"After trying the l'Etoile it was obvious this producer will be one to watch each year. As a team we drink a lot of wines from the Jura and LuLu continues the trend of exciting releases from this region to hit our shelves this year." - Pete L
With all of the uncertainty that any agri-business brings, it takes a tremendous level of courage and dedication to walk away from a successful career to become a winemaker. This is exactly what Ludwig Bindernagel did.
Originally from Bavaria, Ludwig was working successfully as an architect in Paris, before he heard the siren song of the vineyards. He studied viticulture remotely, then decided to jump in the deep end, leaving the glamour of Paris behind for the more rustic climes of Jura.
He and his partner, Nathalie Eigenschenk, originally planned to move to Burgundy, but the twin realities of expense and space forced them to look elsewhere. However, as soon as they began to explore the Jura region, they were won over. In 2000, they purchased an old vineyard, Les Chais de Vieux Bourg, situated in the commune of Arlay. After a few years cleaning up the vines and switching to organic viticulture, they released their first vintage in 2003. It was only fitting that they named the domaine after Ludwig's nickname; LuLu Vigneron was born.
Since those early days, Ludwig has expanded his holdings to include sites in Poligny, Etoile and the legendary Château-Chalon.
Ludwig and Nathalie's philosophy is that wine is made in the vineyard. This is evident through their organic viticulture (they are currently converting to full biodynamics), the lack of machinery in the vineyard, and Ludwig's fastidious bunch selections at harvest time. Everything is carried out by hand, so as not to damage the soils through compaction.
In the winery, the same principles are applied. Nothing is rushed, and every care is taken to allow the ferments to finish in their own time and using only natural yeasts. In fact, due to the naturally cooler temperatures that Ludwig ferments at, some cuvees can take up to two years to fully ferment, creating astonishing layers of complexity and depth to his wines.
His annual production is tiny. So to have these wines in store is really exciting! Another Jura producer to have on your list, we're expecting big things from LuLu!
Lulu Vigneron BB1 Chardonnay Savagnin 2017 - $70.00 single / $59.50 in a mixed six pack
A blend of 90% Chardonnay with a splash of Savagnin (10%) from two sites, Poligny and Arlay. BB1 is left to rest in mature old oak for 17 months and is topped up the entire time. This style of winemaking in the Jura is referred to as "Ouillé" and retains the freshness and vibrancy of the wine by reducing its exposure to oxygen to avoid any oxidative characters.
Lulu Vigneron L'Etoile Chardonnay Savagnin 2017 - $70.00 single / $59.50 in a mixed six pack
Once again a blend of Chardonnay (70%) and Savagnin (30%) from a tiny little pocket of land known as l'Etoile. His vineyards in l'Etoile are west facing and have an average age of 35 years. This wine is matured in old oak for nearly two years and allowed to under go subtle oxidization to build texture and richness. Compared to BB1 this is where you start to see more power, nutty characters and more of a saline influence in the wine. A tiny sulphur addition is also added to the cuvee.
Lulu Vigneron Cotes du Jura Savagnin 2017 - $80.00 single / $66.30 in a mixed six pack
Their Côtes du Jura Savagnin comes from their site in Poligny which is packed full of marl and calcareous soils. After a short maceration to build texture the wine is aged in mature oak. A bright, driven and textured example of Savagnin.
Lulu Vigneron Poulsard 2018 - $78.00 single / $128.35 in a mixed six pack
Reds from the Jura tend to be on the more delicate end of things. Often drunk before the whites which are usually much more powerful. Their Poulsard, a blend of three sites with vines ranging in age from 25-55 years of age produce a wine that is awash with vibrant red berries. Rose in colour, the wine undergoes a two week maceration and is then pressed to old oak for 8 months. A tiny sulphur addition is added for this cuvee.
Lulu Vigneron Vin Jaune 2011 - $181.00 single / $153.85 in a mixed six pack
Completely natural, zero sulphur additions used. The top of the tree when it comes to wines from the Jura, a style unique to this region. Closest in style to the wines of Jerez packed full of oxidative character, nutty, savoury, saline, powerful. These wines can be aged for decades and are to be enjoyed slowly preferably with aged Comté.
Shop LuLu Vigneron here.
As always Fresh Drops is a snapshot of what is exciting us each week. Sometimes it's restocks of wines we know you love, sometimes it's new wines that we think you will love.
First off, a new producer for us, Domaine Confuron Gindre, based in Vosne Romanee on Rue de la Tâche of all places! Pretty infamous territory. A father and son operation making wines packed full of finesse.
That's not all though, folks! Polar opposites attract and we've just received the new Chardonnay Pet Nat from Range Life and one of the country's most sought after expressions of Chardonnay, the Leeuwin Estate Art Series... And because one Pet Nat is never enough, we've also included the new Mallaluka Sauvignon Blanc Pet Nat and the debut release Pet Nat from Ricky Evans of Two Tonne Tasmania under his Havilah label.
Confuron Gindre Bourgogne Aligote 2019 - $50.00 single / $42.50 in any six
Old vines planted towards the lower end of the slope rich with clay and limestone soils. Fresh aromas of citrus, more in grapefruit and lemon spectrum. Aged in stainless steel to retain freshness, tension and acidity.
Confuron Gindre Coteaux Bourguignons 2019 - $43 single / $36.55 in any six
Perfumed red berries, savoury hints and feintest hint of game on the nose. The palate is mouth filling, awash with concentrated red berries and silky tannins. A real exciting wine for this price point that screams bistro fare... Steak Au Poivre and Frites plus this guy and I'm sorted for the night.
Confuron Gindre Bourgogne Rouge 2018 - $64 single / $54.40 in any six
From a blend of several sites across Vosne Romanee with vines aged all the way up to 80 years old! It spends a year in French Oak and is rested in bottle for another six months before release. Surprisingly structured for it's level. A variety of red berries jump out of the glass supported by layers of earthy savouriness. Once again I'm left wanting a seat in a Parisian bistro but perhaps with something a bit more substantial. Navarin d'agneau would do the trick!
Havilah Rose Pet Nat 2020 - $37 single / $31.45 in any six
Ricky Evans from TTT made a Pet Nat so you know it's going to be good! This guy doesn't miss a beat. Havilah is the name of his wine bar and bottle shop in Launceston and also the name of his new range of wines which as you can imagine feature pretty heavily at his venue. It's a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two varieties Ricky is very well accustomed to working with... just in a bit of a different lens this time.
Mallaluka Sauvignon Blanc Pet Nat 2020 - $32.50 single / $27.65 in any six
Sam got the fruit for this from Brian at Freeman so that's already a really strong start. Curveball here is that it was 2020, fires were raging and this fruit is smoke affected... heavily. An experiment of sorts but we think they pulled it off. Sam say's it tastes like a pineapple frosty fruit and I think it tastes like the colour... Same same but different.
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2018 - $153 single / $130.05 in any six
What is there to say about this wine? Every year it sets a benchmark for Margaret River Chardonnay. Immaculate, powerful, intense, with purity of fruit, drive and clarity. The symmetry of layers, contours and overall balance is precise, finishing with an effortless length. Ray Jordan has given this wine 99+ points - the closest he's ever come to awarding 100. Enough said.
Get the Fresh Drops here.
From The Cellar this week:
Domaine Coche Dury Hospice de Beaune Eponets Cuvee Dom Goblet 1er Rouge 2018
The Hospice de Beaune wines have a long history to them. The Hospice was founded in 1443, but it wasn't until 1859 that their wines were first auctioned. Originally vinified and sold to raise money for the hospital, the tradition still continues to this day, with barrels of the wine auctioned off each year, and all proceeds going to the Hospice.
All of the wines are vinified by Ludivine Griveau - 17 whites and 33 reds, from 60 hectares of vines that have been gifted to the hospital over the centuries. She transfers all of the cuvees into their individual barrels, and these are then auctioned as en primeur wines.
Raphaël Coche attends private tastings early on in the selection process and sets his sights on specific lots where he really sees potential; often lots that are ignored by other buyers. He then gets special permission to rack the wines out of the Hospices barrels very early and take them to his domaine where he can pursue the classic Coche élevage, and bottling by hand. Needless to say, this is a special wine, and very, very rare.
Sylvain Cathiard Nuits Saint Georges Murgers 1er Rouge 2018
'Sweet fruit on the nose. Great zest and convincing balance. Unlike the village Vosne, the fruit concentration dominates the oak influence here. Serious wine with some layers. Long already. Worth waiting for but it’s already convincing. 17 Points' - Jancis Robinson MW