Marnes Blanches - Vin de Paille 2014 375ml
Savagnin, Chardonnay, and Poulsard
From the importer-
Vin de Paille literally means straw wine referring to the traditional practice of drying the grapes in boxes lined with straw mats prior to pressing. This is a style of wine commonly confused with or mistaken for Vin Jaune, yet is wildly different in every way. There are strict rules as to what Vin de Paille is, and within those confines, many unique styles arise (For those of you interested in the ins and outs of this style of wine, our friend and Jura expert Wink Lorch has a fascinating write up on her website: http://jurawine.co.uk/the-wines/vin-de-paille/). The Fromont’s make theirs with a blend of Savagnin, Chardonnay, and Poulsard and allow them to raisin over the course of five months before a long pressing. The nose is exquisite with notes of brown sugar, dried figs, stewed black cherries, black tea, and a piquant, briny quality. There are also deeper aromas redolent of anise and caraway. Though it has quite a bit of residual sugar, it isn’t cloying on the palate due to ample acidity. Whether you are a lover of Vin de Paille or just trying one for the first time, put this on your short list for after-dinner cheese courses: you won’t regret it.
Natives of the Jura, but from farming rather than winemaking backgrounds, Géraud and Pauline Fromont began this Domaine when they were in their mid-20s, and are ambitious, talented young winemakers. They share all vineyard, cellar, and sales duties, and are rising stars in the region.
The Marnes Blanches vineyards are divided between three towns: Cesancey, Vincelles, and Ste-Agnès. The Fromonts acquired their Cesancey vineyards first, and those feature the “white marl” soil that gives the Domaine its name, with topsoil of limestone. The vineyards in Ste-Agnès and Vincelles are primarily red marl, with fossilized limestone. With vines up to 100 years old and interesting local strains such as Melon-Queue-Rouge and Savagnin Muscaté, the Fromonts have excellent material to work with in the cellar. They began farming organically immediately upon beginning the Domaine in 2006 and are now Ecocert certified, with plowing between rows.
As with most Jura producers, the Fromonts make a variety of cuvees ranging from ouillé whites, to sous-voile whites, to Crémants white and rosé, single variety reds, and a delicious vin de paille. They work with all native yeast. Parcels are vinified separately and aged in either stainless steel or neutral cask. Sulfuring is minimal, and they’ve begun tentatively to experiment with sans soufre winemaking.
The Fromonts ouillé white wines are labeled “Reflet” and their sous-voile whites “Empreinte” to indicate which wines are purely reflective of terroir, and which are “imprinted” by winemaking style. Of particular note amongst their collection of topped-up wines are Savagnin Muscaté “Le Jensillard” and Chardonnay “Le Levrette” from old vines on fossilized limestone. The reds are typically delicate and elegant, with Poulsard showing the zesty, high-toned notes of pomegranate and blood orange that make us love the grape. These are clean, pure, vibrant wines with all styles well-executed and delicious.