Melon-Queue-Rouge: a Red-Tailed Rarity
2008 Ganevat Cuvée Marguerite Magnums
Chardonnay's Exotic Cousin from One of Jura's Best
I've always loved Ganevat's wines, but so few make it into the U.S. that it was hard to grasp just how crazy-good his stuff is, how deserving he is of the accolades. Then I tasted with him at his estate, and I got it. And out of 20 wines (from just over 9ha!), this little rarity stood out...
Why? Because this esoteric Melon-Queue-Rouge or "red-tailed" Chardonnay (a red-stemmed strain of Chardonnay that's completely unique to the Jura) kind of sums up the whole estate. Let me explain myself.
Jean-François spent 10 years in Burgundy working with Chardonnay and building expertise on the grape as well as a dedication to serious quality and site-specificity that he now applies to his family's nine hectares in the Jura.
And Melon-Queue-Rouge takes a framework of Chardonnay and fills it up with the essence of the Jura. So what hit me as I was tasting this cuvée Marguerite out of barrel with Ganevat was that this shows the complexity, breed and site-distinction that you'd expect from great white Burgundy, yet it's decidedly, singularly Jura-rooted. It's this melange that makes Ganevat such a benchmark in the region.
Really, it almost makes no sense for me to have bought this wine or to be emailing it out. We could only get a couple of cases. Of a wine only bottled in magnums (Ganevat does what he wants). Of a rare wine from a wacky region. But I loved it so much that I still did it.
Considering the tiny yields and über-conscientious biodynamic vineyard practices, the masterful winemaking and the sheer individuality of this wine, this is a fantastic deal and an exemplary bottle well worth trying for anyone into unique, site-specific wines.
True to its home, Ganevat's Marguerite shows unmistakable Jura-streaked acidity, a fascinating level of finesse along with mossy forest notes. Compared to Ganevat's other Chardonnays, Marguerite shows both slightly rounder and more exotic fruit along with an undertow of sweet herbs and medicinal root elements - a subtle yet distinct Chartreuse backdrop that complicates the fruit. Ganevat's Marguerite vines are in Rotalier in the southern part of Jura, an area that most people consider the region's sweet spot for non-oxidative Chardonnay.
Ganevat is undoubtedly on the short list of the Jura's very best producers, considered an exemplar not only by his fervent fans but also by his fellow winemakers. Frankly, on my visits through Jura and Beaujolais this year, I was startled by the high regard they held him in; at times, mentioning that I was going to visit him felt like name dropping.
Unsurprisingly, most of Ganevat's wine's are sold before they are even bottled, and very few make it into the U.S.
To the best of my knowledge, this the first time that Marguerite is available in this country - it's rare to find it even in France. The "Fanfan" (as Jean-François is known to his friends) loyalists are an avid bunch, and the very small amount of wine on offer today is likely to disappear quickly. If you have any interest in this unique offering, we urge you to reply quickly.
To place your order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits