A family-run estate owned by Alice Bouvot and Charles Dagand, Domaine de l’Octavin is located in Arbois, a commune in the Jura department in Franche-Comté in eastern France, about 50 kilometers southwest of Besançon and about 80 kilometers southeast of Dijon, nestled in the northeastern hills of the Jura Massif.
After graduating as a viticole engineer in Bordeaux and studying in Dijon to become oenologist, Alice Bouvot decided to go abroad to observe the types of wine that is produced there: California first, with renowned winemaker Aaron Pott in 2000, New Zealand and again in California at Pine Ridge in 2001; Vina Errazuriz in Chile in 2002 and then six months in California.
Despite the accumulated wealth of all these encounters and experiences during these three years, Alice returned to France with the certainty that her life will be held in the Jura, this tiny vineyard that does not exceed one percent of French vineyards. After a position of vineyard manager in the “Côte du Jura”, she decided to settle in Arbois with her cellar master, Charles Dagand.
Charles Dagand learned and did his classes in Burgundy. After studying as a technician in oenology and viticulture, it worked with Mr. Galmard, as the technical director of the local cooperative “Fruitière Vinicole d'Arbois – Chateau Bethanie”. Alice enticed him in her adventure in 2004. A year later, they decide to create their own domain: OPUS VINUM, which will become the “Domaine de L’Octavin” in 2008.
Chronologically, here is the historic of the Domaine:
- Created in 2005, Alice and Charles started to rent some vines in the spring and bought a winemaker’s home in the fall, where they vinified 50 hl.
- Purchase of vines in 2006: 3.20 ha in the finest Terroirs d'Arbois:
- lieu dit "Les Corvées"
- lieu dit "Les Nouvelles"
- lieu dit "En Poussot"
- Cultivating 1 hectares of vines with organic methods in a place called "La Mailloche."
- Cultivating o.6 hectare of vines in a place called "In Curon" very good subsoil for red varieties.
- 2007 vintage: conversion of all the vineyards certified organic by Ecocert.
- 2008 vintage: practice of Biodynamic methods: spray dung horn and silica to rectify the equilibrium of the soil and the plants, as well as use of infusion of plants such as nettle, willow, yarrow, the horsetail, dandelion (to strengthen the defenses of the plant immunity and consequently reduce the dose of copper used).
- Spring 2008: planting 0.60 hectare of Savagnin
- 2009 harvest: no added crap / / 100% sulfur-free wines – the biodynamic process is fully in place and contributes to the complexity of all the produced wines.
The Domaine now encompasses 4,90 hectares of vineyards, all Organic and most under reconversion in Biodynamic culture.
The vineyards are planted with local grape variety:
- 45 % of red grapes: Trousseau 20% (reconversion), Pinot noir 13% (reconversion), Ploussard 12% (Organic).
- 55 % of white grapes: Chardonnay 11% (reconversion), Chardonnay (organic) 11%, Savagnin, 33% (AB and reconversion).
Continuing their work in the vineyard with assiduity and dedication, favoring organic and biodynamic agriculture, they wish to present wines that are the most characteristic to their Terroir of origin (quality of the soil, exposure, micro-climate, etc…) without the addition of any artifices, no sulfur, no yeast, no enzymes, etc… Just great healthy wines reflecting the passion of the producers and their utmost respect for the environment.
It's more a philosophy and a lifestyle that they choose here; again, the only truth is the emotion that their wine conveys in the glass. Although quite small they still mange to produce a wide array of wines that I invite you to discover on the winery website at http://www.opusvinum.fr/
Also, to understand the naming of the various labels, you have to know that they are huge fans of classical Music and Arts. Keep an eye on this up-and-coming estate that produce some of the best examples that Jura as to offer, even without having the notoriety of people like Tissot that are a classic standard of the appellation and make stunning wines.
Here is the old label, or at least the label distributed in Europe for the older vintage:
And here is the new, revamped and in my opinion friendlier label:
2009 Domaine de l’Octavin “Dora Bella” Poulsard “La Mailloche” Arbois, France
Suggested retail price $22-$25
Imported / distributor by Savio Soares
Made from 100% very old Poulsard vines (about 50 years old) with no sulfur added, the 2009 Domaine de l’Octavin “Dora Bella” is a beautifully crafted wine, fresh, juicy and fruity, that I highly recommend you to discover. Already intriguing in the glass, adorning a light to medium bright ruby red color with purple hue, the nose is fresh, fragrant and mineral, with fresh red berries aromas mingled with balsamic hints and meaty character. The palate is generous, textured and ample, yet fresh, enhanced by delineated acidity and framed by delicate integrated tannins. In the finish, the red fruit flavors evolve nicely with earthy, mineral, spicy and peppery notes. What a lovely wine!
Decidedly, I can not hide the fact that I’m in love with all mountainous and hilly wines, and overall all wines displaying great minerality and crisp acidity, whatever the color and whether they come from Jura, Savoie, Bugey, Vallée d’Aoste, Piedmont, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Alto Adige, Campania, Rioja, Galicia, and a few more regions in Europe more particularly, I love them all. What more pleasurable than a fresh, juicy and mineral wine that will wake up your taste buds, flirt with your palate with attractive and delicate features that will immediately call for another glass, compared to a huge Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel or even certain Pinot Noir boasting more than 14.5% of alcohol and taste way overripe and hugely too oaky? In my opinion, not much, wine-wise of course…
LeDom du Vin
Info partly taken and edited and translated from the winery website at http://www.opusvinum.fr
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