The Jura Master Breaks with Tradition
2007 Macle Côtes du Jura du Jura Chardonnay Ouille
Non-Oxidative, Absolutely Jura
Macle's Vin Jaune is the benchmark of Château-Chalon, Jura's most illustrious appellation. So when word got out that Macle was about to break with tradition and produce a non-oxidative (ouille) wine, we took it as big news and immediately sought it out.
To be honest, it took a little scheming to land the small amount of bottles on offer today.
Production is tiny. If you look for the wine on Wine-Searcher, you'll find it at exactly two places in the world: Crush and Stephane Planche's impressive Jardin des St. Vincent in Arbois.
I'm very happy that I was able to land these bottles as the wine is not only good, but it also offers an alternative perspective on a favorite producer of mine and shows that Laurent Macle, who is now at the helm of this long-standing benchmark estate, is inquisitive and willing to experiment.
Why the break in tradition? Many estates in the Jura (often those helmed by younger winemakers), have begun dabbling in ouille wines. Some of these can be very, very good (think of the wines of Jean-Francois Ganevat)... and according to Laurent, after sampling these wines, he simply wanted to try his hand at it. Rumor has it that Laurent's father, Jean, who is retired but still very involved with the estate, didn't approve of Laurent's dabbling in ouille wines. Laurent plans to continue making them in future vintages, however.
The Macles have always been very proud of their Chardonnay. It's planted in a section of vineyard that was included in the Château-Chalon appellation until the appellation was redrawn in the 1980s. In both the Chardonnay Ouille and the Côtes du Jura (where Chardonnay typically accounts for 85% of the blend), there's a level of complexity, detail and elegance that seems to support that this is indeed a very good terroir.
What's fascinating to me is that my tasting note for Macle's Chardonnay Ouille is strikingly similar to Macle's Côtes du Jura. There are similar marmalade and mossy notes - overall a certain kinship between the two wines in their expression of brisk alpine minerality, baking spices and pine needles.
Somehow, Macle manages to evoke the lush forests of bucolic Jura in all of his wines. Oxidative or not, they speak of where they come from. And yes, there is a gentle oxidative "vibe" that seems to remain, even in the ouille. The major difference is that the ouille doesn't have the thrashing acidity nor the nuttiness.
In short, this is fascinating wine. While this first ouille from Macle won't challenge Gavevat's standing as creator of the best ouille Chardonnay in the Jura, it's very good wine in its own right - not to mention it offers a glimpse of one of Jura's best working with a great terroir.
It bears repeating that this is very limited. I bought all that was available, and it amounted to a handful of cases. Please give us your maximum order, and we'll allocate accordingly. To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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