soils and aged for a year in 500-litre used barrels, whereas Chapon is on blue-marls with a southerly exposition. The wines are all natural and topped up. The Melon Queue Rouge Les Dalles from older vines has weighty mouthfeel and the reds have good structure.
2017 Chardonnay Les Brulees
2018 Chardonnay Chapon
2018 Melon Queue Rouge Les Dalles
2018 Ploussard Petit Curoulet
2018 Pinot Noir Les Corvées
Interested in finding more about the wines mentioned? Contact us directly:
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