Pauline Fromont. Photo: Guilhaume Gerard

Domaine des Marnes Blanches

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The Sud Revermont area of the Jura has become a small hub for terroir-driven, natural wines that more than titillate the palate. Beginning with the renowned Jean-Francois Ganevat, the philosophy for making wines of nature and terroir has spread to his neighbors Peggy and Jean-Pascal Buronfosse who started their domaine in 2000, and to the nearby village of Saint Agnès where Geraud and Pauline Fromont began Domaine des Marnes Blanches in 2006.

Both native Jurassians (if that’s indeed what they are called), the Fromonts came not from a winemaking background, but from agriculture. Then in their mid-20s, they immediately began farming organically, and are now certified organic by Ecocert. Their domaine covers 10 hectares of vines (some of them being around 100 years old!) spread across three towns in the southern part of the Côtes du Jura AOC: Cesancey, Vincelles, and Ste-Agnès. Cesancey was their first acquisition and is home to the white marl soils for which the domaine is named while the vineyards in the other towns have various types of soils, the majority being red marl and gryphées –limestone rich in fossils. All of their parcels are vinified separately, an idea that is long practiced in neighboring Burgundy, yet relatively unexplored in the Jura, offering a new perspective on the region. All vineyard work is done by hand, save for sporadic tilling of the soil at the base of the vines with a custom-designed tractor that goes in between each individual vine to combat weeds. Where a parcel of old vines once stood, Geraud is currently in the process of growing approximately two hectares more of Trousseau, a grape he considers best suited for this marl-heavy terroir. Here the small, red stones that lay around the baby vines absorb heat throughout the day and retain that heat for the night protecting them from frosts and he does not water the vines to encourage the roots to grow deep into the earth.

Geraud Fromont in a parcel of young Trousseau vines. Photo: Guilhaume Gerard

The Fromonts have two cellars on their property, one dedicated to ouillé (topped-up) wines, the other to the traditional sous voile wines the Jura is known for. The former is a newer facility, filled with stainless steel tanks and neutral casks of various sizes. The latter is a 200-year-old farmhouse that they have converted into a three-story cellar that also contains their tasting room. Windows on each end allows for warm air to pass through each level in the summer, and different levels of humidity on each floor make for conditions that flor can flourish in. All wines are allowed to ferment naturally, and sulfur additions are minimal making for pure, vibrant wines that deserve a place on your dinner table and in your cellar.

Besides Geraud and Pauline being incredibly pleasant people (and equally great chefs: for lunch on a visit this summer we were treated to what I would equate as the Jura’s answer to turducken), they are extremely talented, ambitious winemakers that deserve your attention.  Quantities are very limited, so don’t delay! Tim Gagnon

 

 

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Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2014 Cotes du Jura Poulsard

The Fromont’s Poulsard is exactly what we love about this grape: incredibly bright red cherry fruit, a funky, savory spice, translucent color, and an incredible depth of flavor. The grapes are hand-harvested and go into fiberglass tanks for whole-cluster maceration that lasts 2 days (which is the same for all of their red wines). Alcoholic fermentation lasts about two weeks with no punchdowns or pumping over and the wine is raised in neutral barrique before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with a small addition of sulfur. This is simply a delicious wine! Tim Gagnon

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2014 Cotes du Jura Pinot Noir

When Geraud harvested his Pinot Noir last fall, he was startled by high levels of acidity in the fruit. However, during maceration he was noticing that the stems were absorbing most of this acidity, bringing the levels back into balance. Though he could not explain this phenomenon, the result speaks for itself! The 2014 is a fairly fruit-forward wine with brambly red raspberries, Bing cherry, pomegranate, and hibiscus notes on the nose. On the palate it is dense with tinges of pepper and minerals, finishing with gobs of red berry fruits and dried red flowers. This is really a treat to drink now and over the next couple of years. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $32.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2014 Cotes du Jura Trousseau

