Domaine Joseph Dorbon
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Country of Origin: France
Location: Vadans, Arbois
People: Joseph Dorbon, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Joseph Dorbon initiated his work as vigneron in 1996. His setup is simple: three hectares of organically tended vines on prime south-facing slopes above his home village of Vadans; a horse to help him plow; and a subterranean 16th-century cellar in which his soulful wines slowly take shape.
Vadans, a sleepy little village even for the Jura, contains soils of yellow marl, which tend to produce reds of great finesse and whites of chiseled complexity, and Dorbon’s wines follow suit. Like the greatest wines in the region, they are both deeply evocative of place and distinctly Joseph’s own. He works his hillside plantings without chemicals, plows by horse—a difficult and little-seen practice which he learned from his uncle—and harvests by hand. His cellar practices are minimal and steeped in Jura tradition: spontaneous fermentation without temperature regulation; aging sous-voile for his white wines; minimal (and sometimes no) additions of sulfites; and bottling of the white wines only after significant time in cask.
The vineyards are planted to a mix of Trousseau, Poulsard, and Pinot Noir for the reds (30%) and Chardonnay and Savagnin for the whites (70%). All grapes are manually harvested. The reds are each vinified separately after being destemmed. The alcoholic fermentation usually lasts for 15 days or so. Both the Poulsard and Trousseau are aged for one year in stainless steel while the Pinot Noir rests in 225-liter barrels for 18 months. The whites are whole cluster pressed. The juice destined for the crémant goes into stainless until it is prepared for the second fermentation. The Chardonnay for the still wine is fermented in 225-liter barrels and is left in the barrel to age for 24 months before bottling. The white wine is never racked during aging and are raised sous voile, or under a veil of flor yeast. The still white wines are the product of grapes harvested exclusively from old vines that are at least 40 years of age.