2019 Croix & Courbet Côtes du Jura

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Jura, France

100% Savagnin (ouillé). The Côtes du Jura is a blend of fruit from Arbois, Passenans and Château-Chalon. The parcels in Arbois (En Chemenot) and Passenans are both organically farmed. The third parcel in Château-Chalon is called En Beaumont and is farmed by Courbet himself. Currently in organic conversion, the Savagnin vines here were planted in 1962, 1985 and 1991 and are rooted in gently sloping clay and limestone scree over grey marl. In terms of the winemaking, every bunch was harvested by hand and the grapes went through a three-hour press cycle with whole clusters lightly crushed. All ferments were natural, and this cuvée was raised for five months in older barrels followed by 15 months in stainless steel tank. Every care was taken to keep sulphur additions in the range of 20-30 ppm (none was added during élevage and there was only a slight adjustment at bottling). Pouring fresh and star-bright, it opens with impressive aromatics of florals, woody herbs and chamomile. Oscillating between fruit and spice, the palate is studded with notes of stone fruits, almond, pepper, walnut and dry herbs with a salty finish. It’s both savoury and wonderfully seductive; a Savagnin of striking depth and character, with a compact texture sculpted by powdery grip and an intense beam of acidity. Superb tension and superb class. Pair with Comté Cheese soufflé or Moule Mariniere.

  • Tech Notes

    Varietal / Blend: Savagnin

    Decant: Recommended

    Closure: Cork

    Farming Practices: Biodynamic

  • Jura, France
    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.