If I had to choose one grape that embodies the terroir of the Jura region, it would be Trousseau. Unlike Pouslard with its unmistakable visceral charm, Trousseau is less often masked by its innate characteristics. Geraud’s Trousseau vines are planted in marl-heavy soils with a limestone base which gives the finished wine a meatier nose with lifted blackberry, violet, and cool blueberry aromas. The palate is rife with more blackberries and a strong mineral component backed by sturdy, well-integrated tannins. Although I believe that this would be the Fromont’s most age-worthy red, the joy of drinking it with all of its youthful energy still intact is quite special. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2014 Cotes du Jura Chardonnay Les Molates

Though common in the rest of the world, the topped-up – the process of continuously adding fresh wine to a barrel after wine evaporates to avoid oxidation – or ouillé style of winemaking is a fairly new revelation when thinking of the Jura. All of the Fromont’s wines made in this style are vinified the same way, being pressed directly to barrel for both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation and spend eighteen months in the same barrel before bottling. From 35-year-old Chardonnay vines, Les Molates is an example of this style of winemaking at its finest. The nose shows decadent, classic Jura Chardonnay notes of toasted walnuts, wildflower honey, mango flesh, pineapple stalk, lemon zest, and sea breeze. The palate echoes the nose, with luscious fruit and nut flavors anchored by minerals and racy acidity. This wine shows a lot of finesse and is a great example of this “new” style of wine. Buy a few to drink now and over the next decade. Tim Gagnon

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2014 Cotes du Jura Savagnin Les Molates

This cuvée comes from younger Savagnin vines, approximately 22-years old, and, if we could personify wine, would be the more bookish and quiet, but equally fascinating, sibling to the brawnier, captain-of-the-football-team Les Molates made from Chardonnay. The nose is juicy and exotic with tropical melon, lychee, and citrus pith yet the palate is much more elegant and understated, skewing more mineral with a tangy salinity bringing up the rear. Give this wine some time to breathe and you will be greatly rewarded! Tim Gagnon

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2014 Cotes du Jura Savagnin En Jensillard

Made from an interesting local strain called Savagnin Muscaté, this is a wine unlike any other Savagnin I’ve had. The vines that provide the fruit for this cuvée are between 57- and 60-years-old. It is much more heady and floral with orange blossom, heather honey, grapefruit zest, and fresh squeezed mango juice. The palate is opulent with juicy tropical fruit and zesty citrus backed by sea salt and minerals. This would be incredibly interesting to try alongside Les Molattes Savagnin paired with all kinds of poultry. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $53.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2011 Cotes du Jura Vin de Paille 375ml

Vin de Paille literally means straw wine referring to the traditional practice of drying the grapes in boxes lined with straw mats prior to pressing. This is a style of wine commonly confused with or mistaken for Vin Jaune, yet is wildly different in every way. There are strict rules as to what Vin de Paille is, and within those confines, many unique styles arise (For those of you interested in the ins and outs of this style of wine, our friend and Jura expert Wink Lorch has a fascinating write up on her website: http://jurawine.co.uk/the-wines/vin-de-paille/). The Fromont’s make theirs with a blend of Savagnin, Chardonnay, and Poulsard and allow them to raisin over the course of five months before a long pressing. The nose is exquisite with notes of brown sugar, dried figs, stewed black cherries, black tea, and a piquant, briny quality. There are also deeper aromas redolent of anise and caraway. Though it has quite a bit of residual sugar, it isn’t cloying on the palate due to ample acidity. Whether you are a lover of Vin de Paille or just trying one for the first time, put this on your short list for after-dinner cheese courses: you won’t regret it. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white sweet
  • 0 in stock
  • $73.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2008 Cotes du Jura Vin Jaune

2008 marks the first vintage of Vin Jaune ever produced by Domaine des Marnes Blanches. In short, it is beautiful. The nose is lively, almost ethereal, with aromas of toasted cashew, burnt orange rind, eastern spice, pine, and mango skin. Texturally speaking, it is one of the most interesting Vin Jaunes that I have tasted; it offers exquisite fruit with a touch of smoke on the palate and is lithe, intense, incredibly long, and elegant. Lovers of Vin Jaune, look no further: this is the wine for you. Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $79.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur