21 Oct Benoit Mulin

Jérôme Arnoux & Benoît Mulin

Arbois, Jura

Jérôme Arnoux was a cellar rat in Arbois even before he got his first real winery job at the age of 17.  A decade later, he became the right-hand man at Domaine André & Mireille Tissot in the domaine’s father-to-son transition.  A native of Montigny-les-Arsures, Jérôme’s experience at Domaine Tissot from 1996 to 2005 landed him the position of Chef de Cave at Château de Chavanes, his hometown’s most glamorous property.  He held this job until 2012 when the château and its five hectares of biodynamically-farmed vines were sold to Volnay’s Guillaume d’Angerville.   Château de Chavanes and those vines, so meticulously tended for seven years by Jérôme, are now the centerpiece of Domaine du Pélican.

Former banker Benoît Mulin grew up less than 30 miles from Arbois in Besançon, the capital of the Franche-Comté region near the Swiss border. His love affair with Jura wines began while in business school when he took a weekend road trip with his dad to the Fête du Trousseau in Montigny-les-Arsures.  In 2009, Benoît joined Jura rockstar Stéphane Tissot in the négociant éleveur business Stéphane and his wife Bénédicte launched in 1997.  Benoît’s wife Charlotte, a Jura native, just happened to be a lifelong friend of Bénédicte Tissot.  The business was, and still is, centered around an ancient, vaulted cellar in the heart of Arbois that was built for France’s Queen Jeanne in 1326.

Stéphane Tissot assumed responsibility for his family domaine before the turn of the millennium and after several years, realized running two wineries was too taxing.   He eventually decided to sell Le Cellier des Tiercelines, his négociant éleveur business, to his friend Benoît.  In 2012, when Jérôme Arnoux became a free agent, Benoît invited Tissot’s former oenologist to join the enterprise as partner and Production Manager.  Soon thereafter, the business-savvy Benoît and talented vigneron Jérôme began to acquire vineyard parcels in and around Arbois. Today, the duo farms just under 15 hectares (37 acres) of vines in Villette-les-Arbois, Montigny-les-Arsures and Pupillin.  While the négoce biz continues to thrive, American importer Vinergie is focused on the domaine wines of Benoît and Jérôme.  The exception is the Crémant du Jura Brut which is one of the best bubblies of the region (hence Benoît’s nickname of Benny Bubbles).

The 14th Century Cave Reine Jeanne is still an important aasset for the company as it is ideal for slow fermentation and barrel aging.  It also leaves a memorable impression on professional visitors. Jeanne, Comtesse of Bourgogne and Valois, by the way, was married to King Philippe V (Philip The Tall) who reigned from 1316-1322. He was second son of the ruthless and powerful King Philippe IV (Philip The Fair) who was responsible for moving the Papal seat from Rome to France and abolishing the Order of the Knights Templar.

DOMAINE FACTS

Vines: 8.75 hectares (21.62 acres) in Villette-les-Arbois, 5 hectares in Pupillin (12.35 acres) and 1.14 ha (2.8 acres) in Montigny-les-Arsures.  Breakdown by variety is 5.6 hectares (13.84 acres) of Chardonnay, 4.67 hectares (11.5 acres) of Savagnin, 2.75 hectares (6.8 acres) of Pinot Noir, 1.14 hectares (2.8 acres) of Poulsard, and 0.67 hectares (1.66 acres) of Trousseau                                                                                                                                                                                 Note:  The company also vinifies the harvests of 25 grower friends so it has access to some of the best fruit in the region for its négociant éleveur business.
Wines: Benoît Mulin Crémant du Jura Brut:  50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir aged three years sur lattes
Jérôme Arnoux Arbois Chardonnay Chantemerle:  40+ year-old Chard from a 4 hectare lieu-dit in Villette-les-Arbois – Fermented and aged one year in neutral barrels in La Cave Reine Jeanne
Jérôme Arnoux Arbois Savagnin Authentique:  30 months sous voile (under veil of yeast) in 228 liter neutral barrels                                                               Jérôme Arnoux Arbois Poulsard Subtil:  Vinified entirely in stainless steel and bottled after nine months
Jérôme Arnoux Arbois Trousseau Exception:  Fermented and aged one year in neutral barrels in La Cave Reine Jeanne – No added sulfur
Jérôme Arnoux Arbois Pinot Noir Révélation :  Fermented and aged one year in neutral barrels in La Cave Reine Jeanne – Unfiltered and no added sulfur
Soil: Various strata of limestone dating from Jurassic to Triassic epoch interspersed with blue and gray clay-marls. Chard and Pinot grown predominantly on limestone while Trousseau, Poulsard and Savagnin are grown on clay-marl soils.
Harvest: Manual harvest using small bins with strict selection in the vineyard
Yields: Average 35-40 hectoliters/hectare
Vinification & Elevage: Méthode Traditionelle is used for the Crémant du Jura. Bottling with liqueur de tirage takes place in the January following harvest after both primary fermentation and malo-lactic are complete.  The wine then remains sur lattes for 36 months.   Dosage includes 6 grams/liter of sugar.  Gyropalettes are used for remuage (riddling).  Indigenous yeast only for all of the still wines.  The Chardonnay Chantemerle undergoes long, slow fermentation and one year of aging in neutral barrels at La Cave de la Reine Jeanne. Coarse filtration before bottling.  Fermentation and aging for the Savagnin Authentique takes place at Le Cellier des Tiercelines.  Elevage is in 228 liter neutral barrels for 30 months.  Barrels are not topped off allowing the character-enriching veil of yeast to develop.  The Poulsard Subtil is vinified entirely in stainless steel and bottled after 9 months.  The Trousseau Exception and Pinot Noir Révélation are fermented and aged entirely in neutral barrels for one year at La Cave Reine Jeanne. The Trousseau gets a coarse filtration but the Pinot Noir is not filtered before bottling.
Annual Production:
60,000 bottles / 5,000 cases