Tissot Chardonnay “Les Graviers” 2006
The Tissot wines are, I believe, the only Jura wines of any consequence in the province of British Columbia right now. This is a shame, indeed a massive shame given the quality of this bottle. It is a pleasure, too, since I can anticipate how much more discovery there is to be had in this region without the thrill of instant gratification (which should not be underestimated). It’s my hope that more Jura wines will be brought into the province.
The Jura, for those who don’t know, is a small pastoral region in eastern France that has some surprisingly unique qualities. First, the Jura has some of the oldest vines in France. Why is that? Mainly because no one had enough money to pull out the old vines to plant new ones. As a result, the vines are storied and unproductive – but what fruit they do give is full of character and complexity. Second, the name Jura is taken from the Jurrasic period of history, for which it is named as that period had the most significant influence on its geology, particularly its limestone. The soil itself is typically made up of heavy clay, and the climate, along with the soil, tend to produce fairly acidic wines. Some suspect this is the reason that the Jura has so many oxydative wines – to compensate for the acidity.
Tissot, still named after winemaker Stephane’s parents Andre and Mireille, is one of the Jura’s leading wineries. Stephane himself worked in both South Africa and Australia prior to beginning work at the family domain in the 90’s. He converted the entire domain to organic viticulture, “as a means and not an end” according to him. Stephane believes these methods are the future of viticulture. Tissot makes several reds and whites, including four single vineyard chardonnays, of which this is one.
This wine is barrel-fermented and made in a fairly burgundian style. The wine itself is stunning. It has a nose of nuts, cherries, green apple, grass and some other stone fruits. The palate is extremely Burgundian in some ways, and yet utterly singular in others. It tastes like carrots, celery, nuts, dried cherries, licorice, and grass. I honestly can’t get over how flavourful and intriguing this is at the same time. It has all the qualities of uniqueness that wine geeks love, but also all the depth and flavour that all wine drinkers crave – with a particularly massive mid-palate. To be honest, this is one of the best chardonnays I’ve ever tasted and it destroys anything I’ve tasted from California. It’s rich, unctuous, bright, clean, soft, balanced, and unique. In a word: stunning.
$65 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars
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