The Jura has remained quietly tucked in a sleepy corner of France an hour's drive east. This region certainly has its enthusiasts, but for the most part, the wines historically had been sold in France. However, one evening at a Parisian restaurant set in motion a series of events that would ultimately be a turning point for the Jura.
It was at this Parisian restaurant that Guillaume D'Angerville of Domaine Marquis d'Angerville in Volnay asked the sommelier to blind pour him a glass of wine. The one rule Guillaume had that evening was that it couldn't be from Burgundy. The sommelier poured him Stéphane Tissot's Arbois Les Bruyères, and the rest was history.
At first, locals in Arbois weren't thrilled about D'Angerville's arrival. However, his true fondness for the wines and the history of the small region quickly revealed itself. He made it clear that his goal was to bring worldwide awareness to the great and incredibly unique wines of the Jura. Several properties were purchased and converted to organic and biodynamic practices, including some of Jacques Puffeney's holdings.
In the magically distinctive Jura region there're special pockets where varieties blossom into their greatest and truest possbile form. For Poulsard (locally known as Ploussard) that fairy dust of sorts comes from the ground of the tiny village of Pupillin, located just south of Arbois. While Poulsard plantings throughout the Jura are crafted into singularly delicious wines, those from Pupillin are something entirely different.
My hunt for an example that lived up to what I drank while visiting the village in 2012 has been ongoing. After tasting through importer Neal Rosenthal's current releases that included the 2015 Overynoy-Crinquand Pupillin Ploussard, I was taken back instantaneously to that damp weekend 5 years ago. Poulsard here can often show a huge disparity in styles, and to be blunt, soundness due to its reductive and finiky nature. But, the dry and warm conditions of 2015 clearly brought something special for Poulsard. And this vintage has turned out to be the perfect storm at Overynoy-Crinquand, showcasing a wine that speaks to me on a level of purity that I truly find nowhere else on earth.
Mickael Crinquand is the fourth generation to farm these 5 hecatres, of which all have been under organic regimen since the 80's. Here the red clay-limestone marl soil is planted to all of the standard Jura varieties: Trousseau, Chardonnay, Savagnin. But, the oldest vines today are Poulsard.
2015 is not a vintage in Pupillin we can over-generalize as being ripe and bombastic. Poulsard, and the style of the domaine, does not fall prey to vintage constraints like that. Fermentation and aging takes place in large foudre, with pumpovers kept to a bare minimum to limit extraction. This protocol gives a whispery lace structure to Poulsard and highlights everything I love about the variety's fresh strawberry and sweet spiced inflection. In the glass there's the palest of red hues you'll ever find, with a slight rust-colored tinge. But, a suprisingly sturdy tannic sturcture holds this featherweight in a way that provides a thrilling sense of grip.
Over the last decade, the Jura has brought us a new level of excitment and fascination for their native, obscure varieties. There aren't many importers who can touch Rosenthal's sense of mission in finding these smaller domaines that show their sense of place under the most sensitive and deft touch. Of all the esteemed terroirs within the region, it's Pupillin's Poulsard that compels me the most. At $29 per bottle from a magic vintage this is the wine that's finally ended my long pursuit.
2015 Overnoy-Crinquand Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard
$29 per bottle.