Joseph Dorbon pouring his wines from the Arbois AOC (madrose.com)

Fascinating & Fresh Arbois: Joseph Dorbon's wines impress with great drinkability, without sacrificing complexity.

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Joseph Dorbon makes wine in the small town of Vadans, a 10 minute drive from Arbois. The village has only 300 residents. He works his land following organic methods, plowing once a year by horse. All fruit is hand picked. Fermentation is natural and without temperature control. His cellar, dug into the village’s yellow marl soil, dates from the 1500s. His wines see little, if any, sulfur additions. After reading this, you might be expecting me to delve into the rustic qualities of Dorbon’s products. In fact, I’m not. I was won over by his wines’ clarity, finesse, and toned structure. 

Frankly, I’m relieved by the drinkability of the two wines on offer today. I frequently taste low-intervention wines from the Jura that are more challenging than interesting, and far from tasty. The complexity of Dorbon’s old-vine Trousseau and the racey, layered character of his sous voile “Cuvée de Moyne'' are a treat to your taste buds, and will act as a refreshing tonic to any palate. Drink up, drink up!

Vines on the sunny Vadans hillsides (madrose.com) 

Dorbon’s 2018 Trousseau Vielles Vignes has zero added sulfur. It boasts a clear, glimmering cranberry color. The nose begins with aromas of savory cherry and red flowers. There’s an attractive sweetness. It eventually settles into a lovely bouquet of steeped earl grey, lemon, ginger, and mint. With remarkably clean flavors, the palate is zesty and funk-free. There are evenings that I crave the earthy, barnyard profile Trousseau so often delivers, but I am equally thrilled by examples like Dorbon’s - pure, lively; clocking in a notch below true tartness. Firm and wild red berries, birch, dark citrus and black pepper fill out a fresh structure of sneaky tannin and mouth watering acidity. I finished my last couple glasses with a blue cheese hamburger - one of my favorite pairings of 2021, so far.

Since 1996, Dorbon has been working his 3 hectares of hillside vineyards in the Arbois AOC. Along with his Trousseau, he has Poulsard, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Savagnin vines. For his whites, he  uses the region’s traditional, sous voile method in the cellar.

The 2014 “Cuvée de Moyne” (80% Chardonnay and 20% Savagnin) wears its age magnificently. It is a strong wine, balanced so well between the depth of its sous voile character and the absolute refinement and focus of Dorbon’s winemaking. In the glass, the wine shows a color of crisp and stunning gold. The nose is perky with spice and citrus - cured lemons, black pepper, swaths of dried grass and a warm, but lean, scent of golden apples. Above it all is a whiff of white spring flowers, adding a pleasant elegance to its more serious foundation. The palate begins with mixed herbs before gaining richer flavors of lemon, green apple, and salt. The acidity is high, but the wine fattens on the finish, gaining texture and weight. There is also a fantastic bitter, lemony edge that holds to the tongue. I’ve never tasted anything like this wine, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the bottle evolves over the next few years. It’s drinking so young today!

It is sometimes fun to wrestle with a wine until you understand it, but that game can get old. Joseph Dorbon’s wines are so satisfying, I’m confident that even the most critical or adventurous of drinkers will find themselves easing up after a glass, sinking into a content, yet ponderous, state with a smile. Like all good wines, these two have more than enough stuff to contemplate… but you don’t need to wonder if they are delicious. They obviously are. David Hatzopoulos

**Also on offer is the fantastic 2017 Arbois Pinot Noir from our friends Gerard and Christine Villet. A wine you should not miss - in stock now!**

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Dorbon, Joseph 2018 Arbois Trousseau Vieilles Vignes

Joseph Dorbon’s 2018 Trousseau Vielles Vignes has zero added sulfur. Grapes come from southeastern facing slopes and soils of yellow limestone/clay marl. Fruit is picked by hand in late September. In the cellar, the grapes are destemmed before natural fermentation in stainless steel tanks. After aging in stainless for 12 months, the wine is bottled without fining or filtering. It boasts a clear, glimmering cranberry color. The nose begins with aromas of savory cherry and red flowers. There’s an attractive sweetness. It eventually settles into a lovely bouquet of steeped earl grey, lemon, ginger, and mint. With remarkably clean flavors, the palate is zesty and funk-free. There are evenings that I crave the earthy, spicy, barnyard profile Trousseau so often delivers, but I am equally thrilled by examples like Dorbon’s - pure, lively; clocking in a notch below true tartness. Firm and wild red berries, birch, dark citrus and black pepper fill out a fresh structure of sneaky tannin and mouth watering acidity. I finished my last couple glasses with a blue cheese hamburger - one of my favorite pairings of 2021, so far. David Hatzopoulos

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Dorbon, Joseph 2018 Arbois Blanc "Cuvée de Moyne"

The 2014 “Cuvee de Moyne” (80% Chardonnay and 20% Savagnin) wears its age magnificently. From southeastern facing slopes of yellow limestone/clay marl. Vines are between 40 and 70 years old. Fruit is picked by hand in late September. Natural co-fermentation is done in neutral barrel. The wine is then aged for 36 months in neutral barrel without any topping up. Bottled without fining or filtering.  It is a strong wine, balanced so well between the depth of its sous voile character and the absolute refinement and focus of Dorbon’s winemaking. In the glass, the wine shows a color of crisp and stunning gold. The nose is perky with spice and citrus - cured lemons, black pepper, swaths of dried grass and a warm, but lean, scent of golden apples. Above it all is a whiff of white spring flowers, adding a pleasant elegance to its more serious foundation. The palate begins with mixed herbs before gaining richer flavors of lemon, green apple, and salt. The acidity is high, but the wine fattens on the finish, gaining texture and weight. There is also a fantastic bitter, lemony edge that holds to the tongue. I’ve never tasted anything like this wine, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the bottle evolves over the next few years. It’s drinking so young today! David Hatzopoulos


  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $38.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Villet, Gerard & Christine 2017 Arbois Pinot Noir

As mentioned, Domaine Villet is a family estate that was started in 1900, and was converted to organic viticulture in 1988, making them one of the first estates in the region to do so. Gérard felt the results were better with organic agriculture, so he eliminated the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fungicides, favoring the use of manure, compost and organic elements. Around the turn of the (21st) century, the only treatments used in the vineyard were copper (bouillie bordelaise) for mildew, and sulfur for oïdium. Since then, they have been minimizing the use of the copper and sulfur in the vineyard and relying instead on plant extracts, such as tea nettle, prêle (horsetail), willows, dandelions, and the like. Gérard believes firmly that vignerons must be working in the vines throughout the year in order to be attentive to the health of the vines and to reduce risks. He lets natural grasses grow but tills to limit proliferation. He only uses natural yeast in vinification, as he feels yeasts that are introduced are standardized and lead to a uniformity of taste, whereas natural yeasts allow the terroir to be fully expressed. Sulfur is used in moderation (typically 20 mg per liter added at bottling to cover transport). Eben Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur