The Terrible Child of the Jura:
2010 Ganevat Poulsard "L'Enfant Terrible"

Posted by Joe Salamone

Jean-Francois Ganevat is finally hitting the tipping point.

In our opinion, it's about time.

Ganevat is one of the most intriguing and skilled winemakers working today. This is not an exaggeration.

He pulls out all the stops, spares no expense, treats his vines in a marginal region of the wine world with a level of dedication and reverence usually reserved for the most exalted terroirs.

From a mere 8.5 hectares, he vinifies between thirty-five to forty different wines a vintage. The yields from his biodynamically-tended vines are insanely low - often in the teens or even single digits. He practices long élevages and works with minimal or no sulphur. Quantities are painfully small.

Case in point: Just under 200 cases were produced of today's wine, his 2010 Poulsard "L'Enfant Terrible."

For those of you not familiar with this red-wine grape, think of it as having some of the lightness and lift of Pinot Noir, the meaty depth of good Beaujolais, the briskness of Mountain Nebbiolo. As with Pinot Noir, it's also a very tricky grape to work with.

Every wine in Ganevat's line-up is, in its own way, a masterpiece, but his Poulsard may best highlight his formidable skill. In many ways, Poulsard is the most emblematic grape of the Jura. Its light body and tart fruits make it feel very much at home in Jura's cool climate and lush rolling hills.

The only problem is that Poulsard is an absolute diva. It's a grape that messes with winemakers' sanity. In the vineyard, its thin skins make it particularly rot prone; in the cellar, it's prone to reduction (simply put, an oxygen deprived state that results in a very certain stinkiness).

Even when everything goes relatively well in the vineyard and in the cellar, many Poulsards don't amount to much more than light and brisk reds. They're nice, sure, but nothing to write home about.

Ganevat's Poulsard l'Enfant Terrible is one of the most serious and structured Poulsards that I've tasted. Its lightness of body and pale color belie the wine's almost brutal intensity. The wine has a ruthless tension and a palate-saturating concentration. Yet, it's an invigorating wine - the intensity presented in a seemingly weightless fashion. The aromatics are gentle and beguiling: tart berries, spice, orange rind, earth and flowers.

For Ganevat's Poulsard, the 2010 vintage hits an almost ideal equilibrium of concentration and taut acid structure. There's a crystalline purity of expression here that's just lovely.

Over the past six months, I've received countless emails asking when Ganevat will be arriving complete with wish lists. In France, Ganevat has completely blown up. He was the person everyone was talking about at the Dive Bouteille, France's premiere natural wine fair this winter. He's revered in the Paris wine bar scene.

We were one of the first U.S. retailers to work with these wines. We had the run of Ganevat's wines, basically all for ourselves, buying what now seems like absurd quantities of his most limited wines. That has ended. We're very happy to see Ganevat getting his due, but be warned quantities are very limited.

To order, reply to this email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits