The arrival of a new year often inspires us to try new and interesting things, and branch out in different directions. While the Jura is not “new”, it's much smaller and less well-known than most regions in France – just 2,000 hectares under vine, compared to 110,000 in Bordeaux, and 30,000 in Burgundy. The Jura has become increasingly popular over the last decade for its unique wine styles, organic and sometimes natural approach, and unusual grape varieties (Savagnin, Trousseau, and Poulsard). It’s also a lovely place to visit – beautiful mountains, lakes, and delicious wine and cheese.
Today we’re offering wines from a domaine that is relatively new but has quickly become one of the best in the Jura: Domaine du Pélican.
Domaine du Pélican
In 2008, Guillaume d’Angerville, of the famous Domaine Marquis d’Angerville in Volnay, was eating at his favourite restaurant in Paris. As usual, he requested the sommelier pick a wine for him on the condition that it was anything but Burgundy. But he was in for a surprise.
When the sommelier poured the wine, Guillaume thought there must be some mistake. As soon as he tasted it, he was certain it came from the Cote de Beaune. No, the sommelier told him, it’s a Chardonnay from Jura. Astounded by the news, Guillaume set out to explore the region and its terroir, and soon began looking for a perfect site to launch a new estate.
After a long search for vineyards with the right geology, Domaine du Pélican was founded in 2012 with the purchase of five hectares from the biodynamically-run Chateau de Chavannes in Montigny-lès-Arsures. An additional 10 hectares were added, five of which were purchased from Jura legend Jacques Puffeney upon his retirement in 2014. These are geologically complex sites with multiple different soil types, from grey marl to limestone.
Run by Francois Duvivier, the long-time estate manager at Marquis d’Angerville, Domaine du Pélican is certified biodynamic. Much like their estate in Volnay, the work in the vineyards and cellar is meticulous. For the red wines, the grapes are destemmed and macerated on the skins for two weeks with once daily pumpovers, resulting in very gentle extraction. For the whites, the grapes are slowly pressed and fermented in a mix of neutral oak casks and barrels.
The wines of Domaine du Pélican are polished and beautifully expressive. They are some of the best being produced in Jura today.
Savagnin Ouillé 2018
The Savagnin Ouillé is bracingly intense, with concentrated green apple, pear, and bright citrus fruit. It is a brilliantly textured wine with a long finish. Savagnin is probably best known for producing the oxidative wine from Jura, Vin Jaune. However, this wine is made in the ouillé (topped up) or non-autoxidative style, where the barrels are kept completely filled.
From a blend of sites around Montigny-lès-Arsures and Arbois, the 2018 Chardonnay is fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels and foudres. It is a mouth-watering wine with bright citrus and stone fruit and a creaminess on the medium-bodied palate. Lovely stuff.
Trois Cepages 2018
As the name suggests the Trois Cepages is a blend of Pinot Noir (60%), Trousseau (35%), and Poulsard (5%). Aged for 18 months in barrels and foudres. It is a concentrated red that is juicy, bright, and refreshing, with a finish that sails on and on.