2014 Benedicte et Stephane Tissot Arbois Vin Jaune En Spois (620ml)
Stéphane Tissot is a tireless and vigorous promoter of individual sites and natural wines. He brings technological experience from his work in Australia and South Africa, and combines this with his ruthless yield reduction philosophy and very serious 'small batch' winemaking which is carried out as naturally as possible. Tissot plants mostly on clay and limestone, all sites are farmed biodynamically and yields are kept low, averaging only 30 h/l per hectare. Ferments are allowed to commence naturally and the still wines are bottled without filtration and little or no SO2 is added across the board. Vibrancy and fruit presence is a signature across all his wines. Given Stéphane is constantly experimenting and obsessively seeking improvements; he is at the forefront of the Jura revolution and produces terroir-driven wines of depth, intensity, interest and undeniable quality.
The low-yielding biodynamic Savagnin grapes for these Vin Jaunes are hand-picked and the juice fermented in steel tanks. The mostly clay soils give wines of higher acidity (whereas limestone gives less acidity and more minerality), and strong backbone. After the primary fermentation the wine is part-filled (around 85%) into old barrels (228 lt. usually) and a 'flor' yeast veil or 'voile' develops on the surface of the wine, protecting it from oxidation and adding complex aromas and flavours to the wine. The barrels are stored in a cool but 'airy' cellar (not underground) for around 6-7 years so the dryer atmosphere causes the evaporation of water and therefore concentration of flavours and reduction of the wine volume. In fact, usually only 620ml. (the size of a Vin Jaune bottle) remains from a litre. This is very expensive wine to make, as not only is there a huge volume loss, but often some barrels need to be culled.
The En Spois plot is at the top of the slope on clay and Triassic blue marls, along with some limestone influence, planted between 1993 and 2000. Given the youth of the vines and the exposed plot, the Vin Jaune from here is often elegant and approachable, and a great introduction to these fantastic single site wines.