100% Savagnin (ouillé). The Arbois lieu-dit of En Chemenot lies just east of the village (Domaine des Cavarodes have a Poulsard from the same site). A north-facing hillside plot at 350 meters elevation, the here soils are blue and grey marl. The Savagnin was planted in 2004 and the vineyard is managed using both organic and biodynamic methods. Courbet is delighted with the quality coming off these vines (a portion of which is also used for the Côtes du Jura blend). The winemaking here was similar to the Côtes du Jura—hand harvest, natural yeasts, low sulphur, etc. This cuvée was vinified 90% in cement egg tank and 10% in a one-year-old barrel: Croix likes the tension and minerality the egg brings to the density of this vineyard’s fruit. It’s a denser and more complex expression than the Côtes de Jura blend, with a powerful, compact palate bristling with energy. There’s an intense core of Savagnin savouriness alongside deep citrus and some brown spice. It treads a fine line between crystalline, limestone minerality and layered generosity, with a textured mouthfeel shot through by vibrant freshness. A beautiful wine of great purity, length and precision. Best matched with a lemon and herb buttered roast chicken or a Gruyere Soufflé.
For those new to the name, David Croix is something of a big deal in Burgundy. At the age of 24 (then a precocious talent and working at Comte Armand with Benjamin Leroux), he was offered the top job at the historic négociant Camille Giroud. It was a remarkable achievement for such a young vigneron. By 2005 he was hand-picked by Becky Wasserman to manage and turn around the underperforming Beaune estate, Domaine Duchet, which had recently been bought by a group of investors. That estate became Domaine des Croix and is an underperformer no more. It was at the Diplôme National d’Oenologue that he struck up a friendship with Damien Courbet (the son of noted Jura grower Jean-Marie Courbet). Croix’s home in Beaune lies just over one hour’s drive from Courbet’s domaine. Over the years, the two growers and friends started talking about a project together in Jura, presumably under the influence of one too many glasses of Courbet’s Château-Chalon (which, we are told, is one of appellation’s finest). The venture finally came to fruition in early 2019 when Courbet, seeing quality grape contracts increasingly hard to come by, said to his friend: “it has to be now or never”. The style of the wines below hinges on purity and tension, so don’t come here looking for overtly nutty Savagnin sous voile. The wines are made in Nevy-sur-Seille, with both men overseeing harvest and vinification (Croix visits at least once a week). The winemaking is strictly artisanal, with reliance on native yeasts and, because Courbet believes that as a varietal Savagnin is “more robust than Chardonnay,” this allows the pair to keep sulphur doses to the bare minimum. The wines are raised in large-format oak or concrete eggs depending on the source. Croix is exceptionally pleased with his first vintage and explains that we can look forward to ever more refined and crystalline wines as the project matures. He’s right to be content—the two 2019 wines below are terrific, and a wonderful beginning to this domaine’s story.
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