Domaine Rolet : Return to the Vineyard 2023

Arbois, Jura
September 2023

Arriving at Domaine Rolet, I am immediately greeted with aromas of grapefruit, mirabelle and juicy red cherries that perfume the air – we are mid-vintage and the winery team is full on!

Everyone is smiling. They know how good Vintage 2023 is at Domaine Rolet. Always hand harvested, the grapes are arriving to the cellar in beautiful quality with a nice quantity too.

The picking team is off today – rain day – but that gives the cellar team an opportunity to focus on the fermentations and all the beautiful juices slowly bubbling away… Proof that the fermentations are off to a great start.

Vintage 2023

From January, the Winter was rather mild, with more rain than last year, but not a lot of snow, just a lot of rain. No serious frost. The vines started budburst at the beginning of March, 2023, about 15 days behind 2021.

Soil work in April and May was complicated because it was very dry. May was a little cold but, but no damage from frost.  Ebourgonnage was conducted in May for the red grapes. Domaine Rolet planted 2ha of Chardonnay and Trousseau “à la Dame” (from selection massale from the Domaine !) end of May – the soil was very dry, making the task quite labour intense.  However, Domaine Rolet has noticed that when their vines are planted later in the season, they root better, so mid-May seems to be the ideal time.

Floraison at the start of June – really great fruit set. Domaine Rolet knew then that harvest would start at the beginning of September.

Chardonnay, lieu-dit Vauxelles, AOC Arbois
Chardonnay, lieu-dit Vauxelles, AOC Arbois
Then end of June and July, the rains came. Lots of rain. Much more than 2022. Big Mildew pressure – but Rolet managed it and were vigilant and treated when necessary.

For the reds – Rolet conducted de-leafing on one side in July. Then they did some green harvesting from August 15 on the reds.  

Harvest 2023

Vintage began on September 4th with about 80 hand harvesters – there are no machines here! The first grapes to be picked were those destined for vin de paille, as they had to be slightly under-ripe, good acid, with intact skins capable of withstanding a long winter of drying.

And then the Crémant followed on September 6-8th, and the entire L’Etoile parcel of Chardonnay and Savagnin was harvested on September 9 th & 10th. The Reds – Poulsard, Trousseau, & Pinot Noir began on September 12th and 13th for the early ripening parcel – upon departure from the domain, only 20ha were done, still two thirds left to go, or at least 15 days of full harvest left. 

The leaves are turning brown already due to the heatwave of last week. Like every year, the Savagnins destined for Vin Jaune will be the last to be harvested. A hardy grape variety, it also comes later in the season, and for the must to set properly, it must have a potential alcohol level of 13°.

Grapes for Vin de Paille
Grapes for Vin de Paille

Vintage 2023: So Far, So GREAT!

Above all this has been a great vintage for the reds, and for the Jura in general. General Manager Cédric Ducoté is now in his 6th vintage at Domaine Rolet in the Jura, and he is thrilled with the quality and quantity of the fruit and quality of grapes that are coming into the cellar.  

As described by him, the 2023 harvest is a “very generous, very promising vintage, with very high quality fruit”. How to choose which plot to harvest? Cédric notes that “We are guided by our own tasting and our own maturity analyses (sugar, acid), but above all, by the weather of Mother Nature”.

For Domaine Rolet Rosé fans – we have great news! There will be BOTH a Crémant Rosé and the Arbois still Rosé wine made in 2023.

berries for pre-ripeness check
Must samples

Perfect timing for this vintage, a series of new stainless steel tanks have just been installed in the winery, some of them very small so that we can experiment special selected parcel vinifications.

Keeping things local, the tanks have been made by St Amour, Jura supplier BSA Scheiber who have done a truly beautiful job with their craftsmanship.

A dream cellar for making great wines!

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