Jurancon, South-West France
Organic and biodynamic certified
Jurançon near the city of Pau is a special place for many reasons. It’s simply one of the most beautiful French vineyards, with steep slopes and scenic landscape, including the towering, often snow-covered, Pyrenees in the background.
Jurançon is a pocket-size appellation of about 1,000 hectares farmed by 100 producers. Producing only white wine, it is historically known for late-harvest sweet wine or 'moelleux'. However dry white Jurançon wine was recognised with a separate AOC in 1975, known as 'Jurançon sec'. Dry Jurançon can be among the best whites you'll ever taste, particularly in the hands of a legend like Didier Dagueneau who helped to put Jurançon on the map. Today Jean-Marc Grussaute from Camin Larredya is one of the leading force and gaining plenty of fans among the sommelier community in France.
Jean-Marc and his mother run the show and farm 'their hill' together. The 9 hectares of vines and farm have been owned by the family since the early 1900s, with most of the current vines were planted in 1970s by Jean-Marc’s father. Organic farming has been the norm here from 2007 onwards, certified in 2010 and turning to biodynmaic farming in 2016. The vineyard is classically local in varietal plantings: 65% Petit Manseng, 27% Gros Manseng, 8% Petit Courbu and Camaralet.
The vineyard sits at 300m altitude, with soils of silica-clay and subsoils of puddingstone. Precision is life here, every action serves the "purpose of the terroir and its continuity", according to Jean-Marc, who respects the soil’s health and its life. It's essential for him that the roots go deep to express the terroirs in the final wine. Jean-Marc works the soils, grow cereals or pulses in between the rows, and uses natural compost when needed. The singularity and honesty of his wines come from permanent attention.
"La Part Davant", or oriental part is a Jurançon Sec blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and some Petit Courbu. Skin contact at first, the must ferments with natural yeast, moving with the temperature of the cellar and vitality of the fermentation. Then fermentation and ageing on lees for at least 8 months in barrels and foudres. Ageing takes place in barrel and foudres, with batonage to snap the lees back in suspension. The wine is then left to rest and evolve in the cool cellars.
Intense on the nose, with beautiful notes of white peach, yeasty and toasty character. On the palate, it's all about the lively texture and fleshy white fruits as well as orange and citrus notes, with an elegant driven acidity and long mineral finish.
White grapes: Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu