Monthly Archives: April 2014

Domaine de la Renardière (Jean-Michel Petit)

Starting today around two or three times a month I will post an excerpt from the Jura Wine Book, often with a small addendum. I will include illustrations too that are either used in the book, or from the photo shoot that I did with Mick Rock of Cephas. All images are fully copyrighted of course, as is the text.

If you have not yet bought the book, I hope this might encourage you to do so – you can find stockists and comments about the book on the new Jura Wine book page.

Domaine de la Renardière – Pupillin, Arbois

Jean-Michel Petit Pupillin

The mural outside Domaine de la Renardière in Pupillin shows Jean-Michel and his wife Laurence. ©Mick Rock/Cephas

He might be running between commitments, but Jean-Michel always offers a twinkly smile together with a straight answer to any question. More than anyone in Pupillin, Jean-Michel has been as much involved in the ‘mother appellation’ Arbois as he has in his own village. AOC Arbois syndicate president for many years, I’ve seen him carrying the Biou in Arbois; he was president of the Percée festival in Arbois in 2011; and he always turns up to greet the media with a regional hat firmly on his head. Somehow, between supporting his village, region and even the young and up-and-coming producers in the appellation, he finds time to produce a consistently lively and eminently drinkable range of wines. Jean-Michel’s stated aim in his brochure is to ‘make music from the mosaic of soils below our feet’, but the imprint on his labels is of a hand – his own, representing the importance of hand-harvesting, lending a hand and much more.

Quite rightly, the vineyards are the focus for Jean-Michel. Growing up in Pupillin (distantly related to the other Petit family in the village) with parents and grandparents who farmed vines and took their grapes to the cooperative, he returned after five years of wine studies and work experience around the world of wine to create his own estate with his wife Laurence. He took over his family’s 2ha of vines and accumulated other vineyards little by little, in various parcels on the different terroirs within Pupillin. He has always believed in working the soil and using only organic fertilizer and, after years working in lutte raisonnée, he made the move to start organic certification in 2012, although he had been using biodynamic preparations 500 and 501 on some of his plots for a couple of years.

The small winery lies on both sides of one of Pupillin’s side roads with an amusing and distinctive colourful mural showing several generations of the family adorning one side. Jean-Michel’s winemaking has always been thoughtful – vinifying the grapes from each plot apart, fermentation using indigenous yeast, and little use of other standard winery interventions. Apart from for Ploussard, he is not likely to go down the no sulphur route, yet he told me that, as with most producers, today he uses around a third of the amount of SO2 than when he started making wine 20 years ago.

Domaine de la Renardière Pupillin

Jean-Michel Petit in front of some of his foudres ©Mick Rock/Cephas

All styles of whites and reds are matured in wood of varying sizes. Reds, including Ploussard, are aged in large foudres – his is the example from this village that I have always found to be one of the most accessible. Yet it is his clear-cut topped-up whites that really sing, starting with the tangy and lemony Savagnin ouillé Les Terrasses, which comes from a steep south-facing terraced plot. From the mid-2000s Jean-Michel has made two Chardonnay cuvées that show the Jura terroir character well – Jurassique is from plots with more limestone and the more profound Les Vianderies is from older vines in a gravelly vineyard with marl below – the latter is aged in both 500-litre and 228-litre barrels.

In his quiet way Jean-Michel has experimented with his range without extending it dramatically as some wineries do, keeping to a modest (for the Jura) 14 different wines. A late-harvest white blend of two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Savagnin was once called Vendange Oublié (‘Forgotten Harvest’ – as it literally was the first time it was made) and has morphed into Les Oubliées, as the labelling fraud squad did not like the original name. The wine is made only in good years and, though usually dry, can be rather over-rich for my taste, but with plenty of intensity of flavour. The usual range of specialities from Crémant through to Vin Jaune, Paille and Macvin are made but account for only a quarter of production, including the Pétillant Naturel called Le Pet de Léo. This was first made by son Léo at 14 years old from a Ploussard vineyard planted in 1993, the year of his birth. Léo has studied wine production at Mâcon and is continuing his education in marketing at Suze-la-Rousse, so this estate should be in safe hands in the future.

Domaine de la Renardière exports account for about a third of sales, but it is the combination of a well-deserved string of medals in French wine competitions and mentions in guides, with a very open and educational approach to welcoming customers at the estate, that keeps his regular French customers returning. For several years each Saturday in June Jean-Michel and Laurence have conducted vineyard tours, followed by a tasting and lunch, an innovative approach for the Jura and something that has helped build up their loyal following. I sincerely hope that they throw a big party to celebrate the quarter-century of their domaine, which is a huge credit to the Arbois-Pupillin appellation, a valeur sûre or safe bet, as they say in France.

Domaine de la Renardière sign ©Mick RockDomaine de la Renardière
Rue du Chardonnay, 39600 Pupillin
Tel: 03 84 66 25 10
Email: renardiere@libertysurf.fr
Contact: Jean-Michel Petit
Established: 1990
Certification: Ecocert
Vineyards: 6.8ha (2.4ha Chardonnay, 1.3ha Savagnin, 1.7ha Ploussard (Poulsard), 0.7ha Trousseau, 0.7ha Pinot Noir)
Visits: Tasting room, visits welcomed by appointment

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Jean-Michel has been promising to publish his own website for some time!

The wines are imported into the UK by Enotria UK and at their trade tasting in February 2014 Brett Jones recorded a short interview with Jean-Michel Petit. Some of the range is available from The Wine Society.

