Benedicte & Stephan Tissot Poulsard Vielles Vignes 2011
Poor blood. Love but can’t afford great Cote d’Or? The Jura is the place for you. As indicated in Jancis Robinson’s recent article, the Jura offers wines of incredible interest and quality that, while hot with Somms right now, remain well outside the public and status-seeker eyes.
The Tissot domaine has been a leader not just for quality but also for boosting the image and availability of Jura wines. There is great variety at this domaine, representative of the variety of the region: light, fresh Poulsard, deeply fruit Trousseau, singular Chardonnays, characterful Savignans, the fortified Macvin (lovely with cheese), and everyone’s favourite oxidized wine Vin Jeaune.
Stephan Tissot, who has experience working in both Australia and South Africa, has pushed the modernism of the region, making clean wines from biodynamically farmed vines that for the most part stay away from the more traditional oxidized style (which you will find, for example, with producers such as Puffeney). His efforts have resulted in a series of single vineyard Chardonnays that are amongst the best in the region and as equally terroir driven and exciting as good quality white Burgundy.
Part of this move has come with a better understanding of climate and soil. The soil variations here are just as diverse as Burgundy but there tends also to be a lot of heavy clay, similar to Madiran. As a result, there have been issues with overly high acidity in the past, which some such as Andrew Jefford believe was a reason for the development of the oxidative style (it helps soften the harsh acidity).
The Jura is also a region of old vines (see the label for this wine, which is made from vines 40-70 years of age). The reason for this is, ironically, the lack of interest in the region. The inability to consistently profit meant not enough money for replanting. Now with the resurgence in interest and quality there is plentiful old vine material to work with.
For all the attention given the Chardonnays, Savignans and Trousseaus, it seems lowly Poulsard often goes unheralded. This is a shame because well made Poulsard is, similar to great Beaujolais Cru, a characterful, peppy, fruity and wonderful drinking wine suitable for a wide variety of foods and climates: drink it at room temperature in the fall or chill it slightly for summer fare.
The Tissot Poulsard is a fantastic version of this grape. In 2011 this is full of light red berry fruit, some stem aromas, and mouth-watering acidity. You don’t get massive complexity with this wine, but you don’t want it either. Drinking this is sheer pleasure.
Very Good+ to Excellent
$40 + tax at Kits Wine (I also recently spied this on the list at Wildebeest for a reasonable price)