Domaine du Pelican in Jura
After days visiting the exquisitely manicured vineyards of Burgundy (where there is not one grape out of order, monitored by drones), Jura felt like a lush hidden Eden reminiscent of the Shire.
A fertile farmland that is only 1-2 hour drive south of the Côte, it used to have a huge wine production until the arrival of phylloxera at the end of the 19th century. From then on, most people switched to farming cows, where it is now famous for its Comte cheese and other dairy products.
As a wine region, it used to be only known amongst sommeliers and others truly “in the know” but the secret is out now, with Overnoy and other domaines such as Ganevat, becoming a popular white Burgundy substitute. Funnily enough Guillaume D’Angerville of the famous Domaine Marquis d’Angerville started his own Jura estate: Domaine du Pelican. The story goes something like this (at least what he shared with me): Guillaume went to his usual restaurant in Paris and asked the sommelier to blind him with a non-Burgundy wine, which stumped him when he discovered it was Chardonnay from Jura not Burgundy. It was a bottle of Stéphane Tissot’s Chardonnay Arbois Les Bruyères 2005. He then set off down south from Volnay and found a few plots for sale in 2012 from Chateau des Chavnanes, then later on from Jean-Marc Brignot and finally the Jura legend, Jacques Puffeney in 2014. The estate is fascinating due to its aggressive expansion, where Jura is a relatively sleepy region compared to Burgundy.
In the beginning, there was only Chardonnay, Savagnin and Trois Cepages (pinot/poulsard/trousseau). When we visited this June, Francois Duvivier (his right hand man from Burgundy and now part owner of Domaine du Pelican) shared many new projects for his new Jura baby, namely extended skin contact Savagnin, sparkling Savagnin, single vineyard Puffeney poulsard and many more in the works. It is a joy to see the creative sparks in a region relatively unencumbered by strict AOC laws.
Critically speaking however, Domaine du Pelican is not truly a typical representation of Jura wine. Its Burgundian roots show but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. It is a product of a marriage between Burgundy and Jura, with the elegance of the former and the complexity and distinctiveness of the latter. This visit to one domaine barely scratched the surface for the region, which I highly recommend visiting before more tourists arrive!
The below were mostly from barrels and may/may not end up as different cuvees. For your reference only below.
Domaine du Pelican Chardonnay 2018: Lovely stone fruit and honey on the nose. There is great energy and tension from the mineral and saline finish.
Domaine du Pelican Chardonnay Grand Courolet 2018: Saline, racey with lemon. Sharp and tight.
Domaine du Pelican En Barbi Chardonnay 2018: Saccharine lemon rind nose. Have not yet been racked. It has less intense acidity than Grand Courolet but still has great minerality and freshness.
Domaine du Pelican Savagnin Ouille 2018: Saline, almost nutty and oxidative nose. Ripe red apples and pear notes on the palate with quite a big of residual sugar left (not yet finished fermentation when we tried from barrel).
Domaine du Pelican En Barbi Savagnin 2018: The nose is more fruit forward and floral here. Gorgeous honey and sweet stone/tropical fruits on palate with hints of minerality.
Domaine du Pelican Savagnin Grand Courolet 2018: From a mix of young and old vines. Shows slight oxidation on nose but I don’t hate it — it’s Jura, baby. There is slight saline nuttiness and savouriness with lemon; great acidity, complexity and depth with honey, honeysuckle and stone fruit. One of the best of the bunch along with the En Barbi Chardonnay.
Domaine du Pelican Savagnin “Maceration Particulier” 2018: Extended skin contact. Got interesting orange wines notes here but with saffron notes. It’s very complex but hard to parse because of its unfinished state. Love the minerality on the finish.
Domaine du Pelican Pinot Noir 2018: Fresh, punchy, juicy red fruit. Good elegance.
Domaine du Pelican Trois Cepage 2018: 60% Pinot, 35% Trousseau and 5% Poulsard. There is much richer dark fruit here compared the pinot and lots more depth. 2018 was very ripe for Jura too. It’s fleshy, with herbs, pepper and spices. A gourmand wine.
Domaine du Pelican Poulsard 2018: Ripe strawberries and cherries. Fresh and easy to drink. Great mineral finish. Inviting and I can’t wait to try more once its bottled.
Domaine du Pelican Trousseau ‘Berangeres’ 2018: From the famous Puffeney parcels. It’s the first vintage bottled and I’m honoured to be amongst the first to try it. It’s darker in colour, more sharp and immense depth. Rich and quite opulent for a trousseau but still quite fresh.