New White Wines from Jura and Savoie: Stéphane Tissot, Fabrice Dodane, Céline and Steve Gormally, and more!

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Eastern France continues to offer surprises, whether in the form of distinct and flavorful wines from classic producers, or the new generation of winemakers who have been purchasing vines and establishing themselves at the vanguard of natural winemaking in some of France’s most historic wine regions. This includes Nicolas Gonin in the region of Isère who has been working to trace the genealogy of multiple grape varieties found in eastern France (as well as preserving ancient plantings of these varieties that may have been ripped out and lost forever), the young Julien Mareschal who works with vines in Arbois-Pupillin, well-known for its limestone slopes, and Catherine Hannoun who trained under natural wine mavericks Overnoy-Houillon and now farms .8 hectares of vines in Arbois (a micr-estate by any measure).

All of these producers are pushing the envelope, working organically or biodynamically, practicing minimal intervention in the cellar, and crafting serious wines. So raise a glass: the new generation of eastern France is here! Tim Gagnon

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Les Dolomies 2012 Les Combes

This is a fantastic Chardonnay from Céline and Steve Gormally. Grapes are harvested by hand from vines planted in the 1950s (farmed biodynamically) and vinified in neutral oak. It is deep and complex on the nose with jasmine, orange blossom, and Anjou pear. On the palate, incredibly precise with a wonderful texture, and dense stony minerals followed by ripe green apple, honey, and walnuts.  A lingering saltiness punctuates the finish. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $27.99

Buronfosse, Peggy and Jean-Pascal 2011 Côtes du Jura Savagnin L'Hopital

After taking over the vines of a retiring neighbor in 2000, Peggy and Jean-Pascal Buronfosse were quick to adopt the biodynamic and natural winemaking techniques of Jean-Francois Ganevat (who also happens to live right down the road). In this part of southern Jura, there is a lot of clay running through the soils along with some marl which lends a hand to their wines being intensely mineral, opulent, and very focused. They let this Savagnin ferment with native yeasts and age in neutral barrels for three years before release without any added sulfur. Ripe notes of apple, clove, mango flesh, and baked pear rise from the glass. Intense minerals and succulent fruit on the palate allude to a salty and lingering finish. Pair with grilled trout or crab legs this upcoming summer! Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Domaine de La Borde 2012 Arbois Pupillin Cote de Caillot Chardonnay

Juilen Mareschal is one of the only people to make wine in the Côte de Caillot, right outside of Pupillin. Working organically with .25 hectares of 35-year-old vines planted in Bajocian limestone on the top of steep slopes at 600m in elevation, he crafts serious Chardonnay in the ouille style, showcasing the true terroir of the site. The wine ferments naturally with indigenous yeasts and is raised in old, 1200L barrels. In terms of taste it would appeal to seasoned Chablis and Mersault drinkers with complex fruit and walnut aromas, and an excellent structure anchored by a piercing mineral core. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Saint Pierre 2011 Arbois Melon à Queue Rouge

In 2011 Fabrice Dodane of Domaine Saint Pierre took over from his estate's previous owner, whom he had worked with for nearly 20 years. He continually makes clean, precise, natural wines that are as delicious as they are accessible. Made from the obscure relative of Chardonnay called Melon-Queue-Rouge, this wine is raised ouillé (meaning "topped up" rather than aged in the traditional fashion under a veil of yeast). The wine is floral, honeyed, and quince-y with notes of tart green apple and crunchy green grape. For a white wine from the Jura, it's fairly fruit-forward and generous on the palate. This is the last vintage of this wine until 2018 (he had to replant the vines immediately after 2011) so don't miss this chance to taste something special. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $33.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Saint Pierre 2008 Arbois Savagnin

The man behind this wine, Fabrice Dodane, seems to have a penchant for making his sous voile wines in cooler vintages (the last vintage we had of this wine was 2004) and given the results, we couldn't agree more. 2008 was no exception to temperate weather, and the wines that came out of it were much more bracing and ethereal. On the nose it is bright and smoky with aromas of mustard seed and quince and the palate is mineral and citrusy with a mouth-coating texture: all of the things we love about this style of wine. Lovers of traditional Jura wines should take notice! Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
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  • $37.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Tissot 2013 Arbois Chardonnay "Patchwork"

