Gnarly Imports: Le Clos des Grives

Like many, Jura is a region that we have been enchanted by ever since our first taste, a love affair that was cemented with out first Percée du Vin Jaune and visit to the region in 2013. Tucked away in the far east of France, Jura feels like the land that time forgot, with a beguiling combination of ancient terroir (the term Jurassic stems from here), unique grape varieties, and highly idiosyncratic winemaking techniques and rituals. Throw in the fact that Jura has the highest proportion of organic viticulture of any region in France (over 50%) and it's easy to see why it has become the darling of the natural wine scene in recent decades.

Yet despite it's growing reputation, Jura remains tiny: Less than half a percent of France's total production and one-sixth the size of neighbouring Burgundy; Chablis alone has a greater output than all of Jura. With this in mind we are delighted to bring to the UK our own exclusive Jura imports from pioneering domaine, Le Clos des Grives.

Le Clos des Grives is a legendary Jura domaine and the very first to be certified organic in the region way back in 1968. Today there are 4 hectares of prime south/southwest facing vines growing in marl limestone in the village of Chille. Here all five of the main Jura varieties - Chardonnay, Savagnin, Pinot Noir, Poulsard and Trousseau are cultivated, harvested by hand and made into no less than 10 exceptional cuvées.

Chardonnay 'Musicienne' 2018 (£27)Chardonnay from 30-35 year old vines, fermented with native yeasts and aged 80% in old oak and 20% in stainless steel. Intense and spicy with preserved lemon, pastry and subtle smoke aromas leading to a typically taut and long Jura Chardonnay finish.

Savagnin Ouille 'Draine' 2019 (£26): Made in the 'ouille' or topped up style, Draine is gently oxidative Savagnin, an ancient Jura variety now known to be the parent grape of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Grüner Veltliner among others. Intense and very saline with sherry-esque aromas of dried fruit, lemons and walnuts culminating in a long, savoury finish.

Chardonnay 'Nada' 2020 (£33): Nada is hand-harvested Chardonnay wild fermented and bottles without fining, filtration or sulphur after 10 months in barrel. Richly textured with stone and citrus fruit, wet wool and spicy nougat aromas. This is a little more round and savoury than Musicienne but still has great tension.

Savignin 'Solitaire' 2017 (£36): Solitaire is Savagnin from 35 year old vines aged for 30 months in barrel under flor without topping up. A powerful, intense baby vin jaune with an incredible array of flavours including walnuts, baking spices, citrus blossom and celery leading to a massive, savoury finish.

Trousseau 'Litorne' 2020 (£27): Litorne is a lithe and ethereal Trousseau with gorgeous sweet red berry fruit, a dusting of black pepper and a hint of volatile acidity providing a nice floral lift. A delightful introduction to Trousseau and the red wines of Jura.

Pinot Noir 'A Bec.. 2020 (£26): As you might expect from a region bordering Burgundy, Jura produces some superb examples of Pinot Noir. This is a beautifully balanced expression with silky raspberry and damson aromas and hints of forest floor and exotic spice adding complexity.

Poulsard 'Nada' 2020 (£33): This is the Poulsard from the Nada range - so unfined, unfiltered and without sulphur or other additions. Quite a deep expression for this often featherweight variety with a hazy ruby appearance, damson and red cherry fruit, and plenty of savoury, gamey complexity.

Vin Jaune 2014 (£55): The jewel of any Jura producer's crown, the Vin Jaune is 100% Savagnin aged in 228l barrels for 7 years under a yeast flor. After this time, around one-third of the wine evaporates, the reason behind the unique 620ml clavelin bottle. Drinking a bottle of vin jaune is always a memorable experience and this one is truly scintillating, with wonderful richness and beguiling aromas of walnuts, spice, curry leaf and dried fruit.

Vin de Paille 2014 (£39): A sweet wine made by semi-drying the grapes on straw beds to concentrate the sugars. The Clos de Grives Vin de Paille is a 50-50 blend of Savignin and Poulsard that yielded just 15-20 litres of juice per 100kg after drying. After a slow fermentation that took over a year(!) the wine was aged for a further 3 years in barrel. Incredible concentration with powerful, fruity aromas of raisins, apricots, quince, honey, and a beguiling spicy side. 

Macvin du Jura NV (£39): Macvin is a liqueur made from a blend of one-third Franche-Comté marc (aged for a minimum of two years in barrels) with two-thirds Chardonnay grape juice taken before fermentation. It is then aged for a further year in barrel before bottling. A great accompaniment to both cheese and dessert with caramelised fruit, grape and spice notes.

Thanks very much for reading, you will find the full range of wines from Le Clos des Grives as well as those of many other top Jura and producers in store and in the dedicated collection on our website.