Posts Tagged With: Domaine de la Pinte

A Spring in the Jura’s step

A decade ago, when I wrote each year for the late-lamented annual guide, Wine Report, I was hard-pressed to find news in the Jura. Back then there was nothing much to report unless it was a little local argument between a producer and the wine authorities on labelling. Today I am hard-pressed to keep up with changes and developments, as well as forthcoming tasting events (see below).

Jura vignerons

All the vignerons at Le Nez dans le Vert, captured by Jerome Genée

Most, but not all, of the changes concern producers retiring and handing over the baton to the next generation, or new producers coming in, the latter particularly in the vibrant organic sector. Having attended Le Nez dans le Vert tasting in Paris in November, I came back for their annual tasting in the Jura in March, where there were even more discoveries to be made. Stéphane Tissot and Jean-Etienne Pignier have taken over managing Le Nez dans le Vert, the informal group of Jura organic growers, from Bruno Ciofi (it takes two to replace this ball of energy). They introduced the show by saying the Jura was the most organic region in France with around 17% of vineyards certified, producing 1 – 1.2 million bottles.

Arbois Domaine RatteI made a point of tasting with the newcomers to the group. Guillaume Gilet started his tiny 1.5-hectare Arbois estate Les Donneurs de Temps in 2012 following wine studies and a decade working around France for different organic producers. He has taken on various organic parcels and applied for official organic conversion status in 2014. His winemaking is super-natural and what I tasted gave hit and miss results – as they say in French, à voir (we will see). Also from Arbois is Michel-Henri Ratte, who farms 9 hectares and was previously part of the Arbois fruitière (wine co-operative). His estate is certified biodynamic and a taste of the 2015, the first vintage that he has made himself with wines bottled especially early for the show, were very promising, especially the reds. I look forward to finding out much more about this estate with a visit soon. Eric Thill, a grower with vineyards in Gevingey in the Sud Revermont, who appeared in my book, has also joined the group. His particular style, influenced by his Alsace origins, won’t suit everyone, but his wines are very clean – his wines are fully certified organic from the 2015 vintage.

Among other producers, I was not surprised to find several more experimental macerated white wines (orange-style) including a Savagnin 2015 from Domaine de la Pinte with very good potential, and from 2014 Savagnins from both Domaine des Bodines (Alexis Porteret) and Domaine Hughes-Béguet.

Domaine Buronfosse Jura

Jean-Pascal and a photo of his wife Peggy Buronfosse. © Brett Jones

But, the most enjoyable part of the tasting was discovering the quality of many of the 2015 reds, some bottled, others still in tank or barrel. The Poulsards in particular are tasting delicious – highlights were from Hughes-Béguet, La Pinte, Les Dolomies (Céline Gormally with her cuvée ‘A la Tienne Robert!’ serenely serving wines with her young baby – no. 3 – in a sling), Ratapoil (Raphaël Monnier) and Bodines. A barrel sample of Stéphane Tissot’s cuvée DD 2015 with one third each of Pinot, Poulsard and Trousseau, macerated for three months partly in concrete eggs and partly in wooden foudres, was delicious with great potential after what for me was an unsuccessful 2014. His Trousseau ‘15, aged in amphora, was also delicious – both are due to be bottled soon. Finally, 2014 white wines from the classic Sud Revermont domaines of Labet, Buronfosse, Miroirs (Kenjiro Kagami) and Champ Divin were tasting, well, quite divine. This really is a land of pristine, characterful and simply top-class Chardonnays.

Jerome Genée's Instants de VignesA table of books on sale was brightened by my book’s yellow cover and I was one of two authors present for signing, the other being the very modest photographer Jerome Genée. His beautiful book on biodynamic wine producers in the Jura, Instants de Vigne, was published at the end of last year. You can buy it direct from Jerome Genée’s website. In French, the text explains biodynamic practices as well as being lushly illustrated with photographs – it features Stéphane Tissot and Domaines Pignier, De la Pinte and Bourdy.

UK Jura events and tastings
At Tobacco Dock in London, The Real Wine Fair takes place on Sunday 17th (consumers/trade) and Monday 18th (trade/press only) April and this year there will be three Jura vignerons present – Julien Mareschal of Domaine de la Borde, François Rousset-Martin and … wait for it … Jean-François Ganevat on a rare visit to England. On Monday at 3.30pm I will be running a seminar, hopefully with Julien joining me, called ‘The Jura is In’ discussing what makes Jura currently the darling of sommeliers and indie wine shops.

