He’s Back: Jean-Marc Brignot!

1/10/12 - 

The die-hard Jura fanatic may remember the wines of Jean-Marc Brignot, a young vigneron in the Jurassian town of Molamboz who disappeared as quickly as he appeared on the New York wine scene in the mid 2000s. Brignot’s Poulsard “Jouvenceau” and his Melon-Queue-Rouge “Les Mouches on Pied” left lasting memories on those of us who were fortunate enough to try the wines when they were available, memories vivid enough to prompt us to wonder what happened to the man, his quirky labels, his compelling and well-executed natural wines.

Rumors were afloat here in the U.S., as well as in France that Jean-Marc Brignot’s vineyards had fallen into disrepair, that he had lost all his vines and, consequently, had no wine to sell. These rumors proved to be semi-accurate. Brignot, a passionate advocate of chemical-free winemaking, lost his vineyards in the Jura after a couple of difficult years during which he refused to apply chemicals to the vines. This experience taught Brignot to view himself as a far better winemaker than as a farmer; he opted for a new approach: that of a negociant, a traveling winemaker. He buys organically farmed grapes from friends in diverse regions of France: Burgundy, Beaujolais, Ardeche, Alsace, drives his van to their respective Domaines and makes the wines there, on site, without the use of any chemicals, including sulfur. A transient character, this calling seems to suit him; the proof is in the bottle. A tasting with Jean-Marc last summer left us stunned by the sheer deliciousness of the wines.

The wine we are offering today is from Pinot Noir grapes grown by Renaud Boyer in the Burgundy village of Saint-Romain. Boyer’s Domaine has been organic for years and certified as such. The wine’s name, “Sun of a Beach,” is a joke Jean-Marc and his wife shared on the beach in Cannes several years ago. It’s a unique aspect of Jean-Marc’s operation that he never re-uses the name of a wine. This is the only “Son of a Beach” that has ever been and ever will be. By the same token, there will - sadly - never be another “Jouvenceau,” though, if we are lucky, the man will revitalize his plantings in the Jura and provide us with future vintages of Poulsard. In the meantime, have a glass or two of this delightful Saint-Romain and be glad that Jean-Marc has reappeared. Cheers! -Sophie

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