Transcending His Own Greatness

What happens when one of the millennium’s most revered growers is forced by his vines’ tiny yields to find other fruit sources to ply his craft?

In the case of Jean-François Ganevat, sheer magic is created. Due to dramatically reduced crops in 2013 and 2014 he called on other Jura growers, with Chardonnay vines in terroirs as great as his, to share their fruit.

The result was his absolutely riveting 2014 Côtes du Jura Le Montceau and 2013 Côtes du Jura Les Compères. Both wines come from the same marne du lias Jurrasic limestone—a soil type also found in Gevrey-Chambertin. Yet, they are strikingly different, due to specific terroir and vintage character.

And it’s a thrill to be able to offer both wines in a mixed three-pack.

Joining a Noble Lineage

What Ganevat accomplished in 2013 and 2014 reminds us that great winemakers—who are also great judges of terroir—can make stunning wine regardless of vineyard ownership. Bruno Giacosa did it throughout his fabled career, most notably in the 1960s and 1970s when every wine he made was from purchased fruit.

The Conternos also did it prior to 1978, when every Monfortino was from someone else’s grapes. And throughout Champagne’s history, the great prestige cuvées have been made, almost without exception, from a marriage of purchased and domaine-grown grapes.

Ganevat is very much a part of this noble, time-honored tradition, and this new set of wines proves it.

Burgundy in his Blood

His ability to tackle diverse terroirs is in part due to his training: years spent working and learning in Burgundy, including a long stint as cellarmaster at the fine Jean-Marc Morey domaine in Chassagne-Montrachet.

Yet, while his wines have a Burgundian finesse, their purity of expression makes them quintessentially Jura in personality. His wines are like no others.

But not only are they unlike other producer’s wines, they also are profoundly different from each other. And the two wines in our mixed 3-pack richly demonstrate this.

Two Very Different Wines

To begin with, Ganevat’s approach in making Le Montceau seems disarmingly simple—whole-cluster pressed, and left alone to age in neutral demi-muid. Yet, it expresses its terroir’s intense citrus and mineral character with startling clarity.

While Les Compères vinification and aging is similar to Montceau’s, it offers a striking contrast: mouthfillingly rich, yet light on its feet, Ganevat makes it in partnership with Philippe Bouvret for his Epicuréa wine and cheese shop, located in the central Jura town of Poligny. Jean-François created Compères specifically to accompany the regional cheeses available there, which it does to perfection.

Virtually unknown for a time, Ganevat has become a cult star, and his microscopic production is increasingly hard to find not only in the United States, but worldwide. 

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