“Fabulous” is how Julia Harding MW described the 2013 Domaine Jean-François Ganevat Chalasses Marnes Bleues Savagnin. Writing on behalf of Jancis Robinson MW for the Purple Pages, Harding awarded the wine 17.5 points describing it as “rich and full in the mouth yet intensely fresh”, a wine that “fills the mouth but drives with freshness to a long finish”.
This unique wine is produced from the Jura’s signature white grape variety and it has met with resounding praise. La Revue du vin de France says of winemaker Jean-François Ganevat and of the same wine, the Chalasses Marnes Bleues, “A rare variety, Savagnin Vert expresses itself best when grown on slopes of blue marl soils, giving full-body wines with freshness and acidity, powerful but layered, old-school but very refined: he unites the extremes and the best of both worlds with a casual and natural approach.” Jamie Good of The Wine Anorak reinforces this praise when he says of the Savagnin Cuvée Prestige 2004, “These are true terroir wines, and they are thrilling – especially the remarkable Savagnin.”
From very modest holdings Ganevat crafts an extraordinary array of wine from the Jura’s myriad grape varieties, with no less than 17 different varieties accounted for within the 8 or so hectares of the estate. With a history that stretches back to 1650, the Ganevat family have long been involved with the business of growing vines in the Jura region in addition to running a dairy estate. After gaining experience working alongside his father, Jean-François relocated to the neighbouring Burgundy region to further his skills. Here Ganevat worked at the famed Domaine Jean-Marc Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet, before returning in the late 1990s to manage the family estate, which had been focussed solely on vines since the 1970s.
Domaine Ganevat embraces a biodynamic philosophy to manage vines that are more than 90 years old, in addition to sharply restricting the use of sulfur dioxide and releasing wines to the market unfined and unfiltered. The wines undergo an extended period on lees and Ganevat believes this provides sufficient protection for the wines, resulting in sulfur dioxide used in minuscule quantities for the white wines only and not at all for the reds.
Although vin jaune is produced by the domaine, Ganevat chooses to produce the majority of his wine using the ouille or topping-up method, avoiding the oxidative character for which the wines of the Jura are perhaps best known. His approach creates wines that are founded on clarity, intensity and elegance of structure. When reviewing the 2008 Trousseau Plein Sud, Jamie Goode found a wine that was “… fresh and quite elegant with nice acidity and lovely tannins.”
It is from a veritable palette of grape varieties that Ganevat paints a truly unique picture of wines grown in this mountainous region. He says of his winemaking, “I love moving forward always considering what I do and seeing how to better myself, it isn’t about money, it’s a passion. I want to make enjoyable wines without copying anybody.” And it is perhaps this insatiable desire to create that means each release from Domaine Ganevat is fervently anticipated the world over.