Domaine de la Touraize, Les Moulins Arbois Blanc (2020)

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André-Jean (“A-J”) Morin is the eighth generation of Morin to tend the vine in Arbois, beginning with his ancestor Etienne in 1704. A-J obtained organic certification in 2016 and biodynamic certification in 2019, and his approach in the vineyards is rigorously labor-intensive: not only is harvest conducted by hand, but nearly all vineyard work is performed manually. A-J even de-stems his reds by hand, using an old local tool known as a crible (famously employed by Pierre Overnoy in Pupillin): a wooden plank with grape-sized holes over which the harvested bunches are rolled back and forth until the fruit falls through.

André-Jean’s approach in the cellar is adamantly non-interventionist: he never adds yeasts, never chaptalizes, never adds sulfur before malolactic fermentation is finished, never pumps the wines, never fines, never filters, and keeps sulfur additions between 10 and 20 milligrams per liter. Despite a relative absence of controls, however, A-J’s wines are unfailingly clean, precise, and expressive—a reflection of his exacting, fastidious working regimen. Contrary to the majority of our imports from the region, most of Touraize’s white wines are topped-up in barrel, offering a bare-knuckled minerality uncomplicated by oxidative notes yet still humming with telltale Jura salinity and power.

Les Moulins is a southwest-facing vineyard of grey-blue marl situated at 350 meters altitude, and Touraize owns a 0.75-hectare parcel of co-planted Chardonnay (two-thirds) and Savagnin (one-third) there, planted between the late 1950s and the late 1990s. After whole-cluster pressing, the juice is blended and co-fermented in 20-hectoliter casks, where it spends 18 months on the fine lees with regular topping-up. As with the Chardonnay “Ammonites,” the marl soils here lend “Les Moulins” breadth and power, with the Savagnin contributing notes of spice to the dominant flavors of peach and apricot. Given the richness with which the wine enters the mouth, its finish is surprisingly tense and long, suggesting years of potential evolution in bottle.