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Domaine A. and M. TISSOT

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Tissot, one of the best yellow wine and Jura

Stephane tissotThe vineyard of Benedicte and Stephane Tissot has been a must in Jura wine for many years. At Tissot vineyard, wine is a family affair. Maurice Tissot, father of André Tissot and grandfather of Stephane, owned 3 ha of vines (made in cooperative) and 25 ha of farmland. He decided in 1956 to plant vines for each of his four sons: Jacques, Jean-louis, Daniel and André. The latter inherited 38 ares, which will become the domain Andre and Mireille Tissot, today led by their son Stephane.

Stephane Tissot is a rebellious spirit who appropriates traditions while sublimating them. After studying Viticulture / Oenology, he joined his father in the family vneyard in 1989 (he is 19 years old!). He gradually took over the management of the vineyard and adopted organic farming in 1999, then moved on to biodynamics in 2004. Not by militancy but in search of ever more quality. For him, industrialization is the death of wine. While natural wine offers surprises with each bottle, each sip.

The Tissot now own 43 hectares planted with the classical varieties of the Jura: savagnin, poulsard, trousseau, pinot noir, chardonnay. They produce great wines in all the appellations of the region: Château-Chalon, Côtes du Jura, vin d'Arbois, or Arbois vin jaune. As far as the latter is concerned, Stéphane Tissot created vintage in 2003, a small revolution for this typical Jura wine.

The Tissot vineyard can count on superb terroirs, such as the Bruyères, La Mailloche, Curon or En Barberon. Today, Andre and Mireille Tissot offer a wide range, in which the selection has been extremely difficult! We chose the most representative of the region and the talent of Stéphane Tissot.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
: Stephane Tissot has become the best-known face of his region internationally (exports are now up to half of production), and in their combination of clarity and immediate appeal with intrigue, it would be hard to find either a person or wines more suited to that role. The line-up at his estate varies in labeling according to legal technicalities with which I have sought not to burden readers. Some labels indicate the names of Stephane and his wife Benedicte; most still bear those of his parents, Andre and Mireille; and all now include the prominent legend “vinifie par Stephane Tissot.” (The negociant joint-project known and labeled as Cave de la Reine Jeanne is briefly explained under my notes on its three wines.) Restraint with sulfur has long been a characteristic at this address, and both the increasing fashion for low-sulfur and Tissot’s growing confidence as a vintner have no doubt been factors in his increasingly utilizing no sulfur until bottling and then only a few grams, as well as his experimentation with certain entirely sulfur-free cuvees. Tissot is understandably delighted with his young 2010s, but only slightly less enamored with the 2009s. The latter, he says, push and occasionally exceed 14% alcohol – a circumstance he prefers to avoid – but escape any over-ripeness of flavor such as he found (and I can confirm) in many 2005s. Among the especially noteworthy sites recently developed by Tissot is his Clos de la Tour de Curon, situated right below the eponymous tower once reputed to mark the best site in the commune of Arbois. The vines – based on old selections massales, and just coming up on ten years – are trained to single posts; densely planted to resemble a Mosel or Cote Rotie slope; and reduced to just 2-3 clusters each. A mere four and a half barriques resulted in 2010; but that wine – like a strikingly floral, similarly promising Les Mailloche, from 50-year-old vines in Arbois, which was not even finished fermenting when I tasted it last November – could not yet be commented-on in detail or rated for this report. And speaking of slow fermentations, last November the 2009 Les Graviers still had sugar left to (hopefully!) digest. Tissot’s Chardonnay plantings favor selections massale and the local melon a queue rouge variant rather than latter-day Burgundian clones; the selection planted at the Tour de Curon representing in his words “all the variants of Chardonnay you can have in the Jura, including 4% ‘Chardonnay Musque.’” Tissot’s acquisition of a small parcel of Chateau Chalon dates to 2007, but that means three more years before this exciting news leads to the first fruits in bottle; meantime, his Cotes du Jura Sursis reflects (and is named for) the share of the aforementioned parcel that was planted in Chardonnay which Tissot – in complete disregard of the bottom line, given that the Jura’s most prestigious appellation is Savagnin-only – elected to spare. Having had chance on the occasion of my November visit to taste a significant number of back vintages, I have included notes on most of these in the present report. I only regret in retrospect that I had not asked Tissot in advance to show me a full range of his 2008 Chardonnays; but he had not pulled any of them for me until I requested, and most of his 2008s were in a cellar that we could not take time to access given that we had tarried in his vineyards, not to mention tasted his complete current releases.

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