Introducing the lesser-spotted Bruno Schueller
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- Bruno Schueller.
- JURA SAVOIE One cannot simply bring together a nation that produces 265 kinds of cheese – Charles de Gaulle
- DOMAINE JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT, Côtes du Jura – Biodynamic
- ANNE JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT (Beaujolais + Jura – generally !)
- Chardonnay, « Grusse en Billat »
- Chardonnay « Chalasses Marnes » vieilles vignes
- Chardonnay « Cuvée Marguerite »
- Savagnin Ouille Chalasses Marnes
- Savagnin Cuvee Prestige
- Vin Jaune Savagnin Vert
- Vin de Table Rouge « J’en Veux » !!! sans souffre
- Pinot Noir « Julien Ganevat » sans souffre
- Trousseau « Sous La Roche » sans souffre
Introducing the lesser-spotted Bruno Schueller
The contemplation of things as they are, without substitution or imposture, without error or confusion, is in itself a nobler hings than a
whole harvest of intervention.
Roll sound, roll camera …Hushed David Attenborough tones:
I am crouched here in an overgrown vineyard in Alsace hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the rarest bird-vignerons in this part of
France, the lesser-spotted Bruno Schueller.
The Schueller belongs to a unique sub-species, inhabiting a small 10-hectare zone around Husseren-les-Châteaux, a hamlet hanging on to
the hillslope below a series of old castle ruins, situated south-west of Colmar. I am actually here in Bildstœcklé, a lieu-dit within the
commune of Obermorschwihr, the southern neighbour of Eguisheim. During the years when the Grands Crus were delimited, most
communes received their "own". Grand Cru. But not Obermorschwihr, and this is where the Schueller will happily ply his craft in the
summer, flitting from vine to vine removing excess vegetation. Although the Schueller might well be classified as part of the biodynamic
family, he is a free spirit and prefers not to be labelled by any overarching organisation. In the autumn the Schueller will migrate to the
cool shelter of the winery and establish himself amongst the gigantic old wooden foudres that abound there. There he stores his wine over
the winter and keeps them to a simple but nourishing diet of zero-sulphur and no other additives.
Once bottled a typical Schueller will begin to show its full aromatic plumage after three to five years. This is when the best Schuellers
take flight and present majestic soaring flavours. The Schueller may give birth to a variety of little Schuellers, some straw yellow, others
deep gold, although the most celebrated examples of the Schueller clan are the Pinot Noir family. Wine twitchers might easily confuse the
Chant Oiseaux and Bildstoecklé with Nuits Saint-Georges, which suggests that it is forgivable not to know your Alsace from your elbow.
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There are more things in heaven and earth…
On a clear day, from the terrace you can’t see Luxembourg at all… this is because a tree is in the way.
Alan Coren – The Sanity Inspector
Pass de Duchy on the left hand side – well that’s what it sounded like to me.
Left side of the Moselle that is.
Take away this country – it has no theme. It is tempting to think of
Luxembourg as a “beuro-country” producing wine only by qualified
majority voting, perhaps highlighting a convergence between the prevailing
styles of Alsace and Germany. In my antediluvian edition of Hugh Johnson’s
Wine Atlas it remains as uncharted as the dark side of the moon, whilst
Andrew Jefford dismisses it as “not worth the detour”. Vines, however, have
been grown on the slopes of Remich since before the Roman conquest, and
survived serious damage by oidium in 1847, phylloxera in 1864 and mildew
in 1878. Today, a thousand grape growers produce around 140,000hl of
mainly white and rosé wine a year. So there. True, many of the wines are
distinctly average; the main problems appear to be massive over-production
and linking the correct grape variety to the appropriate terroir. Aye, but
where there’s muck there are schmucks, (which is where we come in) and
Eric has sourced some brassy numbers. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised,
DOMAINE MATHIS BASTIAN, REMICH
Luxembourg has a long tradition of making wine (since late Roman times). Virtually all production is for white and
sparkling, the major grape varieties being: Rivaner, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.
The climate is one of the coolest in Europe for winemaking (rivalling England supposedly) and Luxembourg also has a
clear-as-mad-mud cru classé system, worthy of the Circumlocution Office. Most wines are labelled as varietals. There
is one covering appellation called Moselle Luxembourgeoise and tasting panels may rank superior wines as Vin
Classes, Premier Crus and even Grands Premier Crus! This system has attracted criticism and a rival organisation
called Domaine et Tradition which encourages local variation and expression and restricts yields.
