Michel Gahier!

You’ve heard of Puffeney, yes? And Tissot, surely? The Jura has so many heroes it can be hard to keep up. But someone who’s always managed to fly on the sly is Michel Gahier, who took charge of his father’s seven hectares of vineyards just north of Arbois in 1990. ‘Terroir-driven’ is a phrase that gets bandied about so often, but given the Gahier family’s history in the region dates back to 1525(!) and the vines – some up to 80 years old – have never been treated with chemicals(!!), these really are about as pure and earnest as they come. Genuine reflections of place, hard-yakka vineyard management and time-honoured tradition. Lots to discuss.
This year’s (very limited!) allocation is a banger-after-banger hit parade, and in true Jura fashion we’ll kick off with the trousseau first. The 2022 La Vigne du Louis has all the trademark variety characters – red-berry fragrance met by scents of cracked pepper and worn leather, cherry-bright, supple and silky on the palate, and oh-so-gently tannic. If you’re looking for one to cellar for a while, the 2022 Les Grands Vergers is your guy. A cuvée of quiet power this, from the property’s oldest vines, which sit on marl and stamp the wine with a profound sense of minerality. Even so, it’s delicate and pretty, despite the depth of the dark red-berry flavours and crunchy autumnal feel. 
Whites? Mais bien sûr. Starting things off fresh and lively, the 2022 Lou Blanc is a classic example of topped-up Jura white, still slightly oxidative and ripe with red apple, lemon balm and nectarine zing, plus nutty and stony background detail. Slightly richer, the 2020 Les Follasses is also ouillé (topped-up), but has more quince in the palate, hazelnuts and sherry-like tang, too. Richer still is the 2020 Les Crêts, a chardonnay that shows off the more oxidative side of things, charged with umami and spice that enliven the core of pears, raw honey and marzipan.
Bringing up the rear is a crowd favourite, a wine of eternal interest, the 2018 La Fauqette, which is aged under flor for four years and fashioned from melon à queue rouge – a chardonnay mutant found only in the Jura. So much going on here, bursts of baked apple, lemon curd and honeycomb set against crushed shells, sea spray and that signature musty/mushroomy character that can only come from under the veil. Pass the Comté, ploise.
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