(2023) A zero dosage Blanc de Blancs from the Jura in Eastern France, made from Chardonnay by the traditional method. It spends 18 months on the lees. Pale gold in colour, bubbles are frothy and moderately persistant, with plenty of autolytic aromas of yeast and biscuit, ripe but nutty apple fruit. In the mouth there is surprising sweetness on the attack, presumably from nicely ripe fruit, though the pithy, lemon and dry, slightly herbal quality of acidity pushes on.
(2023) A blend of Pinot Noir with Trousseau and Poulsard, this has a Cru Beaujolais character perhaps, redcurrant and spices, a sappy touch of briar, a little stripe of rhubarb-like vegatility. The palate has juiciness, again cranberry, redcurrant and a touch of raspberry, but the subtle tannin structure and juicy, crisp acidity give lovely balance. Chill it very lightly if you wish and enjoy its juicy freshness. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) In this bottling, a blend of Chardonnay and Savignin spends 24 months ageing under its veil of yeast. It is bready and nutty, a little wheat beer-like note that adds an edge and interest. In the mouth it becomes lemony and zippy, a sheer brightness to the fruit and acidity, though that nutty and biscuity creaminess sits beneath. Long, there is a salty seasoning to the lemon acidity in the finish.
(2023) A very enjoyable Crémant this, 100% Chardonnay aged over 12 months sur lie, in individual bottles. The nose has a hint of rich yeastiness, some yellow plum, and floral hints to its lemony core. The mousse is persistent, and a hint of ripe, almost tropical fruit sweetness to the mid-palate meet a sheer, citrussy, grapefruit acidity to produce a wine with verve and tang. A refreshing aperitif style, or delicious with fish and chips.
(2023) A blend of Chardonnay, Savagnin and Poulsard, this is a Vin de Paille or 'straw wine', the ripe grapes dried on straw mats to desiccate and slightly and concentrate the flavours. Pouring a deep amber, the nose is laden with fig and honey, some interesting herbal notes too, a touch of aromatic tobacco. In the mouth it is thick and unctuous, a wave of rich apricot fruit flowing across the tongue, but mineral, stony core and thrust of orange acidity that gives it great tension and precision. A delight. Price for a half bottle, and how wonderful this would be with tarte tatin.
(2022) Château Chalon is an appellation for Vin Jaune ("yellow wine") in the Jura region. The wines are vinified under a thick layer of yeast known as Voile that forms on top of the wine as it slumbers in maturing barrels, in exactly the same way that the layer of flor creates the character of many Sherries. Indeed, nosed blind, you would swear this was Sherry, with its walnutty, yeasty, bruised apple character, but unlike Sherry, it is not fortified. In the mouth, wonderfully earthy, dry, and again with that bruised apple and apple skin character, but so juicy too: even with six years of ageing in Mouillard's cellars, it has such a vibrant acidity with a feeling of energy that ripples through this wine into a long, saline and mouth-watering finish. Just fabulous. Watch the Wine of the Month video for more information.
(2022) From a small family domaine with a progressive new generation on-board, this from a 1930s Chardonnay vineyard. Nutty and appley, a little fragrance touching on floral but staying very dry and clean, and quite wild yesty complex. The palate is juicy and substantial, with a huge thrust of lemony acidity and lots of personality. Matured in ex Condrieu barrels.
(2016) Fabulous stuff this, made from the Jura's Trousseau grape, which even in the region's still red wines gives such a pale colour that the wines are really more rosé than red. Here a deliciously dry, lightly oxidised style of wine has a pale orange colour and indeed orange and bruised apple fruit before a palate that is fresh and long, with crisp mousse and a touch of wild strawberry flavour that is delicious.
(2014) 70% Chardonnay and 30% Savagnin, with 13.5% abv. A flor-affected wine, and though the veil of yeast can be inoculated, the best producers encourage a natural yeast flor. Oranges and nuts on the nose, with that salty almond and nut husk intense dryness. The sour and sharp bite of Cox's Pippin on the palate, with walnut and coffee and lovely dry but full flavours. Deliciously tangy and salty in the finish.
(2014) A Vin Jaune with 14.5% abv and made from Savagnin. Such depth and nuttiness here, such Shellac-like lift and concentration. Walnut husks, some herbs and really bone dry, peaty and complex. Salt and nervous, searing dryness almost assault the palate, but with such shimmering light and intensity amongst those crunchingly dry flavours. There are massively complex hints of coffee and lemon zest, all sorts of nutty richness, but just marvellously meaty and umami character, the curry-leaf and cumin character just wonderfully savoury.