Domaine Mathis Bastian, a regular visitor to the Guide Hachette comprises 11.7 hectares of vines on chalky soil
located on the exposed slopes of Remich Primerberg overlooking the Moselle.
Check out your primary fruit options with this quintet of friendly Luxembourgers. The Rivaner (Sylaner/Riesling cross
to you), is a yummy fresh pineapple popsicle, off dry with compensating singing acidity – the perfect aperitif wine. The
basic Grand Cru Riesling impresses with its clean lemon-glazed fruit. Its posher big brother is trying to escape the
house and align itself with the Germanic Moselles on t’other side of the river. Well, they say the Riesling is greener on
the other side of the river. These wines will upset your long-held preconceptions about Luxembourg wines (as if). Now
imagine an Alsace Pinot Gris with its ripe honeyed orchard fruit and slide in a little Moselle slatiness. Bastian’s
“Domaine et Tradition” Pinot Gris has finesse illustrated by the manner in which the wine evolves so eloquently in the
glass from the initial nose of meadow flowers broadening into something earthier: medlars and truffles, finally re-
enforced by the burgeoning of the secondary mineral aromas. Think of it as a soothing roasted butternut squash
smoothie. It exudes memories of golden autumn afternoons plumped up on a tussock after a lotos-munching picnic in
Yeats’s bee-loud glade. The blushing twinkling oeillet Pinot, freighted with amber grapes as Arnold might say, is a rosé
by any other name, similar to the splendid ramato Pinot Grigio that Specogna makes in Northern Italy. Maybe a tad
darker. With its lip-smacking cherry-menthol fruit they’ll be sipping this on the sun-bleached promenades of Etzelbruck
I’ll be bound.
The Grand Premier Cru appellation, by the way, signifies nothing other than some grand premier cru persiflage.
RIVANER VIN CLASSE “CLOS DES EGLANTIERS”
PINOT GRIS, “DOMAINE ET TRADITION”
RIESLING GRAND 1er CRU “REMICH PRIMERBERG”
RIESLING “DOMAINE ET TRADITION”
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JURA & SAVOIE
One cannot simply bring together a nation that produces 265 kinds of cheese – Charles de Gaulle
The Jura vineyards occupy the slopes that descend from the first plateau of the Jura Mountains to the plain below. The soils are, in the main,
sedimentary Triassic deposits, or 137irabel deposits of Jurassic marl, particularly in the north of the region. The local grape varieties are
perfectly adapted to the clay soils and produce wine of a very specific regional character. The Trousseau is one such, being rich in colour
and tannin. Another local grape variety is Savagnin cultivated on the poorest marly soils. Savagnin is best known as the variety used in the
a film of yeast (une voile) covers the surface, thereby preventing oxidation but allowing evaporation and the subsequent concentration of
the wine. The result is a sherrylike wine with a delicate, nutty richness. Burgundian interlopers also thrive in the Jura (the Haute-Bourgogne
is, after all, just on the opposite side of the Saone valley) with some very fine examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to be found.
Savoie stretches from the French shore of Lake Geneva to the Isère, comprising the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Much of the
terrain is too mountainous to cultivate vines and the Savoie vineyards tend to be widely dispersed. Mondeuse, an indigenous quality variety
produces full-bodied reds with a peppery flavour and a slight bitterness, particularly in Arbin. Of the whites Altesse (also called Roussette
de Savoie) is most notable and is similar to Furmint from Hungary. It is exotically perfumed with good crisp acidity and has a certain ageing
potential. Frangy is the one of the best communes for Roussette de Savoie. The Gringet grape is grown in the village of Ayze. Said to be
related to the Savagnin. Or the Traminer. Or… I can see you’re looking at me quizzically.
DOMAINE JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT, Côtes du Jura – Biodynamic
“To say that his grapes are spun into gold would not be far from the truth; they are entirely otherworldly.” Kermit Lynch
Superb multiple Chardonnay and savvy Savagnins and limpid reds from a grower who worked with Jean-Marc Morey
in Burgundy. Jean-François Ganevat vinifies all of his scattered parcels separately respecting the primacy of terroir.
The Grands Teppes, for example, is from old vines, unfiltered and unsulphured, a wine that will happily age for
another ten years. Pale gold, it has a scent of honey, quinces and white flowers. The complexity of the nose continues
on the palate. The pale Trousseau has plenty of acidity with leather and musk overtones and a peppery finish whilst
the Pinot Noir shows excellent potential for development. The latter achieves its Côtes de Nuits-style concentration by
virtue of minuscule yields of 21hl/ha and strict green harvest. Thereafter the wine undergoes cool maceration (7C) for
9 days before a natural fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts. Pigeage and remontage twice daily give further
extract and colour. Finally, the wine is vinified in 228l barrels lasting 12 months. Dark burgundy colour, nose of
blueberry, black cherry and beetroot, black fruits, chocolate and leather on the palate, frisky acidity – it’s a wine for
Whereas the Trousseau would happily accompany guinea fowl or smoked meats, the Pinot would appeal
with venison or smoked duck breast. Grown in Jura since the 13
century Poulsard’s names are legion: Ploussard,
Peloussard, Pulsard, Polozard, Mescle dans l’Ain. What an enchanting oddity! Such colour – pale colour with
flickering orange, a mad bouquet with plenty of sous-bois and fruits (cherries and strawberries) in eaux de vie. A silk
‘n’ spice trail in the mouth: redcurrants, bilberries and rhubarb tied up with liquorice shoelaces. Worth the detour.
CREMANT DU JURA BRUT
CHARDONNAY “CUVEE FLORINE GANEVAT”
CHARDONNAY “GRUSSE EN BILLAT”
CHARDONNAY “LES GRANDS TEPPES” VIEILLES VIGNES
CHARDONNAY « LES GRANDES TEPPES » VIEILLES VIGNES - magnum
CHARDONNAY CHALASSES VIEILLES VIGNES
CHJARDONNAY « CUVEE DU PEPE »
CHARDONNAY CUVEE CHAMOIS PARADIS
CHARDONNAY CUVEE CHAMOIS PARADIS - magnun
CHARDONNAY “CUVEE MARGUERITE” – magnum
CHARDONNAY “LES GRYPHEES”
SAVAGNIN OUILLE CHALASSES MARNES
SAVAGNIN CUVEE PRESTIGE
CUVEE DE GARDE CHARDONNAY-SAVAGNIN
VIN JAUNE SAVAGNIN VERT – 62cl
SAVAGNIN OUILLE “VIGNES DE MON PERE”
J’EN VEUX ENCORE
J’EN VEUX ENCORE - magnum
PINOT NOIR “BILLAT ET JULIEN” SANS SOUFRE
PINOT NOIR “CUVEE JULIEN GANEVAT” SANS SOUFRE – magnum
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TROUSSEAU “SOUS LA ROCHE” SANS SOUFRE
TROUSSEAU “SOUS LA ROCHE” SANS SOUFRE - magnum
POULSARD VIEILLES VIGNES “L’ENFANT TERRIBLE” SANS SOUFRE
POULSARD VIEILLES VIGNES “L’ENFANT TERRIBLE” SANS SOUFRE - magnum
VIN DE FRANCE « SUL Q » - ½ bottle
ANNE & JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT (Beaujolais + Jura – generally !)
KOPIN CHARDONNAY JURA ET BOURG
LE ZAUNE A DEDEE
Y’ A BON
DE TOUTE BEAUTE
DE TOUTE BEAUTE - magnun
MADELON - magnum
LE JAJA DE BEN
LE P’TIOT ROUKIN
So Tell Me About This Multitude of Ganevats...
Chardonnay « Cuvée Florine Ganevat »
Florine Ganevat, from vines planted sixty years ago, is beautifully composed. From the delicate nose of acacia to a mouth
filled with yellow apricot to a fine, persistent finish seasoned by dry spice, this is an effortless Chardonnay.
The minerality comes through on the nose and the palate with orchard fruit and lemon oil. Taut and acidic, but with such
purity and freshness. A very refined and elegant wine that really leaves a strong impression.
Les Grandes Teppes (ninety-year-old vines, twenty-four months sur lie, aged in demi-muids) may hide initially under a
reductive veil. But evolves into a stunning wine comparable to a top Burgundy. Pale gold, it has a scent of honey, quinces
and white flowers. The complexity of the nose continues on the palate. The wine is thicker and creamier than the Florine
with phenomenal mouthfeel, length and mineral presence. A veritable vin de garde.
The Chalasses Vignes Vieilles from 113 year old vines has tremendous vitality with a fine precise almost flinty nose and
slithery acidity. Épatant!
fluid wordless language of its own, it is vinous electricity. When the distance between ourselves and the wine is eradicated
we don’t have to make the effort to analyse its “hues and fragrances” by lolling the liquid around our mouths, we are
simply content to drink and be charmed
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Ganevat’s Savagnin Presige is pure oxidative delight, remarkably fragrant with hints of orchard fruits (cut apple) mixed
with walnut, dry honey, white pepper and a note of peatiness.48 months sous voile in demi-muid from vineyards on clay
Vin Jaune Savagnin Vert
Vin Jaune is one step beyond with so many tangible and intangible qualities: a butteriness verging on the aroma of warm
cheese (Comté, natch), a cachet of oriental spice, an array of toasted nuts and some eyeball-loosening acidity. This will age
forever and a day.
Savagnin Ouille « Vignes de Mon Père »
Les Vignes de Mon Père is based on Savagnin topped up aged for nine years in barrels and is a massive, explosive,
imposing wine with the complexity of a vin jaune. The wine is so long, the mouth so intense and spicy. Truly amazing – ce
vin va vous 139irab sur le cul.
Vin de Table Rouge « J’en Veux » !!! sans souffre
J’en veux, a melange of various red grapes, has a terrific nose of red fruits and spices and a mouth which is round, fresh
and spicy with a good bite... Sleuths of recondite grapes, clap the deerstalker on your noggin, scrape out a few tunes on
your trusty strad, forego the customary seven percent solution, for the game is afoot. Check out this mystery Jurassic gang.
Ampelographical archivists will lick their lips over indigenous oddities such as Petit Béclan, Gros Béclan, Gueuche (white
and red), Seyve-Villard, Corbeau, Portugais Bleu, Enfariné, Argant (that’s what he has the most) which lead the roll call of
the who’s? who. There are 17 of these small but beautiful varieties nestling in Jean-François Ganevat’s property. Some are
white, like Seyve-Villard, most of the others are red-skinned with white juice. Then, there is Poulsard Blanc, Poulsard
Musqué… all of which combine to have a party in “J’en veux”, a vin du soif, par excellence. “Un vin de table fait de bric et
de broc”, with crunchy tannins, a savoury, rustic red, pure quafferama. With its amusing label of a bloke sconing liquid
from a beer mug this vin glouglou (9.5%) is best served chilled to highlight and enhance the bombinating cherry clafoutis
and pomegranate juice aromas and flavours – behind which lurk bubbly-yeasty notes (imagine the smell of earth after rain).
And is there high VA; well, is the bear a catholic?
Pinot Noir « Julien Ganevat » sans souffre
Cuvée Julien is named after the grandfather of Jean-François, and the schistous vineyard from which the Pinot Noir hails
was planted partly in 1951, with the remainder of the planting being added in 1977. This is a superb vintage in the Jura and
the Cuvée Julien is a terrific wine….one of great vitality, structure and harmony. On the nose the wine is rich in earth and
minerals with spicy, red cherry fruits with some redcurrant and light raspberry high tones. It smells so beautifully pure with
hints of leather, game, dried flowers, baking spices and stone. Fragrant and very alluring. Taut, light of body and energetic
on the palate with pure, fragrant red cherry and redcurrant fruits. Set on a backdrop of schist and stone are hints of leather,
mahogany and soft spice with touches of game, dried flowers and a dab of garrigue. It has a terrific line on the palate and
shows great sense of place with amazing complexity with a brilliant, mineral-laden acid backbone.
Trousseau « Sous La Roche » sans souffre
The Trousseau comes from a terroir which is marne with big stones. It is apparently not necessary to do a green harvest on
this cuvee because the vines are from a selection of old vines that only give small yields (selection massale). The vines face
due south – a tremendous exposition but are on a 50% incline! It has cherry red colour, aromas of red fruits and
blackcurrants and is lively and fresh on the palate with pronounced acidity and just a hint of musk and sous-bois. The Pinot,
from even tinier yields, has brilliant red fruit aromas and flavours. It is pared down, stiletto sharp, with a dimension of
purity that I love.
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