Nothing says fall like a glass of Trousseau...

The Pope and Friends…

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Once in the recent past, we didn’t buy Puffeney. We wanted to make room for some new faces in the Jura. If it were up to some of us, we’d allow the Jura section of our store slowly to expand, spilling over into Burgundy, the Rhône, Alsatian Riesling, etc… until the fabulous vignerons of the Jura attain the status of wine world domination, imaging, of course, that wine world domination consists of taking up ample shelf space at Chambers Street Wines. I digress. When we didn’t buy Puffeney, we heard an outcry on the part of our customers. “We want Puffeney! Bring back The Pope of the Arbois!” So, for those of you who spoke up during the Puffeney hiatus, the pope is back! And with him, his neighbor in Montigny-lès-Arsures, the shyly brilliant Michel Gahier, and a new grower, recently arrived in the New York market: Mickaël Crinquand of Domaine Overnoy-Cinquand (only distantly related to Pierre).    

We’ll keep the overview of these wonderful growers short. Jacques Puffeney is one of the first Jurassians to grace the shelves and wine lists of American shops and restaurants. His wines are made very traditionally; vinification and aging take place in old barrels, and the white wines are, for the most part, aged in the traditional manner, under a thin layer of yeast called voile. The wines are quite structured with firm mineral backbones and high acidity; they will benefit from time in the cellar. We are longtime fans of Puffeney’s super-mineral Poulsard “M,” and his Trousseau from the “Bérangères” vineyard is truly a tour de force.

Several years ago, Puffeney was joined in the Neal Rosenthal portfolio by Michel Gahier, and Gahier’s wines have delighted us ever since. For the most part lighter and more feminine in style than Puffeney’s wines, Gahier’s Ploussard and Trousseau are eminently, deliciously drink-able young and - we’d even go so far as to suggest - good for drinking while you wait for your Puffeney to come ‘round. We also offer Gahier’s sous-voile Chardonnay “Fauquettes,” a wine that has great potential to age (I’m happy to confirm having tasted older bottles in Gahier’s cellar last spring).

Our first encounter with the wines of Overnoy-Crinquand has been a pleasant one. This Domaine is based in Pupillin, the red marl and limestone soils of the village giving distinct minerality to this grower’s Ploussard and Trousseau. It’s a five hectare Domaine, the history of which dates back to the 17th Century. The current proprietor, Mickaël Crinquand, works with very small plantings of older vine Ploussard, Trousseau, Chardonnay, and Savagnin. Certified organic since the 1970s, Crinquand encourages biodiversity in the vineyard. Grapes are manually pressed, and fermentation takes place with natural yeast. All in all, this is ultra-traditionalism of the sincerest form. We hope you’ll enjoy experimenting with these new Jurassian offerings as much as we have. Salut! –Sophie

*Please note that we have not yet had the opportunity to taste the new releases from Puffeney and Gahier; with the exception of Overnoy-Crinquand, the wines are not here yet, but will be trickling in over the next few weeks.

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Puffeney 2010 Arbois Cuvèe Sacha

There are a few things in life that only The Pope can deliver... and Cuvée Sacha is one of them. From a blend of Sa(vagnin) and Cha(rdonnay), this is a stunning vintage for Sacha. The Savagnin in the blend is raised sous voile and gives the wine the yeasty, smoky, slightly musty aromatics of traditional Jura wines, as well as a dose of bright, quince fruit on the palate. The Chardonnay in the blend is topped up and gives the wine green apple-y freshness and vibrant, tangy orchard fruit. With a tea-like hint of chamomile, almonds, and almond flesh, this wine seriously over delivers for the price. For adventurous food and wine pairers, try Sacha as a pairing for risotto.The wine does wonders for rice dishes. -msb 

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Gahier, Michel 2011 Arbois Trousseau "Grands Vergers"

This is a ripe, but still balanced and very good Trousseau. Though not reduced upon opening, the wine deserves an hour or so to breathe. The nose offers dark berry fruits: blackberry, purple cherry and cassis notes that are ever so slightly jammy. Earth and fruit seed notes temper the wine's sweet, ripe aromatics, and the palate has fresh acidity and lingering tannins that make this bottle a very good choice for the cellar. The Grands Vergers vineyard is adjacent to Puffeney's "Bérangères" vineyard and the wine has the complexity of Puffeney's Trousseau, but with a more supple, less structured, and prettier character. -msb

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Gahier, Michel 2011 Arbois Poulsard

A ripe style of Poulsard (or "Ploussard" as it's also known), this may surprise ardent Jura wine fans for its accessibility and sweet fruit notes on the nose and palate. What can we say? 2011 is a warm year in the region. The nose offers very pretty cherry notes on the nose and the palate follows through with red berry fruits. Like Gahier's 2011 Trousseau, while there are no signs of reduction, the wine benefits from time open and begins to show almost Burgundian character an hour after opening. There's good earthiness and structure here, as well as the faintest spritz that characterized the last vintage of this wine. Delicious. -msb

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Gahier, Michel 2008 Arbois Chadonnay Le Fauquette

We are surprised and pleased when we taste Gahier's Chardonnay La Fauquette that no matter the vintage and no matter the light (and delicious) oxidation that marks the wine, there is always a distinct "Fauquette-ness," down to the bouillon note on the nose that characterized the '90 Fauquette tasted in Michel Gahier's cellar last year. The nose has some aroma-lifting volatile acidity, which heightens the nutty, savory, and honeyed aromatics of the wine. One might go so far as to say "sesame seeds, baked apples, and wild flower honey." The palate is silky and surprisingly plush for the vintage with a long nuttiness and a fresh lift of acidity. Hunt down some Tomme Crayeuse and have yourself a ball! -msb

 

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Overnoy-Crinquand 2010 Arbois-Pupillin Trousseau

This was my favorite of the three new wines from Overnoy-Crinquand. It's a lithe, delicate Trousseau planted on limestone soil. I loved the nose, which offered floral, herby notes, purple flowers and fruits. It showed a hint of reduction but far less than the Ploussard; it was reduction that easily blew off. I'll be buying more of these for short term drinking. Not that it couldn't age, but it tastes great right now. -msb

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Overnoy-Crinquand 2008 Arbois-Pupillin Savagnin

We certainly raised an eyebrow when we saw the price of this Savagnin from the "other" Overnoy, who actually isn't even an Overnoy because the current winemaker is a Crinquand! But when we tasted the wine, we got it. This Savagnin comes from a .4 hectare plot of 40 year old vines, and it's a Vin Jaune that failed to come to fruition, meaning that the nose and palate are deeply redolent of voile. The palate has plenty of lip-smacking, quince-y fruit with the laser-like, abundant acidity of the 2008 vintage. With some air, the wine begins to reveal an intriguing smokiness. -msb

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