Domaine Jousset Clos aux Renards 2017
'This is a tiny vineyard, just over 1 ha, entirely worked by horse or human hands, no machines. It is a special vineyard, with a very peculiar blue clay, and lots of silex flint stones. One of the very greatest Dry Chenin Blanc vineyards in the Limestone part of the Loire, whose reputation rightly sits along side “La Charpentrie” from Domaine du Collier. Aged 2 years in large oak, a very rare and fine wine.
Electric Golden Ch'nin
At the heart of it, the Jousset story is all about Chenin Blanc, grown thoughtfully, sustainably, almost entirely unmechanised, organic in certification, biodynamic in concept and action. Healthy soils = abundant microbial life = healthy plants = terroir driven wine in the glass.
With this level of attention to farming, Chenin Blanc can be as versatile as an artist’s pallet. So what is the Jousset hue ?
1) Perfectly clean whole bunches, harvested in a single picking per vineyard. Each vineyard is harvested when the majority of the bunches are just golden. There is double sorting in the vineyard to remove any underripe or rotten bits, before the grapes arrive in the winery. This therefore excludes botrytis (unless, if the occasional vintage dictates, a sweet wine is in order).
2) Whole bunch press, overnight settling, then into barrels in a very cold limestone cave for fermentation, all of this taking place with the help of gravity alone, no pumps.
3) Very long slow fermentations, thanks to the cool ambiance of the cellar (which would reach no more than 15°C in the peak of summer). Some wines will take up to a year to ferment dry, and that is ok, as long as they keep ticking along. Predominantly old oak is the way, with maybe 15% new oak added to the cellar each year.
4) Nothing added, nothing taken away. Natural yeast, no inoculations, no temperature control or other manipulations. Some cuvées will never see the sulphur can, others get a very small hit close to bottling. Yet these natural wines are always pristine, never the slightest sideways glance.
5) To taste, the wines are thrilling. Lean at first, stoney, sometimes with a honeysuckle nose, but often quite subtle. With air time, as they warm in the glass, orchard fruit and floral notes begin to appear, and the palate fattens out to a rich and satisfying slurp, but never lacking their trade mark flash of electric acidity.'
- Virtuous VIne