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Earlier this year, Amanda and I had the great joy of sharing a day with Stephane Tissot in the Jura. As soon as we arrived, Stephane greeted us with the energy of a highschool kid on 2 cans of Red Bull.
Amanda: Oui je parle un peu Francais, mais si c'est possible de parler doucement -
Stephane: No. Sorry. If you like I can speak in English, but slowly I cannot do!
We selected a pair of boots from a large collection of loaners he keeps on hand for visitors, and then jumped in his pickup and took off. It was a whirlwind tour that brought us to every parcel he farms around the town of Arbois. We tried to keep up as he told the entire history of the geological formations of the Jura region while bounding up muddy hills and around medieval towers and stone walls ("You don't get enough exercise in New York!"). Finally, with our heads buzzing with information and excitement, we returned to his cellar. He informed us that we would need at least 2 hours for the tasting. I didn't take him seriously at first, but he wasn't kidding! After tasting Cremants, whites and reds from barrels and bottles, he clapped his hands together and told us it was now time for something special. He brought not one but six different Vin Jaunes to the table - all from the 2011 vintage - and explained how each one was unique in its own right. It was truly an eye (and palette) opening tasting, as I had previously thought of Vin Jaunes as generally interchangeable. Not anymore!
Though we may not be able to (even collectively) match Stephane's energy on this lazy Saturday, we are nonetheless very excited to present this special horizontal of his 2011 Vin Jaunes.
From a vineyard with East exposition on old degraded Lias soil. There's a touch of orange citrus, and a nice balance of rusticity and subtle bitterness, with some cereal character.
The special "W" bottling is aged in used whiskey barrels from Michel Couvreur. Couvreur makes a special whiskey aged in Vin Jaune casks too, in a kind of perpetual collaboration with Tissot. Not as marked by whiskey notes as one might expect, but it nevertheless does lend the Vin Jaune an interesting character.
Soil here is clay from Triassic period, and the parcel is East-facing. It's a great introduction to Vin Jaune, and quite easy to drink.
North-facing parcel on Trias soil. La Vasée is silkier and creamier than Tissot's other Vin Jaunes, and has almost a salty and oily feel. Nice structure, with a subtle nutty and almost whiskey-like finish.
Stephane says the Bruyères is always large. Opulent and classic, open and nutty. In many ways, an archetypal Vin Jaune.
Very fine and delicate, with power and finesse. Sweet on the nose, with some citrus notes. It's a real treat, and a very elegant Vin Jaune.