Since Roman times, the wines from the area around Château-Chalon were highly appreciated. The Benedictine monks founded the Abbey of Saint-Pierre in nearby Baume-les-Messieurs in 909 AD, this had a direct impact on local viticulture. For centuries, Château-Chalon has become world famous for its inimitable Vins Jaunes. The reputation of these wines brought the inhabitants of the village almost aristocratic wealth. The appreciation for the Vin Jaune is unbroken until today. And Château-Chalon offers the highest quality terroirs for the production of oxidatively matured wines from the Savagnin grape. This is now increasingly true for wines of the non-oxidative ouillé style. This is a complex beauty and aged 8 years instead of the customary 6 sous voile
François father, a former micro-biologist for the Hospices de Beaune, had sold the majority of the grapes to the local cooperative and produced only a little wine for the family. This has changed somewhat and today Francois works around 4.5 acres and sells the rest of the grapes to the Co-op.
His goal is to eventually make wine from about 10 acres so that he can explore different styles of wines and work the different soils in the area. This is just the beginning..
Curiosity, taste and interest drives him in his work. He makes wine in four different cellars with different temperatures (not controlled) and humidity, one better suited for the oxidative wines, one better suited to those he tops up (ouillé) another for the wine he ferments in steel tanks and lastly another for bottle storage.
François Rousset is producing some of the most captivating wines in the Jura right now, of that there is no doubt. Recent bottles consumed have further confirmed this and the glacial pace with which his white wines age; these are wines that seemingly transcend time!
We don’t get much but are happy that we get any at all, the world has discovered this address now and he has hardly anything to sell…
This central part of the Jura is very much the undiscovered Jura, characterized by imposing limestone and marl cliffs perched atop pedestals of sloping vineyards. It is a raw, imposing beauty very different to the gentle slopes further south.
Rousset is redefining what we consider typical of the area, wines made sous-voile with his topping up and vins ouillés. He’s ahead of the pack and is far and away the best producer in his area producing seriously profound wines.
François’ works hard to understand the incredible terroirs that he has inherited – it truly has to be seen to be believed.
In short he fashions wines within the Château Chalon appellation, labelled as Côtes du Jura since he makes them in a non-oxidative (ouillé or topped-up) style. Vinified by parcel (farming is organic-certified) with little to no sulphur and bottled unfined and unfiltered, the Rousset wines are complex and very concentrated, falling somewhere along the spectrum of floral, delicate and exotic and rich.
They are somewhat reminiscent of the Ganevat and Labet wines, but with laser-like acidity and tension alied to serious concentration and depth. Stunning wines indeed.
The white wines shimmer and vibrate with life; they are concentrated, superbly balanced and very fine indeed. His focus is on making ouillé or topped-up wines within the Château Chalon appellation, bottled as Côtes du Jura. Freshness, clarity, precision and persistence their hallmarks.
The red wines are delicious; pale, light, fleeting and charming. They are delicious and go down very nicely!