Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rocking Jura Wines from Domaine de la Pinte

Bruno is the man. 
Bruno Ciofi seems perpetually stoked about life. He’s always smiling and sharing stories, and whenever I asked him a question, he listened carefully, took it to heart and provided thoughtful answers from a unique perspective. Talk to him for just a few minutes, and you realize you’re stoked about life as well.

I’ve been a fan of Bruno’s Jura wines for years, having tasted many of them at Weygandt Wines in DC, which imports them. But I’d never had the pleasure of meeting the man behind Domaine de la Pinte until I ran into him at Millésime Bio Fair in Montpellier in January.

His wines are packed with character. Quirky, yet elegant, they scream Jura with their fresh acid and mineral tones, yet the wines avoid some of the more extreme elements associated with the region, like oxidization and intensely funky flavors. I chatted with Bruno for a good 40 minutes or so, tasting some wines I hadn’t tried before. 

I had an absolute blast and was reminded again why I love Jura wines, and why Domaine de la Pinte is such a special producer.

My notes…

2011 Domaine de la Pinte Chardonnay Arbois Pupillin “Fonteneille” - France, Jura, Arbois Pupillin
A blissful and unique Chardonnay. A special selection from limestone and blue marl soils, it smells like dried apricot, clover honey, lemon verbena and crushed rocks. Rich texture but terrific acid and a pure stream of minerals throughout. Yellow apple and green pear fruit are matched with minerals, sage, lemon pepper and mountain stream notes. Such minerality and elegance. Love this stuff. (91 points)

2011 Domaine de la Pinte Arbois “del Ami Karl”France, Jura, Arbois
Aromas of smoke, sour cherries, pickles, clay and a note that reminds me of red beet. All about the freshness on the palate, with crisp acid and lots of minerals. Tangy sour cherry fruit mixes with clay, tobacco and dried rose flavors. Not quite as good as I remember the 2010, but another delicious Poulsard from Bruno. (89 points)

Bruno's loyal assistant... asleep on the job at Millesime BioFair.
2011 Domaine de la Pinte Arbois “a la capitaine”France, Jura, Arbois
Light rose color. Smells like cranberries, rose hips and dried herbs. Such freshness on the palate, with tart berries and red apple peel, matched by notes of roses, dusty road and crushed limestone. So elegant and crisp with a tobacco-laced finish. A blend of Pinot, Poulsard and Trousseau. (90 points)

2011 Domaine de la Pinte Melon à Queue Rouge Arbois PupillinFrance, Jura, Arbois Pupillin
Highly aromatic, with honey, peach and a floral-grass note that reminds me of daffodils and hay. Creamy texture, live-wire acid and such purity on the palate. Nectarine and honeydew melon mix with dried honey and peanut shell. I like to generous feel but it's still precise and elegant. (90 points)

2007 Domaine de la Pinte Savagnin ArboisFrance, Jura, Arbois
Aromas of yellow apple, dried honey, wax and an aroma that reminds of wood after it's been rubbed with that lemon-scented dusting oil, as crazy as that may sound. Tangy as hell on the palate, but full and creamy. Green pear and apricot mix with nutty, dried honey notes. The wine spends 18 months on the lees and five years in barrel, although the oxidation is controlled and not overwhelming. (91 points)

N.V. Domaine de la Pinte Arbois “Cuvée d'Automne”France, Jura, Arbois
Exotic on the nose, rich and waxy with lemon peel, smoke and floral incense. Nutty, complex on the palate with nectarine, dried pineapple and yellow apple. I get some nutty, dried wax notes as well. The oxidation is minor, and as Bruno describes it, this wine is a fresher alternative to Vin Jaune. Really unique and tasty, this would be a great pairing with all sorts of cheese. A blend of 80% Savagnin from 2006 (some of which is oxidized) and 20% Chardonnay from 2008. (90 points)

2005 Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Vin JauneFrance, Jura, Arbois
Smells like nuts, hay, dried wax, lemon peel and white pepper. A complex mix of aromas. Full and waxy on the palate, complex, but full of fresh acid. Flavors of almond, lemon oil, sea brine and green olive combine in a unique package. Finish with notes of preserved lemon, nuts and graham cracker crust. Despite the oxidation, it's still fresh and subtle, and not overwhelming given this style. Delicious stuff, I'd love to cellar some for a decade to see what happens. (91 points)

N.V. Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Vin de Paille “Paradoxe”France, Jura, Arbois
Aromas of glazed pear, peach, honey, preserved lemon and an oily-waxy note. Flavors of apricot, sweet pineapple, honey and mixed nuts on a full-bodied frame with lovely acid. I love the combination of freshness and fullness, and the sweetness is much more reserved and balanced than a lot of dessert wines. Caramel-laden finish. Bruno calls this wine Paradoxe because he says it tastes less sweet than it actually is. Delicious stuff. (91 points)

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