Nestled in a sleepy village in the northern Jura lies Etienne Thiebaud's cellar, Domaine des Cavarodes, named after his first vineyard. One of the up-and-coming young stars of the region, Etienne creates some of the finest natural wines in the world from Savagnin, Chardonnay, Poulsard and Trousseau.
LITTLEWINE visited Etienne Thiebaud at his cellar in the Jura.
“The perfect vineyard doesn’t exist. That’s why we have different grape varieties - they have adapted to different soils and places along the way.”
People: Etienne Thiebaud
Place: Jura, France
Varieties: Savagnin, Chardonnay, Poulsard, Trousseau, Enfariné Noir, Mézy, Geuche, Argant, Pinot Meunier, Mondeuse
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? Plough work is done manually with Etienne's two plough horses.
three different soil types: limestone, clay/marne and pebbly marne with glacial moraine deposits. Etienne says,
"The Kimmeridgian limestone soils give tension and minerality to the wines, whereas the wines from the marne soils tend to be a little broader."
The Lumachelles vineyard is actually named after an old French geologic term for the Kimmeridgian limestone soils. Meanwhile, the Messagelin vineyard sits on marne soils with glacial moraine deposits. It can be a hot site with southwesterly exposure, so is often the first to be harvested, but Etienne explains that the clay-heavy marne soils always give the wines distinct freshness. Guille Bouton is also planted on marne soils (blue and grey), but with more limestone than Messagelin. His Savagnin, "Ostrea Virgula," is named after the fossils found in the limestone soils of the vineyard. It is also a hot site, possibly even hotter than the Messagelin vineyard, he muses, with very little topsoil.
He is constantly thinking and experimenting. When we visit him, he disappears for a minute and comes back with his wine thief full of something golden, that shimmers in our glass. It is a new cuvée produced from his young 10-year-old Chardonnay vines, which he macerated on the skins for five days. All of his white wines are usually direct-pressed with whole clusters, but he wanted to try something new. He says,