The ultimate expression of a “vin de voile,” this top cuvée of the domaine received five stars from La Revue du Vin de France, its highest rating.
100% Savagnin from 27 year old vines. Château-Chalon is produced from the best parcels of land at Gaillardon (in the parish of Domblans), Beaumont (in the parish of Ménétru le Vignoble) and Sous-Roche (in the parish of Château-Chalon). Made strictly in accordance with tradition from the Savagnin grape, it is kept in the barrel for 6 years under its protective yeast layer, without topping up (ouillage) or racking. Two to three hours of decanting are necessary to open this enormously powerful but equally refined wine.
The nose reveals white fruits, citrus and spices, followed by a palate of fruit, citrus, walnuts, hazelnuts, tobacco, dried fruits, dried grasses and curry. The finish is long and nutty, with the afterglow of the palate’s complex mix. The wine is bottled in the traditional 620ml Clavelin bottle, which represents what is left after evaporation (the ‘angels’ share”). A connoisseur’s wine, it can easily keep for 100 years, although it will reach its full expression 10 years after its bottling. 14% alcohol.
About the Producer
In 1985, Chantal and Jean Berthet-Bondet took over a domaine that had not been producing wine for 50 years, and brought it back to life. In 2017, their daughter Hélène succeeded them, helped by her husband and two children. The vineyards spread on 15 hectares, 4.5ha of Savagnin in Château-Chalon and 10.5ha of Chardonnay, Savagnin, Trousseau, Poulsard and Pinot Noir in Côtes-du-Jura appellation. A new plot of Chardonnay was planted in 2022, using for the first time massal selection and young plants from the Bérillon nurseries. The vineyard is off to a magnificient start. Château-Chalon possesses the noblest terroir in the Jura region. A composition of limestone and red and gray marl confers both power and great finesse to these wines.
The classic wine of the Jura is the “vin de voile,” a technique otherwise practiced only by Spanish sherry producers. During barrel aging, casks are only partially filled with wine. This provokes the formation of a film of yeast on the exposed portion, protecting the wine from oxidation and giving it a unique flavor of dried fruits and nuts. Also, the logic of the aging cellar is the opposite of that for classic wine-making. Like a sherry cave, these cellars are dry and well ventilated, with enormous variations in temperature. Interestingly enough, this region of France remained a Spanish possession until 1660. Bondet also produces non-oxidized whites, and reds.
Bondet uses indigenous yeasts, except for the Crémant. By precaution Hélène prepares a "pied de cuve" to start the fermentations of the various cuves. This is made from a small quantity of grapes that ferments spontaneously. She verifies with the lab that these are the right yeasts before incorporating them into the cuves. Selected yeasts are used for the second fermentation of the crémant.
Farming practices: The domaine is certified organic since 2013. The wines are vegan (when fined, which is rare, it is with bentonite).
Vintage notes for 2022: The vineyards managed to escape spring frost and the season went well until the summer, during which the extreme drought was detrimental to certain plots. Triggered by the hydric stress, the vines shut down. The rains that happened at the end of August saved the vintage. The vines resumed their ripening process and yields were good. This relatively generous 2022 harvest was welcomed with great relief after the very low yields of 2021. However, the vinifications are difficult and some of them are taking a long time.... so there is still work to be done in the cellar and we will have to be patient before seeing some of the wines in bottles!
Photos of the domaine