Jura Journal Part 12

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Visit with wine-maker Jean Michelle, Papillion appellation arbois

This vineyard is located in the appellation arbois. It is also an historical landmark from World War II. The village was in the occupied zone by the germains and the vineyard was in the free zone. The Jura vineyard is very small and it takes makes up 5000 acres. It is located in the geographic region of AOC-4 in Jura. They are  appellation arbois, cote de ira, etoile and chateaux. Chardonnay and Savoie, Poussard, Trousseau and pinot noir are natives of this region. The vineyard has been organic since 2012 and they have used no chemicals for weeds since 2003. They are “bio-dynamic” meaning they are natural with the wine, by following the cycle of the moon for harvest and production. Jean Michelle tells us that organic is costly because it costs a lot of labor, therefore, bio-dynamic is a process where one uses calcium and sprays the leaves early in the morning, this requires less money but more energy. Jean Michelle also believes that The vines grow better on slopes and the soil should not be too rich, vines have to suffer a bit to grow well.

There are 3 types of soil in Jura: red marle soil (plussard, savongay wine, oyster field/ oyster park, and grey soil.  In the oyster park, this soil has sediments of limestone and argille deposits which are mixed in the soil, this makes the soil easier to work with than red soil when plowing.  Jean Michelle describes “terroir” as the exposure of the ground. He tells us that the “red soil facing north is much better than the average ground facing south. The human is apart of the “terroir”, if you plow you don’t use too much chemicals. The slopes are many and we have to keep the ground in its original shape, if you use water all the time, erosion will come quickly.”

When wine is first created, it is planted with a vine about 1 feet long, and it takes about 3 years to yield fruit. Every year, the buds are cut to create the trunk. If the vines are maintained well, the vines will last 40-50 years according to Jean-Michelle. On his vineyard, he uses a natural form of fertilizer which he calls “nitrogen green fertilizer.” This comes from a plant called “feverole” which is planted next to the vine, this plant is planted in the soil to provide nitrogen to the roots and vines. A plant on the soil during winter is planted in mid august, harvested in September, and grows in winter; it is destructed only when vines need nitrogen, and is plowed three times per year. Jean Michelle described to us that the roots will only develop on the top of the soil if chemicals are used, the roots need to go down into the ground to look for moisture, not nutrients.

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