Domaine Pecheur

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The Domaine Pecheur began producing wine in 1976 from a single hectare of vineyards.  Located in Darbonnay, in the Cotes du Jura appellation, the domaine is owned by Christian and Patricia Pêcheur who, since its inception, have worked diligently to improve and expand production of classic Jura wines.  Now, the domaine extends over eight hectares with vineyards primarily situated on the hillside slopes of the villages of Darbonnay and Passenans with an extension into the fabled town of Voiteur for the production of Chateau Chalon.

Christian was schooled at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune after which he returned to the domaine in 1992 to produce the family wines.

The vineyards are planted to the classic Jura mix of grape types: Chardonnay, Savagnin, Ploussard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir.  The average age of the vineyards varies from between 35 to 50 years, which is to say, the Pêcheur family is working almost exclusively with old vines.  The grapes destined to produce the Crémant and the still white wines, aside from the Vin Jaune and the Chateau Chalon, are planted to rocky, pebbly soil rich in dolomite.  The red grape varieties are planted on soil of “marne rouges” (red marlstone).  The Savagnin harvested for purposes of production of Vin Jaune and Chateau-Chalon is planted to the classic and required “marne bleu”.

The vineyard work is conducted according to organic principles but the domaine is not certified organic.  Neither pesticides nor herbicides are utilized.  Grapes are hand-harvested.  The harvest begins with the gathering of a small lot of each of Savagnin, Chardonnay and Ploussard to create the Vin de Paille; these grapes are left to dry naturally for several months before pressing.  This is followed then by harvesting Chardonnay destined to become the bone-dry, sparkling Crémant du Jura.  Then, in succession, additional Chardonnay is harvested to make the various still cuvées, followed by the harvest of the red grapes.  Finally, the Savagnin is collected to produce the Vin Jaune and the Chateau-Chalon.

The whites are all barrel-fermented and barrel-aged.  The Chardonnay spends two years in barrel without topping up (“non-ouillé”); the reds are generally aged in small, older barrels for at least one year.  The Savagnin is aged for 3 to 6 years before bottling; the Vin Jaune undergoes an “elevage” of six years and three months … the Chatea-Chalon even longer.

Crémant du Jura White: Made from 100% Chardonnay, the Cremant du Jura is aged on the lees for three years before disgorgement.  Clean and mineral, this wine is bone dry, with slight tart apple fruit.  There is no dosage applied, shaping a pure sparkling wine that clearly expresses the profound terroir of this remarkable region.
Crémant du Jura Rosé: a sparkling wine made of 2/3 Poulsard and 1/3 Trousseau that carries the structural elements of these red varieties.  It spends 30 to 36 months “sur lattes” before disgorgement and has a vinous character on the palate.  While appropriate as an aperitif, it has the ability to pair well with a range of cuisine.
PECHEUR-CHARDONNAY Cotes du Jura Blanc Chardonnay: fermentation and one year of elevage are both hosted in large, 600L barrels.  An intensely mineral wine with bright acidity.
PECHEUR-Cotes-du-Jura-Cuvee-speciale Cotes du Jura Blanc « Cuvée Spéciale »: the wine follows the typical « Speciale » approach of a Chardonnay / Savagnin blend, in equal parts for this cuvee.  The Savagnin passes through barrels “sous voile”, while the Chardonnay is in barrel that is not topped-up, but does not have a veil formed at the surface.  Chiseled minerality radiates through the typical Jurassien nutty, oxidative aromas in this very classic wine.
PECHEUR-POULSARD Cotes du Jura Rouge Poulsard: the Poulsard is a delicate wine that would not perform well in small barrel, so part is vinified in 600L demi-muid with the balance in steel tank.  Wild red berries, pale color and a pleasant airiness make this wine a delight to drink.
PECHEUR-TROUSSEAU Cotes du Jura Rouge Trousseau: made exclusively in neutral oak barrels, the wine carries moderate tannin, minerality and darker fruit hinting at brambly sous-bois notes.
PECHEUR-TROIS-CEPAGE Cotes du Jura Rouge « Cuvée des Trois Cépages »: a wine made from the three red grapes of the Jura (Ploussard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir) in equal proportions, all of which are fermented together and then aged in barrel for at least one year.
Pecheur Savagnin: Classic Savagnin from the Jura, this wine is aged at least 3 years “sous voile” in barrel before being bottled.  Compared to other sectors of the Jura, the Savagnin is more airy and tame, with a atrractive fresh minerality underscored by exotic notes of curry and roasted nuts.  Limited in production, we only receive a handful of cases a year.
PECHEUR-MACVIN Macvin du Jura: made in classic fashion, where 1/3 of the wine is distilled Marc and 2/3 is unfermented Chardonnay juice.  It spends four years in barrel prior to bottling.  A surprising and unusual treat for the uninitiated.
PECHEUR-VIN-JAUNE-W Vin Jaune Cotes du Jura: the Jurassien classic, with aged Savagnin that rests sous-voile for at least seven years.
PECHEUR-CHATEAU-CHALON Chateau-Chalon: A more intense version of Vin Jaune, thanks to the combination of steeper slopes, southern exposure and blue marlstone soil in this iconic appellation.
PECHEUR-VIN-DE-PAILLES Vin de Paille Cotes du Jura: the majority of the blend is Chardonnay (70%), along with 15% Savagnin and 15% Poulsard.   A miniscule amount of concentrated juice is pressed from the grapes that have dried for several weeks after harvest.  A rich wine, yet not heavy or tiring, as the acidity provides lift on the palate and leaves a pleasantly complex finish of orchard fruit.


The Glories of Sweetness

Long ago, sweetness in any form was far rarer than today, and it was prized thusly. In our era of ubiquitous corn syrup, junk food, and soda, it is difficult to imagine a world in which sugar was special, and the overall difficulty in selling sweet wines across all markets testifies to that. Still, sweetness in wine—real wine whose sweetness has not been coerced—remains one of nature’s rare gifts. Producing sweet wines requires a grower to be courageous, as she must wait to harvest and risk late-season vagaries of weather, or, in passito-style wines, assume the risk of air-drying fruit for upwards of half a year in her cellar. Sweet wine production requires prodigious effort for feeble yields, which generally then take longer to produce and longer to sell than their dry counterparts.

An Ode to Vin Jaune

… A hunched figure, barely visible in the twilight, barred the great subterranean cellar’s modest entrance. Ragged and weary from their journey, the five sommeliers looked at one another with surprise; the old book had mentioned nothing of a gatekeeper. They had followed the map with great care, the promise of long-buried vinous spoils, theirs for the taking, having sustained them through the endless Krug-less days—but it seemed a final challenge awaited. The sentinel scowled at them from beneath his large hood.

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2014 Poulsard Pêcheur

Drinking this exquisite version of Poulsard (2014) from Pêcheur tonight. Elegant, clean, so very ALIVE and a perfect companion to so many different types of cuisines. What a joy! NIR Neal: I, too, have been taken with this wine having had the opportunity to taste it now stateside.  Every bit as you describe:  star-bright; autumn

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