“Magnificent” really is the word that springs to mind when it comes to “Fanfan” Gavenat. His cuvées are most popular even among those who are not particularly enthusiastic about sulphur-free wines. And you’ll be lucky if you get hold of a..
“Magnificent” really is the word that springs to mind when it comes to “Fanfan” Gavenat. His cuvées are most popular even among those who are not particularly enthusiastic about sulphur-free wines. And you’ll be lucky if you get hold of a couple of bottles. Jean-François Gavenat’s famous parcels are located south of Lons-le-Saunier, Rotalier and the hamlet of La Combe. They’re scattered around the woods at the foot of a rockface on ‘Billat schist”, “Chalasses”blue marl and “Les Grandes Teppes” ‘s clay soils. The man took over the family vineyard in 1998 and once in this magician’s hands the domain took a new turn. After spending some time as cellar master at M. Morey’s in Burgundy, it was quite by chance that he met Philippe Pacalet in Burgundy, Didier Barral in Faugères and the Schuellers in Alsace. Such encounters were the trigger leading him to adopt biodynamic principles. Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard and Trousseau vines are planted along with real gems like l’Enfariné or Savagnin Gros Vert which are among the 40 varieties that still existed in the 19th century. The grapes are de-stemmed by hand, vinified and bottled according to the various terroirs they come from all around the hamlet.
Today nearly 45 cuvées are produced and only 5 to 60 litres of sweet wines ! Jean-Francois has to juggle the storage places all the more so that he experiments different kinds of containers: big ones, 400-litre demi-muids and barrels. Quite an obstacle course to taste wines in Fanfan’s cellar ! Meticulous work requiring lots of precision and monitoring. In the vineyard 8 persons pamper the soils using no additives rather spraying field horsetail, dandelion, nettle and silica. When weather conditions are too harsh copper and sulphur are resorted to but always in minimal doses: none for the reds ,1g for ‘Billat’ and ‘Florène’ since 2006. Then, in the cellar the wines are lightly or not filtered at all. After that the wines are matured from 1 to 2 years up to 11 years for “La Vigne de mon Père” !