2016 Jean-Jacques Morel Saint-Aubin Le Ban10887
WINEMAKER: Jean-Jacques Morel
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
REGION: Burgundy, FR
Opens with savoury earthy smells, like damp forest floor in Europe after rain. Aromas of Senegal roses, cooked redcurrant fruit and a little barbeque smoke. The juicy palate is incredibly concentrated with cooked redcurrant and strawberries, sweet and juicy. A gentle brush of superfine tannins develop working in harmony with the cleansing, fruit-driven acidity.
Jean-Jacques aka JJ Morel is an inimitable, iconoclastic figure in the natural wine industry. He pushes the rigid boundaries of Burgundy convention with natural farming and the resulting wines are extraordinary. His favourite word in the English language is curious, because it has driven him to listen and learn his entire life. In his visits to Australia and around the world, his heart-warming personality and delicious wines have left in his wake what has been coined #thejjeffect.
JJ and his family escaped the rat race of Paris to bring up their children in Saint-Aubin in Burgundy, around the family vineyards. Part artist, philosopher and vigneron, JJ approaches the farming of his vines with complete respect for nature and rejects the industrial practices of his neighbours in Burgundy.
Minimal interference with the natural growth of the vine, miniscule yields and no additives during fermentation or élévage allow JJ to produce a strikingly pure range of terroir transparent natural white and reds that are virtually unknown only because his production is so small. JJs' philosophies are pretty extreme and so labour intensive that they can only be applied on a small artisan domaine like his.
He uses no chemicals in the vineyard but does not prescribe to a particular regime of management. He possesses only one small caterpillar tread tractor with the rest of the work done by his own hands. He stopped working the soil, instead allowing the natural grasses, herbs and weeds to coexist with the vines. He says the soil is not worked in nature so why should it be in the vineyard, plus the roots of the wild vegetation aerate the soil naturally eliminating the need to do so. JJ observes his vineyards closely and uses organic treatments that are preventative working with and not against nature and its threats such as mildew.
Grapes are harvested by hand and natural yeasts are utilised for fermentations. JJ is one of only a handful of producers in Burgundy to use no SO2 at all until bottling, an oddity especially for white wines in the region. Aged in old oak for 11 months, all his wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered with less that 15ppm total SO2 (around 10ppm occur naturally during fermentation) so expect a little sediment. Recent vintages of red wines have no sulphur at all.