In New York Domaine de la Renardière wines are sold in the Wine Library and at Zachys, among other places. Please feel free to add other stockists in the comments.

 

 

 

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Categories: Jura Wine book excerpts, Producers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Join me with the Jura Book in London, Geneva and Amsterdam

Since the arrival of the printed books in mid-March and dealing with the logistics of sending them out to people from over 25 countries around the world, life has been somewhat exciting. The comments on the book’s quality have been very gratifying after these months of very hard work. Thank you again for all your support in spreading the word.

Jura Wine book by Wink Lorch

If you don’t have it, this is what the cover looks like. Click it to buy!

Wine educator and consultant Richard Bampfield MW wrote on Twitter:

“Thoroughly enjoyed first dip into Jura Wine from @WineTravel. Great knowledge and enthusiasm, refreshed by Wink’s tell-tale sense of fun. “

Wine writer Tom Stevenson wrote on Facebook:

“Just received my copy and I cannot put it down, even though I should be writing copy and clearing my desk for 4 weeks away. It’s not just uniquely informative, but beautifully written. A tour de force Wink!”

Writer and editor Susanna Forbes tweeted:

“Loving the look of your book @WineTravel . Can’t wait to dive in. Love the scene setting & people who matter bits … and photography is inspiring”

And as the book wings its way around the world, I’ve received fine comments from Tokyo, Netherlands, Boston, Australia, California, Ireland and many points in-between. Enough trumpet blowing, there is only left to say that just in time I sneaked in an entry to this year’s Louis Roederer Writers Awards so here’s hoping the judges like it every bit as much.

Jura wine book signing

At Le Nez dans le Vert ©Brett Jones

Signings and presentations
Following a signing baptism in Gevingey in the Jura for the well-worth-visiting organic wine fair Le Nez dans le Vert, my signing skills are now warmed up and I’m looking forward to doing more, especially in English! Several French visitors bought the book, but it was also wonderful to meet so many worldwide fans of Jura wines who had made their way especially to attend this show, and to see their pleasure at being able to delve deeper into what makes these wines what they are.

The wines that I found time to taste from the 30 organic producers at the tasting were ever-better than in previous years. The only worry is the small quantity of wine available and the fact that the vines this year are so far in advance that everyone is now scared of possible spring frost creating a catastrophic 3rd small vintage in a row. Surely this can’t happen?

The Real Wine Fair, Tobacco Dock, London – 13 April (consumers) and 14 April (trade)
The organisers of the Real Wine Fair have offered me a table at which I can sell the books, shared with the publishers of the innovative magazine Noble Rot (by chance, edition #4 will feature the Jura). I will offer the books for 10% off the usual price, so at £22.50 for payment by cash or UK cheque only. If you already have a book, please feel free to bring it along for me to sign. The London Marathon streams nearby on Sunday but don’t let this prevent you from coming to taste a huge selection of mainly organic wines from around the world. There will of course be one or two interesting Jura wines, kindly provided by Doug of Caves de Pyrène, available to taste on our table, so please come by.

I will also be conducting a seminar and tasting of five Jura wines at 3.30pm on Monday afternoon.

Tasting with Wiine.Me in Geneva – 24 April (consumers)
Together with the new Geneva-based wine club Wiine.Me I will be selling the books and offering around five wines to taste during  a convivial evening. The event will take place at Le Comptoir wine bar from 7pm. Contact me for more details.

Jura Wine trade tasting in London – 14 May (trade only)
There will be 20 producers present for the Jura trade tasting at Chandos House. I will be conducting an introductory seminar as last year at 11.30am and at 3pm with seven wines (essential to book). At 1pm we will be raising a glass of Crémant to celebrate the book and I very much hope that some key players who helped with the book will be with me. Contact Mandarin Communications to RSVP.

Tastings and presentations in the Netherlands – 1 and 2 June (mainly trade)
I shall be giving a presentation and tasting for the prestigious Wine and Food Association of the Netherlands after their annual Grand Prix Saint Hubert tasting competition, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Books will be available for sale and signing there. The following day, three key Jura wine importers join together for a small trade tasting of Jura wines in Amsterdam, where I will also be present and giving a presentation. For more information, contact Olivier Schutte of de Geluksdruif.

Jura Wine bookshop

In very good company at Athenaeum, Beaune

Buying the book and reviews
The best place to buy the book for international delivery is on my website Wine Travel Media (but be patient, it may take one or two weeks for delivery depending where you are) – sold at the cover price (plus a small extra for shipping outside Europe), if you buy here this particularly helps support my hard work. Contact me directly for trade purchases of five or more copies.

If you prefer to buy through Amazon, it is currently only on Amazon.co.uk through Marketplace but that is for delivery internationally too – please add a review there if you can. If anyone can recommend a good distributor based in the USA I would be interested in contacting them.

In the Jura wine region the book is now available through local book shops and tourist offices which will attract a wider audience, I hope. And in Beaune it is stocked at the amazing wine book shop Athenaeum, opposite the Hospice.

If you are a writer or blogger who doesn’t already have the book and wants to review it, please contact me to discuss.

And finally, whilst at Le Nez dans le Vert, my long-standing sommelier friend Christophe Menozzi, now at the Château de Germigny came by to see me and joined me for a TV interview for local French TV. You can see the TV clip (in French) here.

 

Categories: Events and Tastings, News | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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