The three hectares farmed by Julien have been re-incorporated into the new Domaine Labet, and they will work on an organic certification programme for the whole Domaine. The main work to be done is to replace the use of herbicide with a manual weeding. The Labet’s have a large proportion of old vines (mainly 50-80 years old), and for their oldest vines that are planted at high densities they intend to use a horse to work them.
In the cellar they follow Julien’s example – for the whites, pneumatic pressing with stems for 2 hours and then juice settles for 12 hours. Fermentation at 18C in 4-10 year old fûts using natural yeast for 10 months. Full malo-lactic. Élevage in a mixture of 4 to 10 year old barrels for 18months without racking but with some lees stirring. One bottling in May without fining or filtration.
And for the reds, generally 100% destemming by hand! The grapes are not crushed and undergo cold pre-fermentation for 5 / 6 days then semi-carbonic maceration. Alcoholic fermentation in 15 year old tronconic wooden vat using natural, indigenous yeasts. Aged for 9 months in 225L barrels, all between 8 to 10 years old. No racking and no filtration.
Julien loves the reductive approach that is used so skilfully by his neighbour Jean-François “Fan-Fan” Ganevat; indeed his wines have much in common with those of Ganevat, particularly in clarity and definition but also in texture.
These wines today are in the top rung of the Jura qualitatively and this year’s releases are even better than ever – they are now rated, alongside Ganevat as Three Stars in the Revue de Vins de France.
- notes from Andrew Guard