Domaine Desire Petit 'Cote de Caillot' Arbois Melon a Queue Rouge 2022
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There's nothing 'petit' about the passion — or the barrels — at this 3rd generation winery in Arbois-Pupillin now run by Damien and Anne-Laure Petit. The domaine was started in 1932 by Anne-Laure and Damien Petit's grandfather Désiré Petit, who planted about 1.5 hectare in the Côte de Feule. Now the estate is 27 hectares, and was certified organic in 2019. Since 2008, Damien, who works the vineyard and makes the wine, has pushed more and more towards more natural viticulture and is also using Biodynamic preparations and methods in the vineyards. Organic fertilizers were abandoned four years ago in favor of soil aeration, herbs, and flowers.
To aid them in their efforts to work naturally in the cellar, they have some helpful friends and neighbors in Pupillin like Julien Mareschal of Domaine de la Borde; there's also the legendary Pierre Overnoy, who apparently instructed Damien to mix some Marc (grape brandy) with water to subdue some concerning fermentation issues in a barrel instead of using sulfur. Thanks, neighbor!
Their Melon-à-Queue-Rouge is a Jura subtype of Chardonnay with its own character. Though Jura is known for nutty oxidative wines at times, this is 'topped-up' or ouillé, aged in demi-muid, meaning it is made in a more typical style for white wine. That doesn't mean it is missing that special Jurassic something. There's some subtle Comté rind here along with notes of popcorn, lemon oil, and a silky texture. Desire Petit is still one of the best values around and the wines get better every vintage. They are textbook examples, great for those who want to learn about the Jura; they will not disappoint long-time Jura fans, either. Jonathan Kemp