Domaine de la Pinte will be at the other big natural wine event in London, The Raw Fair, that takes place on May 15th and 16th at the Old Truman Brewery in Spitalfields, London. On the subject of La Pinte, the big news is that this domaine’s director, Bruno Ciofi will be leaving later this year after several months of handover to his successor Samuel Berger, who worked at a biodynamic estate in the Languedoc. For the 2016 vintage Bruno is heading to the Loire to be with his girlfriend, Virginie Joly – he won’t be working at her family’s Coulée de Serrant estate, but will be joining Marc Angeli as partner in La Ferme de la Sansonnière in Anjou.

Tasting line-up for Paviors' Jura wine dinner ©Paviors

Tasting line-up for Paviors’ Jura wine dinner © Paviors

I conducted a Jura tasting and dinner for the Pavior’s wine circle in London recently, which was a huge success with a maximum capacity group of 40 present to learn about the region, many for the first time. At the dinner I was able to wear my new award with pride – a medallion showing that I have become an ‘Ambassadeur des Vins Jaune’, only the second foreigner to be so awarded. The ceremony took place at a dinner before the Percée du Vin Jaune festival in February. For anyone who is a member of the prestigious new wine club in London, 67 Pall Mall, I shall be hosting a tastingAmbassadeur des Vins Jaune - Wink Lorch dinner there on 5th May… oh, and I may wear my medallion – after all there should be at least two Vins Jaunes and I did have to promise, ‘through my words, writings and deeds to be a worthy
ambassador of Vins Jaunes’.

The annual Jura wine trade tasting that usually takes place in May has this year been pushed back to early November, when an event will take place together with the Comté cheese promotional organisation. Details will be announced soon.

Stephane Tissot Ten BellsUS events and tastings
The annual Jura wine producers US road show takes place next week. Yet again I was not invited to accompany them to present the seminars, to the disappointment of many vignerons, but it is out of their hands apparently – the tastings are organised by a Canadian PR company, who like to employ one of their own, who has visited the Jura once, I believe… The dates/locations are Monday 18th April in San Francisco, Tuesday 19th in Los Angeles (a first – and note that I have a new book stockists in the city – Lou Wine Shop) and on Thursday 21st in New York. There will be an excellent turnout of 20 producers, some there for the first time. Look out for tiny organic producer Domaine Wicky (represented by the delightful Christelle Wicky), also a chance to meet one of the new management of Domaine Grand, Nathalie, wife of  Emmanuel Grand, and the up-and-coming André-Jean Morin of Domaine de la Touraize. To attend email Emilie Athot-Robitaille.

Some of the established estates with importers will be hosting separate tastings. One fine-looking example is at The Ten Bells in Downtown New York on Wednesday 20th April with Stéphane Tissot.

Arbois restaurant changes
As already announced, Maison Jeunet has re-opened after the departure of Jean-Paul Jeunet, with chef Steven Naessens in charge – he has taken over the hotel-restaurant with his wife, and they have taken on Stéphane Planche as wine buying director. Meanwhile, Thierry Moyne has also hung up his chef’s apron and sold La Balance to his ‘second’, Maxime Montibert, who before joining Thierry had worked at Jean-Paul Jeunet.

Wine glasses Aux Docks, JuraMeantime, in the centre of the little town, after a superb restoration of one of the old buildings on the square, a new restaurant has opened – Brasserie Aux Docks. It is a brasserie in the sense that they also have a bar and serve both breakfast and platters of meat, cheese or oysters (in season) out of lunchtime-hours, however for lunch and dinner the style is more bistrot, with a choice of four or five dishes for each course. On my two visits I’ve found the cooking to be excellent and the décor is refreshing. I need to express an interest. I have created their Jura wine list for what they call the ‘grande carte’ – there is a smaller wine list for those in a hurry, which I’ve not been entirely responsible for. The main wine list includes around 100 Jura wines from 40 producers including some real gems –  you can scroll down the list of wines on their website. The selection reflects my book, including both organic and non-organic producers, however there is even a short selection of natural wines, and I persuaded some vignerons to release a few bottles from the great 2005 vintage – if you are visiting Arbois, tell the staff you know me!

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Categories: Events and Tastings, News | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jura wines resemble their owners

The recent wine fairs in London along with the Jura organic tasting that I hosted for bloggers, gave a chance to taste Jura wines out of context, always a different experience to tasting in the region. Wines from Jura already show so many facets in terms of the many wine styles made, and increasingly I find that, even more than in other regions, the wines reflect their makers, somewhat like dogs resembling their owners.

Wines from six producers were available to taste in London recently over the three fairs, RAW (The  Artisan Wine Fair), the Real Wine Fair and the professionals-only London International Wine Fair (LIWF).  At my Jura tasting evening I shared three or four wines from each of the five producers showing at the RAW and Real fairs, with three of the producers present and was able to taste further wines on their stands at the fairs.

