Poulsard, Arbois, 2017

  Domaine du Pélican

Perhaps Jura’s most idiosyncratic variety but one Juraphiles and growers alike seem to adore. A mixture of lightness and intensity. A little taciturn and edgy at first, though a fair bit of aeration reveals a wine laden with earthy forest floor, crushed peppercorn and cured meat characteristics with a jewel like red berry sweetness sitting in the background. Aged for 12 months in large used oak foudres.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine du Pélican

Since its birth in Montigny-lès-Arsures in 2012, Domaine du Pélican has rapidly established itself as one of Jura’s leading lights, producing exceptional biodynamic wines that mix finesse with thrilling Jurassien character.

The project was born in Taillevent Paris where Guillaume d’Angerville, proprietor of the great Volnay estate Marquis d’Angerville, was served blind a bottle of Jura Chardonnay from the 2005 vintage. Struck by its quality, Guillaume was taken a back to discover the wine was not from Meursault, let alone anywhere in the Côte d’Or. This moment proved the trigger for an exciting new project. Several Jura visits and tastings later and Guillaume was convinced to buy land there. He sought the help of respected Jura geologist Yves Hérody to find the best vineyard sites, a journey which took three years and culminated in a deal with the Château de Chavannes in Montigny-lès-Arsures in 2012 to purchase and lease five hectares. Jean-Marc Brignot sold him another five hectares shortly afterwards and finally in 2014 five hectares were leased from retiring Jura legend Jacques Puffeney.

The estate is managed by Guillaume’s Volnay Régisseur and partner in Domaine du Pélican, François Duvivier, who runs a team permanently based in the Jura. The vines are between Arbois and Montigny. Vitally all 15 hectares are within 2km of each other, the same as in Volnay, this allows the estate to grow the vineyards bio-dynamically – for which some of the necessary treatments need to be made within two hours of preparation. The plots are among Jura’s finest, the very best being En Barbi and Grand Curoulet. The terroirs here, a mix of marly clay and gravels with varying exposures from north to south, are even more complex than in Burgundy. Whilst a broadly Burgundian approach is employed to wine-making, there is no doubting the individuality and Jurassien personality of the wines. The d’Angerville approach in the cellar has always been light-touch, one which is toned down even more for Domaine du Pélican, little new oak is used and élévage is shorter, lasting twelve months as opposed to eighteen in Volnay. Tanks and foudres are employed for ageing the reds, 500 litre casks for the Savagnin and traditional Burgundian barriques for the Chardonnay. The whites are both “topped up” as opposed to the more common oxidative Jura method.

The rigour and investment of the Marquis d’Angerville, local know-how and great terroir is proving a potent combination, for these are some of the most Jura’s most exciting and complex wines.

Appellation: Arbois

In the north of the region of Jura sits the stunning town of Arbois. You can find all sorts of wine here, but more than half of the production is red and Poulsard is by far the most important grape - and is somewhat of a local institution.

Grape Type: Poulsard

Poulsard is a red-skinned French grape variety that is a specialty of Arbois in northern Jura. Thin skins and pale coloring are the most obvious traits of Poulsard, while delicate perfumes are a lesser-known quality. Red wines produced from Poulsard may be so lacking in color that they are mistaken as rosé, and indeed white wine (Blanc de Noir) can be made from it by limiting skin contact. Poulsard buds early and is at serious risk from spring frosts, especially because its skin is thin. Long ferments are typically used in production to draw out as much flavor as possible. It is often blended with Gamay, Pinot Noir and Trousseau. Poulsard is an interesting variety in that it is used to make white, rosé, red and sparkling wines. The most common incarnation of the variety is red skinned, but white, pink and black musqué mutations have been documented.