New wave vin jaune?
While many delicious wines were poured at last Sunday’s Small Secrets x Bar Barbara pop-up, this stood out in more ways than one.
Arbois 2007, Vin Jaune, Domaine André et Mireille Tissot ($77.25/620 ml, 10322581)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Savagnin from several parcels. (This is the generic bottling. Now in charge of the estate, André and Mireille’s son, Stéphane, has also been making vineyard-designated vins jaunes since 1993 and recently introduced a Château Chalon.) The grapes are manually harvested, pneumatically pressed and fermented in tanks with indigenous yeasts. The resulting wine is transferred to 228-litre barrels for maturation. Contrary to conventional practice, the barrels are not topped up (the wine lost to evaporation is not replaced). A yeast veil soon forms on the surface, protecting and flavouring the wine. After six years, the wine is racked, lightly filtered and bottled in clavelins, squat 620-ml bottles (620 ml said to be the amount left from a litre of wine). No sulphur is added. 15% ABV. Quebec agent: Les vins Alain Bélanger.
Gorgeous outgoing nose. Lightly oxidized yellow plum and apple with hints of limestone, nuts and curry powder. Bone dry yet there’s a sweet fruitiness unlike anything I’ve encountered in a vin jaune and a freshness whose only parallel (in my experience) is found in Gahier’s 2005. Buoyant acidity enlightens the rich bordering on dense texture, while the fruit is faceted by mineral and butterscotch undertones and white and yellow spice overtones that perfume the long, long finish. Wonderfully pure and clean. Is Tissot pointing the way to a more immediately accessible, fruit-driven vin jaune? In any case, even in its infancy, this is delicious on its own and synergistic with aged Comté and walnuts. It also worked well with shards of old Gouda. (Buy again? Oh, yes. In fact, it’s the kind of wine that, if I had the money, I’d buy a dozen bottles of and open one every two or three years to track its evolution over its sure to be decades-long life.)