Maison du Vigneron – Playing a vital role
At LIWF I tasted four wines from estates owned in Jura by Grand Chais de France, one of the biggest wine companies in France, and indeed in the Jura. As Henri Maire’s influence in the region wanes, the role of this producer is important, especially for those growers who are not part of a cooperative and need to sell their grapes (some of these use part of their crop to make their own wines, others none). La Maison du Vigneron (Grands Chais’ Jura business) produces a large amount of very decent Crémant du Jura under various labels (including Marcel Cabelier, and Pierre Michel in the UK), and they are the biggest exporter of the region. For their Crémants most grapes are purchased, but the company also owns several estates, and may well invest in others in future.

Vin JauneThe two established estates are Domaine de Quillot and Domaine de Savagny. From the latter I tasted a Chardonnay, a Poulsard and a Vin de Paille, all AOC Côtes du Jura. They were well balanced wines, long and typical for the southern part of the Jura region, very sound, like a familiar labrador. The standout wine was the sublime Château-Chalon 2002 (a vintage I love for Vins Jaunes) from a family estate that Maison du Vigneron purchased quite recently, Domaine Durand Perron. I have yet to find out what plans they have for this estate, but having visited the vineyards a few years ago with the owner, I would say potential is very high.

Jura in the Raw and The Real Deal
I hope that the five organic Jura producers at RAW and REAL felt their time in London was well spent, as it was great to see them here. On the page where I described the London organic Jura wine evening (which will stay on this site) I have profiled each one briefly, and here are some thoughts about their wines, as they tasted in London this month.

Bruno Ciofi at RAW ©Wink Lorch

The most traditional of the five was Domaine de la Pinte, and at the tasting its two oxidative wines, the Cuvée Automne (a Savagnin/Chardonnay blend) and the Arbois Vin Jaune 2004 reflected its substantial plantings of Savagnin and good cellar conditions for maturing these wines. But, I sense general manager Bruno Ciofi is champing at the bit (do dogs do that?), and I think this estate will progress and innovate in the future. Their wines were, I heard, much appreciated at the recent trade tastings in Chicago and Canada.

#JuraWineUK

Jean-Etienne Pignier with Fabio and Wink at Adiva ©Brett Jones

Jean-Etienne Pignier was let off the leash for his trip to London and it was fun to meet a member of this conservative family, away from home, so full of energy, bounce and optimism! Stars in our tasting were the Crémant and a gorgeous Vin de Paille (always one of my favourites of this style), but also I know many who went to RAW mentioned the GPS, a no-sulphur-added vineyard blend of Chardonnay (which in Jura used to be called Gamay Blanc), Poulsard and Savagnin. Domaine Pignier has begun to seek out more markets, and I will be excited to see this estate find a UK importer, having recently begun exporting to the USA.

Domaine de l'Octavin

Alice Bouvot at REAL ©Brett Jones

Charles Dagand and Alice Bouvot are, relatively speaking, the puppies of the group and their somewhat cloudy Domaine de l’Octavin wines appealed to the new generation of natural wine lovers in London. Of the wines at our tasting, the Savagnin 2011 had a grape juice purity and lightness about it that many enjoyed, more suitable perhaps for a picnic à deux in a long grassy meadow than with Turkish/Lebanese food in a dark, dusky restaurant. Their Pet’Nat frothy sparkling, named The Péteux which they had on show at RAW is on sale at the little, trendy wine shop and Jura champion 259 Hackney Road.

Bornard of Jura

Philippe Bornard with friend at REAL ©Arnold Waldstein

Up to now, the wines of Philippe Bornard have been somewhat of an enigma to me, but the distinctive fox labels seem to have travelled well to London, and Philippe (the terrier of the group?) had a winning smile on his face at RAW as well he might. The three wines at our tasting, a Poulsard, Chardonnay and Savagnin all with no added sulphur at bottling, showed depth and style on the night, as did tastes from the leftover bottles on several subsequent nights. Perhaps the terrier has made me a convert to his terroir wines.

Evelyne of Tournelle

Evelyne Clairet at REAL ©Arnold Waldstein

Finally, some sophistication in the form of the beautifully groomed Evelyne Clairet, who came to the early part of our tasting and engaged several people in conversation with her usual good grace and elegance. The Domaine de la Tournelle wines, from Evelyne and her husband Pascal, shone brightly for me at the tasting, with the irresistibly drinkable l’Uva Arbosiana Ploussard easing the stresses of the organisation of the evening, and then the lemony and mineral Savagnin being thoroughly enjoyed by several of us later with the meal. Chardonnay Les Corvées reflects its owner in its sophisticated if earthy character.

Several who attended the organic evening at the BYO Adiva Restaurant plan to post their thoughts. I shall add links here as and when they do.

 

Categories: Events and Tastings, Producers | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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