When Domaine Labet release their wine, there follows a flurry of fans itching to get their hands on these wonderfully rare bottles. And there’s no wonder as this is a truly outstanding vineyard that has changed the way traditional Jura wines have been crafted, starting from the soil all the way to bottling.
The story of a trailblazer usually starts with a struggle as they step away from convention and it’s safe to say that Domaine Labet took a big old step!
Where it all began…..
Head honcho, Alain Labet embarked on his winemaking journey back in the 1970s. From the beginning he has never used fertilisers or insecticides which means the wines he produces are biodynamic and certified organic. The 13ha vineyard located in Rotalier in the Sud-Revermont is rich in Bajocian limestone and when treated with such care and consideration, Alain discovered that his grapes were the truest reflection of the land and his viticultural practices. In a bid to preserve and bottle such unique flavour characteristics he became what is likely to be the first vigneron in the Jura to make wines from individual parcels of land and all with zero additional SO2. These are practices that seemingly makes sense for us natural wine enthusiasts today but this was uncommon in 70s Jura and it was a financial risk for Alain to buck against the trend.
“Total transparency has always been at the heart of all the family’s work”
Alain’s quest for expression and creativity in the vineyard grew throughout the 90s. Oxidative, flor aged Chardonnay became synonymous with the Jura region at this time which, whilst delicious and technical within its own right, could often be used to mask imbalances with its powerful flavour profile. The Labet’s chose to reject this trend and retain their focus on terroir driven wine. Alain maintained his efforts to capture and bottle the pure characteristics of the incredibly rich land and exquisitely complex fruit he had put so much work into.
From land, to cellar, to bottling…..
Alain’s skills developed in the cellar and he became one of the first winemakers to make ‘topped up’ wines that inhibited the growth of flor and preserved the mineral bite and acidic backbone that sets his wines apart from oxidative Jura styles. In doing this, Domaine Labet really started to become recognised for their incredibly precise natural wine in which the most subtle of characteristics from one of France’s finest terroirs could be identified.
A rich heritage from rich soils…..
From 1997 onwards the vineyard has been passed down to Julien, Alain’s son who has embraced it with the same level of finesse and passion and since then his daughter Charline has joined to diversify their offering. Alain took a step back in 2012 but is sure enough still involved in the winery that produces some of the Jura’s finest bottles.
With over 50 years of biodynamic viticulture under their belt these wines speak so precisely of the place they come from and the people who make them. It’s a joy and rarity to come across something so special and we would like the opportunity to share them with you! Join us in Native Vine, Bedminster on April 28th where we will be tasting 6 Labet wines and showing a very special documentary screening about the Domaine. Click here to read more + grab your ticket to this exciting event!
📷 Images: Vine Trail
🎟 Tickets for wine tasting + documentary screening