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One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Domaine Jean-François Ganevat  J’en Veux!!!

France (Jura)

17 native varietals!!! including l’enfariné, corbeau, gueuche, portugais blue, gouais, beclan. argant, seyve-villard

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A recent trip brought a one day, pre-Olympic stopover in London. There’s a terrific venue for lovers of natural wines on William IV Street, near Trafalgar Square. It’s called Terroirs and the charcuterie plate (salami, duck rillettes, pork and pistacho terrine) proved exceptional. As for the wine — a brilliant discovery from Jura.

Domaine Jean-François Ganevat  J’en Veux!!! 2009  

This has the wine character I love. Fresh, earthy, seemingly little removed from the end point of vinification. Lively and unpretentious, all about the natural evolution of the grapes into wine. Unfined, unfiltered, unsulfured, and I’m thinking with traits that marked wine centuries ago. ‘Delicious’ might sound pedestrian, but indeed, had I more time in the city, I would have been tempted to sit and linger over the whole bottle.  $$

J’en Veux!!! is one of an average domaine production of some 40 wines. All from a mere 8.5 hectares, with each parcel vinified separately. Very labour intensive, with eight people employed full time. In charge is Jean-François Ganevat (“Fanfan” to his friends) with roots in the region going back to 1650. Here, in underappreciated Jura (lying between Burgundy and Switzerland), there are varietals unknown anywhere else, and whereas Ganevat has managed to hold on to many of them, they have largely disappeared from other domaines, making way for AOC favourites pinot noir and chardonnay.

Roughly a thousand litres of this wine were made, on a plot of ungrafted vines behind Ganevat’s house, vines as much as a hundred years old. All the wines amount to micro-cuvées, some made up of no more than a single cask. In total only two thousand cases of wine leave the domaine each year. Ganevat is incredibly dedicated (some would say mad) to undertake production on this scale. The domaine is something of a maze of small buildings, cask rooms and cellars in the southern Jura hamlet of La Combe. Life here is well out of the wine mainstream.

Until 1976 income from winemaking was augmented by the production of the region’s famous cheese, comté. By 1998 Jean-François had completed wine studies in Burgundy and worked for ten years at the famous Domaine Jean-Marc Morey. He wanted to return to the family property in Jura. His experience at Morey led him to biodynamics, and it is said a Burgundian approach to winemaking.

Ganevat is a perfectionist. One estate wine each year undergoes particularly stringent destemming. Using scissors, each grape is removed from the cluster, leaving only the tiniest tip of the stem. In 2009 that wine was J’en Veux !!! The grapes are then put directly into the barrel. Vinification occurs within the skin. No pressing, no punchdowns, no pumpovers.

The result: absolutely delicious.

As I leave Terroirs I see by the blackboard that Ganevat’s wine is in very good company.


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