2009 Michel Gahier Trousseau Arbois “Grands Vergiers – Red Fruits and Perfumed Dirt – Available at Table Wine – South Asheville’s Premiere Wine Shop – At Table Wine, we strive to carry the best wines from all of the major growing regions of the world, even if we know we’re going to have to hand sell every bottle. When the quality is there, we buy, and this recent discovery still has me buzzing…….no pun intended. Michel Gahier is a farmer with holdings in some of the top spots in Arbois, east of Burgundy on the French/Swiss border. If you’re not familiar with any wines from here, that’s completely understandable, as there aren’t many of these wines floating around in these North Carolina mountains. Go to New York or San Francisco though, and the wines are widely and openly consumed with reckless abandon.
The undisputed king of Jura is a guy named Jacques Puffeney, and Michel is not only his neighbor, but he was Jacque’s pupil for a number of years. His training has paid off, as this is one of the more singular wines I’ve tried this year. Trousseau is an old grape variety that is also known as Bastardo………it is also used in the production of Port, but in the Jura, the wines produced from it tend to be lively, fresh, nervy and gorgeously complex when made by a good producer. This is definitely one of those! One of the keys to the success of this wine is Mahier’s vineyards, which are located in the village of Montigny-les-Arsures, a wine village just outside of Arbois where the graviers gras (fat gravel) soils are perfectly suited to Trousseau. Unsurprisingly, Puffeney’s Trousseau grows here as well.
There is one term that best describes this wine – WILD! Organic farming and non-interventionist winemaking are very common in Jura, especially if you were a pupil of Puffeney. The nose is a bit backwards at first, but with some aggressive swirling, the fruit begins to pop. I get notes of pomegranate, cherry, autumn leaf and complex spices………almost Burgundy-like, but a bit more angular and masculine. The palate is where the magic happens, as this is one of those wines that just snaps, crackles and pops on the palate. Red fruit galore, floral notes, liquid rock and so much more………I could drink this all day, but I won’t because I only have 6 bottles to sell. This one would be great now with some grilled pork chops and some sort of root veggies or you could lay it down for 7 to 10 years. The wine is brought to North Carolina by the Haw River Wine Man and imported from France by Neil Rosenthal. Kudos to both of these forward thinking, progressive companies!