Commendatore, Domaine de l’Octavin

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Commendatore, 2018, Domaine de l’Octavin

A juicy and meaty Trousseau with berries in abundance and a hint of mushroom (in a good way)

Region: Jura, France
Grape(s): Trousseau
Genre: Organic & biodynamic
Low Sulphur: Zero
Tasting Notes: Redcurrant, blackcurrant, sour cherry, meaty, forest floor, mushroom, umami

Alice Bouvot set up Domaine de l’Octavin in 2004 from a small cellar in Arbois, Jura and started with a couple of hectares of her own vines. She learned her craft in Burgundy and Bordeaux but was drawn to Jura for its diversity and now has around five hectares of the big five Jura grapes: Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir. In 2013, after some poor vintages but an ever-growing demand for her wines, she started to buy grapes from friends (including some absolute star natural wine growers like Philippe Brand & Pierre Boyat) and now makes a range of wines in her négociant line. Her wines from the domaine are certified organic and biodynamic, as are many of the négoce wines, and they are always unfiltered, unfined and unadulterated (never any SO2). The result is vibrant and living wines that show great vintage variation and energy. She is a true queen of natural winemaking, but a no-nonsense farmer at heart.

Probably Alice’s signature red, with 50-plis year old Trousseau vines planted on marl soils in Les Corvées. It spends 8 months (yes, eight) macerating in cuve, with no pigeage or remontage, with almost all the grapes destemmed but a few whole bunches present for good measure. This gives intensity and depth to the wine, but the tannin structure is still pretty light – with fresh red and black berries, some gamey, meaty, mushroom and umami elements balanced with the fruit and tingling minerality. Ideal to sit around a French farmhouse, eating pigeon, blackberries, a mushroom duxelle, maybe grate on a little truffle. Equally enjoyable in Croydon.