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Grusse en Billat 2015 — Chardonnay


A Wine That

tastes like a tiny vinous meteorite hit your tongue. More mineral than fruit, there's also a pithy-but-salty crispness here; like you've taken a passionfruit seed and rolled it in some rock salt. Linear and direct, this is a geometrical wine; it will leave you puzzled and searching for answers. Angular but not sharp, it's a wine that is just as much about the texture as it is about the taste.

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  • Winemaker: Jean-François Ganevat
Grusse en Billat 2015 — Chardonnay - littlewine-store.
















Where and How?

From one of Jean-François' most well-known vineyards - Grusse en Billat - this is Chardonnay planted in 1970, on schist and a type of marl that is known as "carton" - clay/limestone that is layered in the same way as cardboard.

The limestone here gives this wine a specific salinity, and it's known for being one of the most "mineral" of JF's cuvées.

The wine was aged for three years on the lees in old barrels, with no additions.

The Winemaker

If you compare winemakers to guitar players, then Jean-François Ganevat is like the Brian May of the wine world. From a long line of farmers in the Jura, he started making wine from a young age. In the 90s, he realised that he wanted to make wine in the ancien way; how it was done in the old days. He says,

“I think I had realised that synthetic chemicals did not equal quality. There was a disconnect. So, like Pierre Overnoy [Jura legend], I decided to make wines with a nod to the past.”

Jean-François farms 13 hectares of vines in the Jura, which create his domaine wines. These vineyards are tended biodynamically, including the use of natural plant-based products such as orange oil to decrease the use of copper used in the vineyards. He also makes négoce wine with organic grapes he buys from friends across France - here in the Jura frost means that in some years he loses most of his production. In the cellar, the wines are made with a hands-off approach; the key ingredients simply being whole bunches for the reds, and time for the whites, which are aged for at least two years. There is one philosophy that stands about the rest;

“It’s simple. I have always wanted to make wines that I want to drink.”

The cellar is a patchwork of different vessels; everything from old Burgundy barrels, to amphorae of all shapes and sizes and large, to old Austrian foudres. He ages the wines in the vessels that he feels suits them. The wines are almost always bottled without sulphur, but if Jean-François feels that a cuvée needs it, he'll add a "homeopathic dose." This is a method that consists of adding a micro-dose of sulphur (sometimes undetectable) but that is believed to have the same effect on the wine.

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