Grassy vineyards of Lulu Vigneron in the Jura (shiverick.com)

The Striking Return of Lulu Vigneron: Lightning Chardonnay and Savagnin from the Jura

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I’ve waited a long time for this drop of Lulu Vigneron. The Jura section of Chambers just doesn’t seem complete without them. One of my absolute favorite producers in the region, the winemaker and Bavarian-native Ludwig Bindernagel seems to be getting more and more popular as the vintages go by. Below is our entire allocation of his Savagnin and his Sous le Cerisier Chardonnay - and neither should be missed!

A label from '13 - showing 12.9 ABV (shiverick.com)

In her book Jura Wine, Wink Lorch describes Ludwig’s whites as “stony and mineral with a vibrant intensity.” I wonder what she would say about the man’s current releases, which border on insane with their crackling acidity, crunchy, saline-driven minerality, and knock-out ABV. I understand that most people will consider 14-15% ABV (especially for white wines) way too high, and I’m not excluded from this group. But when I noticed the strength of the bottles here, I decided to drink them differently. I had them over at least two nights, sipping and thinking. The result was perfect - exactly what I was hoping for. Complex and delicious, a radical but leveled extension of what makes Jura-nuts shout, “Lulu!”

The 2018 Côtes du Jura Savagnin is a brilliant, clear color of yellow gold. On the nose there are aromas of dried lemon, sherry, white pepper, and limestone, culminating in an almost sweet smell of raw apricot. The palate is intense, with snappy flavors of crisp yellow apple and pear, lemon peel, and salt - all riding a beam of 14.7% ABV (…which definitely warms your belly). Great acid, with a richness at its center, this wine, despite being so high in alcohol, is impressively balanced and very fun to drink. A cheery bottle that I can picture myself drinking often this winter, post meal and with friends. Finishing the bottle in three days is perfectly fine also - it really only gets better.

The 2018 Côtes du Jura Chardonnay 'Sous le Cerisieris a light gold color in the glass. It offers aromas of apple blossoms, lemon and lime, sliced yellow pear, and just a touch of earthy smoke. Like Lulu's Savagnin, the nose is accented by clean stone fruit, but here it is crisper. The palate begins with a laser of tart yellow apple, but settles quickly to offer layers of juicier citrus, baked orchard fruit, yellow cherry, and a dusting of salty minerals. High acid with a tender center, this wine is mouthwatering. ABV is lower than the Savagnin, clocking in at 13.7% - not weak, but nothing shocking. Very well integrated with the fruit and acidity. Drink now, over 2-4 days, or cellar. Powerful, powerful wine!  

Ludwig and his wife Nathalie Eigenschenck were working in Paris before and taking over the estate of Les Chais du Vieux Bourg in 2000. Two years later, they released the first vintage. Beginning with 2.5 hectares of vines in Arlay, Ludwig and Nathalie have increased their holdings into Poligny, Etoile, and Chateau-Chalon.

The beauty and the balance of both the Savagnin and the Sous le Cerisier are impossible to ignore. I find that the alcohol does nothing to mask the flavors or hurt the mouthfeel. Like I mentioned in the tasting note for the Savagnin, like a good tipple, it warms the body. The question as to why the ABV is so high, I can only speculate - and my number one guess is the warming climate in the Jura, as we discussed in last week's offer featuring the Domaine Ratte Pinot Noir-based reds. (I've included the bottles below, just in case you missed them while prepping your turkey - also last of stock!!)

Ludwig Bindernagel worked as an architect in Paris before purchasing his estate in 2000 (shiverick.com)

Crazy things are happening in the Jura, and us drinkers are lucky that incredible winemakers, like Ludwig Bindernagel, are there to manage it all. They're creating top-notch wines despite so much uncertainty. So when you open these bottles, consider what you know about this region... and then consider the ways that it's changing. David Hatzopoulos

Lulu Vigneron (Ludwig Bindernagel) 2018 Côtes du Jura Savagnin

A brilliant, clear color of yellow gold. On the nose there are aromas of dried lemon, sherry, white pepper, and limestone, culminating in an almost sweet smell of raw apricot. The palate is intense, with snappy flavors of crisp yellow apple and pear, lemon peel, and salt - all riding a beam of 14.7% ABV (…which definitely warms your belly). Great acid, with a richness at its center, this wine, despite being so high in alcohol, is impressively balanced and very fun to drink. A cheery bottle that I can picture myself drinking often this winter, post meal and with friends. Finishing the bottle in three days is perfectly fine also - it really only gets better. David Hatzopoulos

  • white
  • 1 in stock
  • $42.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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Lulu Vigneron (Ludwig Bindernagel) 2018 Côtes du Jura Chardonnay Sous le Cerisier

A light gold color in the glass. This Chardonnay offers aromas of apple blossoms, lemon and lime, sliced yellow pear, and just a touch of earthy smoke. Like Lulu's Savagnin, the nose is accented by clean stone fruit, but here it is crisper. The palate begins with a laser of tart yellow apple, but settles quickly to offer layers of juicier citrus, baked orchard fruit, yellow cherry, and a dusting of salty minerals. High acid with a tender center, this wine is mouthwatering. ABV is lower than the Savagnin, clocking in at 13.7% - so still not weak, but nothing shocking. Very well integrated with the fruit and acidity. Drink now, over 2-4 days, or cellar. Powerful, powerful wine! David Hatzopoulos

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Ratte 2018 Arbois Clos Maire (Pinot/Trousseau)

Domaine Ratte 2018 Clos Maire is a lovely, transparent red cherry in color. On the nose, a medley of fresh raspberry and blackberry comes first, before a scent of candied red cherry and dark pomegranite juice. On the palate, rich and woodsy cherry combines with a touch of tilled earth, black pepper, and black tea. Zippy dark stones spark a structure of good acidity and soft tannin. On the finish, an essence of smoky herbs and spice. An incredibly balanced blend, where Pinot's finesse is matched by Trousseau's attractive, dark grit. Drinking so well today! David Hatzopoulos

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $42.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Ratte 2017 Arbois Pinot Noir

The 2017 Pinot Noir from Domaine Ratte has a surprisingly dark core, with a clear but plummy center and light violet edges. On the nose, there are fantastic aromas of black cherry, strawberries, with flowers and wispy dark cocoa - culminating in brooding wintery spice. The contrast of high and deep tones makes this wine aromatically very captivating. On the palate, it is slightly leaner, with tart blackberries, blueberries and a zip of grapefruit peel and minerals. Tannic and high in acidity, this Pinot Noir is still snapping in your mouth long after each sip. I finished it on it's second day open, right out of the fridge, and it might have been better than on day one. Drink today or lay it flat for a few years! David Hatzopoulos

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $45.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic