2018 Anne et Jean-Francois Ganevat, Vin de France Rouge “Cuvee Madelon” Morgon/Jura, France.
The Jura’s guru, Jean-Francois Ganevat makes some of France’s most unique and beautiful wines, along with a collection of wildly amusing Vin de France bottlings that from organic/biodynamic vines from friends all around France, including some prime old vine Cru Beaujolais sites, like in this Cuvee Madelon which is a blend of Gamay from Morgon and a selection of local Jura varietals. Ganevat, who is known for his gorgeous Chardonnay bottlings that rival many top Burgundian icons, worked under Jean-Marc Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet, before taking over his family’s ancient cellars and tiny Jura set of vineyards where he turned it into one of the most intriguing domaines in the country, certainly in the region. The Cuvee Madelon is quite rustic and leathery to start with a bit of natural funk and horsey notes, but it opens nicely with gorgeously textured fruit and complex layers of flavors including wild strawberry, tart plum, dusty raspberry and cherry with some racy spices, citrusy (orange) acidity, along with a hint of cedar, snappy herbs and a mix crushed flowers. Ganevat’s Cuvee Madelon is lighter in color than a classic Beaujolais and has a silky smooth medium body with just 11.5% natural alcohol. This Cuvee Madelon is quite delightful with its Gamay core and what seems like some Trousseau influence that comes through as it gets air, it is best served with a chill and enjoyed with simple cuisine, maybe a selection of mountain cheeses, though surprising, it went remarkably well with a ginger/curry and rice wrap! These Vin de France wines were created originally, according to Ganevat, after consecutive vintages of losing large portions of his harvest to frost and severe weather, forcing him to innovate to make more wine. So In partnership with his sister Anne, he went to friends in Alsace, Beaujolais, and Savoie to source more fruit, then added Beaujolais, the Rhone and the Macon in the following years.
The Domaine Ganevat wines, imported by Kermit Lynch, are based around ancient and classic Jura grapes, they are from his biodynamic vineyards in this remote alpine region of France with its distinct Jurassic era limestone soils that promote transparency and delicacy of flavors, with Jean-Francois doing a head spinning array of offerings from the old school oxidative style Savagnin to a heavenly palate and nuanced Poulsard, along with the mentioned Chardonnays and Trousseau, plus a sublime Pinot Noir. For these wildly amusing Vin de France efforts, he buys grapes from trusted growers, which he brings back to his cellars and blends them with some Jura grapes or another region’s varieties with no known reason or pretense of tradition with some crazy blends that include Muscat to Aligote, Cote-Rotie Syrah to Savoie Mondeuse along with Alsace Gewurztraminer and Clairette! Ganevat lists, 50% to 60% Gamay from Morgon along with 40% to 50% indigenous Jura varietals for his Cuvee Madelon, though in France this bottling is listed as 100% Gamay, all from organic grapes sourced from 60 to 80 year old vines with the Gamay coming off classic granite soils, while the Jura has their marl and limestone. Ganevat uses 100% whole cluster and natural yeast fermentation with hand pilage and almost no added sulfur at any point. The Vin de France reds get about a year of aging in used barrels, mostly very ex-Burgundy casks, but this Cuvee Madelon saw ten months in large foudre to mature before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. While first and foremost I recommend Ganevat’s absolutely stunning Côtes du Jura “Les Grands Teppes Vieilles Vignes” Chardonnay, which sees close to three years in barrel and is world class stuff, like a cross between a Raveneau Grand Cru Chablis and a Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet! But, for totally fun and amusement check out these Ganevat Vin de France wines.
($49 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive