In just over twenty years, Jean-François Ganevat’s wines have soared to be among the most prized by wine lovers, many of whom consider this to be the Jura region’s star domain. A vineyard worked by hand biodynamically, natural vinification and special maturation are some of the keys to this success. A domain that demonstrates how magical wine can be when a fine terroir is combined with a fine vigneron.
Ganevat is a name that wine lovers across the world dream of. It must be said that this is an audacious and immensely talented wine maker who has done much for the world of viticulture, firstly in terms of the region where he works, and secondly in terms of the rapidly progressing movement in natural wines. The Jura owes much to Ganevat, as he has worked hard for the region to gain global renown for its fine terroir wines.
Everything began in 1998, when Jean-François and his sister, Anne, took over the family domain in the Combe de Rotalier (south Jura) thus representing the 14th generation to pick up the torch. This was a return to his roots, after spending several years working in Chassagne-Montrachet with jean-Marc Morey, where he was the winery master. This experience was clearly what shaped his love for Chardonnay and his interest in single parcel vinification – as seen in Burgundy – as well as in long, precise maturation.
The vineyard spans 13 hectares of white and red Côtes du Jura on slopes that are sometimes very steep, and over fifty cuvées are produced here. Jean-François knows his parcels like the back of his hand, with each little nuance of the terroir put in the spotlight. The terroir here is varied, with soils of schist, chalk and marl. And the age factor of the vineyard is notable, too, since over half of the wines are at least 50 years old, with some over 100, and no fewer than 25 grape varieties are planted (Enfariné Noir, Petit Bécland, Scévillard, Geusch, as well as the classic Jura grapes). In order to best respect the terroir and its vines, Jean-François converted his domain to biodynamic production in 2006. The yields are very low and there is no machinery used in the vines, meaning that there is inevitably a lot of work to do. This is where the team comes in, with around 1 person per hectare.
Everything that happens in the winery is done in the spirit of Jules Chauvet: vinifications use only indigenous yeasts, with no additives, sulphur, fining or filtering, and all of this in oak barrels. As natural as possible with very little intervention. The maturation process is carried out in 400-litre barrels or demi-muids for around 2 years, sometimes even more. The methods applied are not set in stone and they are altered depending on the vintage. Jean-François enjoys making original varietal blends, a freedom that comes with such an impressive number of cuvées produced!
To counteract the effects of an unpredictable climate and variability in production, the domain has also developed a négoce which deserves a moment in the spotlight. In 2017, for example, the harvest was so low that the domain brought out only their négoce wines. This is a range of Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir and vin jaune of very high quality.
We love the style of these wines, with everything from simple aperitif cuvées to fine cellaring wines with incredible complexity. Whilst the number of cuvées is remarkable, they still each have their own identity. Whilst both the reds and whites are superb, we have a particular preference for Ganevat’s white wine – their purity, precision and balance make them among some of the best in France!