Posts Tagged With: Mick Rock wine photos

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
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


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.




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

Sneak preview of Jura Wine – the book

Keeping all fingers and toes crossed for no disasters, my book Jura Wine will be published as promised in April 2014, in less than four months’ time – it may even be available at the end of March. Writing and preparing the book for publication has been even harder than I ever imagined, and every stage of the production process is ongoing into the New Year. As I will be printing in Europe, turnaround for that stage is fairly fast.

Preview sample spreads and buy the book in advance
I have created a page about the Jura Wine book on my personal site Wine Travel Media with links to sample pages and the contents. I do hope you like the look of the design – the actual text/photos will change a little in the real thing – but only for the better!

Jura Wine by Wink Lorch

Photos ©Mick Rock, Cephas

You can now order books in advance through my website Wine Travel Media with credit card sales via the WorldPay secure server. The books are available at a 10% discount off the retail price of £25, with free postage within the UK and Europe. Shipping anywhere else is at a discounted £5 per book. Worldpay allows you to choose to pay in US dollars or euros. For multiple orders please contact me directly. The books will be shipped during April at the latest.

Wink Lorch and Raymond Blanc

With Raymond Blanc at the London Jura Wine tasting ©Brett Jones

Raymond Blanc OBE, number one supporter of Franche-Comté
One of Britain’s best-loved chefs, originally from Besançon, capital of Franche-Comté, who has been based in England for more than three decades, Raymond Blanc OBE of the famous Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and the Brasserie Blanc group, has agreed to write the foreword, which I’m delighted about. Raymond came to the London Jura trade tasting in May and he is a big supporter of all the products from his home region. With his Chef Sommelier at Le Manoir, Alain Goubet, he intends to promote Jura wines more in his restaurant next year. Indeed they already serve Château-Chalon Domaine Chevassu-Fassenet by the glass.

A great support team
I could not have got as far as I have in preparing the book for publication, without this great support team.

  • Pat Carroll in Dublin is editing my text and she is rightly a hard taskmaster, with a great eye for detail – she loves wine and has edited many of Tom Stevenson’s books.
  • Mick Rock of Cephas Picture Library, as I’ve written about before, took some wonderful photos on our shoot back in May/June, but also already had a few in his library from earlier visits, and has taken studio shots too. Other photography is coming from Xavier Servolle in Arbois and from my partner Brett Jones. Historical photos are from Philippe Bruniaux of Arbois and from the Fruitière Vinicole d’Arbois among other sources.
  • Quentin Sadler, wine educator and blogger, is creating some splendid maps.
  • Jane Dixon-Smith of JD Smith Design in Cumbria has created the design and is putting the layouts together.
  • Most of all Brett Jones is holding me together so that I somehow keep going.

And of course, the stars of the book, all the vignerons, and people of the Jura and Franche-Comté have been answering my endless questions.

Jura wine photo team

Brett Jones and Annie Rock hold the reflector, and Mick Rock the camera. The subjects: Kenjiro and Mayumi Kagami of Domaine des Miroirs in Grusse

I have not reached the end of this journey yet, but my thanks nevertheless to all those mentioned above, especially for their help and encouragement that I know will once again be forthcoming over the next 6 weeks, with the last push to finish.

Your support please – encourage everyone to buy the book in advance
Your support for the Kickstarter campaign back in April was amazing, thank you again. I have visited the Jura at my own expense more than half a dozen times this year. Expenses, not surprisingly, have been higher than expected and books sold in advance will assist my cash flow, to help pay for the print run.

Keep your eyes out for many Jura wine tastings with me around the world next year – details as and when these are firmed up.

Meantime, may I wish you a lovely time with family and friends over the holiday period and all the very best for 2014.

Categories: News | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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