New for 2015: Patchwork! This is the same cuvée as Les Empreintes in years past, with a new moniker. A fitting one as it is made from 100% Chardonnay from various vineyard sites on Stéphane’s estate. Grown in clay and limestone soils and raised for one year in a mix of neutral oak and 10% first-use barrel, it is sharp and salty yet quite fruit-forward. Quince, kiwi, mango skin, and other exotic fruit come to mind as well as crème brûlée, minerals, and candied tangerine peel. A tremendous effort from the Tissot family! Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $26.99

  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Peillot 2013 Roussette du Bugey Montagnieu Altesse

Where, exactly, is Bugey? Even the most committed wine geeks often do not know the answer to this question. Bugey comprises hills at the very southern tip of the Jura mountain range, but is, in fact, closer to the Savoie than to the Jura in distance (and the wines are more akin to the wines of the Savoie than to those of the Jura...) Interestingly, also, the vineyards of Montagnieu overlook the Rhône Valley and there is a certain ripe, Rhône-ish aspect to this Altesse in some vintages. Franck Peillot has long been a favorite of ours, and his Altesse (known also as Roussette), is lovely in 2013. Grown on limestone soil, the wine offers pretty honey and orchard fruits on the nose: floral pear, white peach and citrus while maintaining an underlying stoniness and minerality on the palate, and the long finish is like an alpine stream. MSB

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  • white
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  • $24.99

Ardoisieres 2013 IGP St Pierre de Soucy Argile Blanc

Located on the steep, rocky slopes in the shadow of Mont Blanc, high above the village of Freterive, lies Domaine des Ardoisières 17-hectare estate. With a winemaking history dating back to the Romans, the estate had fallen into disrepair becoming overgrown with forests and remained that way until the late-1990s when the vineyard sites were cleared and ancient terraces rebuilt. The estate is now being overseen by Brice Omont - a Champagne native who took over the estate in 2005 - with biodynamic principles having been employed from the start and native yeasts carrying out all fermentations resulting in truly stunning wines. This cuvee is a blend of Chardonnay, Jacquère, and Mondeuse Blanche which sees elévage in 2/3 stainless steel tank and 1/3 neutral barrique which gives it nuance and balance while maintaining a lifted freshness. Tropical and salty with pear skin and almond notes and giving way to stern minerals and more orchard fruit on the palate, it is an exciting wine for lovers of Savoie whites. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Gonin 2013 Isère - Balmes Dauphinoises Blanc Classique

A new cuvee from Nicolas Gonin! A field blend of sorts consisting of Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Altesse from his finest parcels of vines planted in gravelly soils. Fermentation and aging occurs in enamel-lined tanks and Nicolas adds only the smallest amount of SO2 a few days before bottling. He finds that this way his wines are less reductive and much more expressive than if he adds during bottling. Mango, almond butter, and pineapple stalk comes to mind at first sniff, with sea-salty minerals lingering a bit deeper. It has nice weight and pronounced fruit on the palate, and is very well structured. This is truly an honest and delicious wine for the people! Tim Gagnon

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  • white
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  • $19.99

La Loue 2009 Arbois Chardonnay Sous Voile

This is a very striking sous voile Chardonnay from a tiny grower in the Arbois who learned winemaking (in part) from Emmanuel Houillon. The nose is deeply redolent of voile, the palate intense, round, and full of dried apples and rich, floral notes. It's an oxidative wine that will certainly reward a substantial meal. If you have time to prepare chicken with morels, we think this wine would set your dinner off perfectly. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

La Loue 2011 Arbois Savagnin

Another wonderful offering from Catherine Hannoun! Sourced from her .8 hectares of 6-year-old vines on clay and limestone soils, this is the type of Savagnin we love to drink. She only makes these wines in the ouillé style and, like all of her bottlings, there is no SO2 added. Rich, yet light on its feet, with luscious pineapple, lime zest, orange blossom and minerals. This wine emanates so much energy and freshness, it's a must try for lovers of Savagnin! Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $34.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur