caves jean bourdy

Arlay, Jura, France

Jean Francois and Jean Phillipe Bourdy are 15th generation wine makers at the 500 years old Caves Jean Bourdy. Since their family began making wine in the 1500s the cellar they work in and the house they live in has not really changed and Jean Francois insists that their winemaking has not changed either. They still have wines in their cellar from 1781…. Talk about history.

The Bourdy’s do not make young, fresh and fruity wines, they make wines that will stand the test of time and their wines can age for many many years. Typically wines are held back 3-5 years in barrel before they are even released.

They have been practicing Biodynamics for the last 11 years, receiving their Demeter certification in 2010. Both brothers fear chemical use not only for the health of their families that work the land but also for the natural world around them. Sustainability is key if they want to be around for another 500 years.

Vineyards are a mix of vines 60-80 years in age and any new plantings are from cuttings of their own vines. They use very small tractors in their vineyard to ensure soil structure. Dynamized cow manure from their neighbor’s cows is the only form of fertilizer they use. To control disease they use a mixture of whey and flower teas. They also use copper and sulphur in tiny amounts.

Their blended red wines are always mixed in the field and co-fermented, which means the cuvee is slightly different each year. Poulsard is very delicate and in cold vintages can fail to flower and fruit. It makes up anywhere from 10%-30% of their red blend each year along with Trousseau and Pinot Noir in equal parts. Reds are a blend of free run and press wine with skin contact for around 2 weeks.

After harvest white grapes are pressed immediately, never sitting for more than 2 hours. All wines are fermented with native yeast in old oak vats. Typically fermentation takes 3-4 days and starts very quickly after pressing. Old oak is the only vessel used in their cellar. Each wine is topped up in barrel during the first year but because their cellars are so cold and damp, they top them up only once. This slow oxidation produces incredibly compelling wines. Wines are always lightly filtered before bottling, but because of the length of time spent in barrel, they are naturally quite clear. They do not fine the wines.

These wines should be opened in advance but do not require decanting. According to Jean Francois, a slow oxidation is the best way to enjoy these wines. Once opened, the wines will remain fresh for a week or more. Whites should be drunk at 16 degrees and red at 18 degrees. Jean Francois insists that the still wines do not belong in a fridge.


Cremant Du Jura 

100% Chardonnay made in the Champagne method. Bright and crisp, mineral and green fruited. A quaffer!


2011 Cote Du Jura Rouge

A field blend of Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir aged for 4 years in barrel without being topped up before bottling. A delicate and light wine with beautiful floral and red fruited tones.


2011 Cote Du Jura Blanc

100% Chardonnay aged for 4 years in barrel without being topped up before bottling. Oxidative in style but with incredible freshness and acidity.


2011 Cote Du Jura Blanc Savagnin

100% Savagnin aged for 4 years in barrel without being topped up before bottling. This is a “baby Vin Jaune” according to Jean Francois. Powerful aromatics and richness.


2006 Vin Jaune:

100% Savagnin aged for 7 years in barrel under a veil of yeast called “flor”. It’s very difficult to express the power and grace of the Bourdy’s Vin Jaunes in words. These are some of the most age-worthy wines on earth and demand attention at the table. Bright and nutty with incredible freshness and acidity, these are big wines that should be drunk at the table.


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