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Jean-François Ganevat is drawing from the past to move to the future. Like many of the world’s best winemakers, he has adopted methods and grape varieties long forgotten to make cutting edge wines. After training in Beaune for 9 years Jean Francois returned to make wines at his family Domaine in 1998, the 14th generation of his family to do so since 1650. His focus is on making Jura wines with the same philosophy as the best wines of Burgundy. The Domaine is situated in the unassuming hamlet of La Combe, below the main village of Rotalier. He cultivates 13 hectares of vines with ancient Jura varieties including Petit Béclan, Gros Béclan, Gueuche (white and red), Seyve-Villard, Corbeau, Portugais Bleu, Enfariné, Argant, Poulsard Blanc, all are disallowed at his appellation. Ganevat loves working with these varieties as they are easily drinkable with low alcohol content. They are all inter-planted, like in other ancient vineyard sites across France. As they are not allowed in AOC Côtes du Jura, they are labelled Vin de France wines.
Farming/vinification practices: in 1999, Ganevat converted his property to biodynamic viticulture. In 2006 he completely eliminated the use of sulfur. His crew destems the bunches by hand with a reed tool then the vinification and raising take place in a variety of containers: demi-muids (600-litre casks), larger tronconic casks, and since 2014, unlined clay amphoras from Italy. Jean-François very much likes the freshness, salinity and purity they bring to the wines. There is no new oak in his cellar – the older oak, the better. He only uses indigenous yeasts for the fermentation, which lasts a few weeks – he ferments his wines in large volume containers, as the bigger the volume, the slower the fermentation, the best it is for the wine. The wines are then left for a month plus before racking. The whites get a minimum of 2 years of raising – they come from great terroirs and need time, the reds one year.