Henri Le Roy farms a few tiny parcels of vineyards in the Cotes du Jura – an area just west of the Swiss border and Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), and just east of Burgundy. He’s an intense man – driven, and smart. In fact, his original career was as a Biologist, in Paris. He was drawn to the Jura by its incredible terroir, with ancient stones and seashells from its Jurassic period namesake. He’s pretty new at this – his first vintage was 2005 – but the results speak for themselves. Unlike many of his counterparts in Jura, he abhors oxidation, and his cellar practices carefully avoid the intentional contact with oxygen which the region’s famous Vin Jaune jauntily displays.
Lying as it does just to the east of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, with similar argille-calcaire terroir, it makes sense that the wines of Jura have the potential for greatness. The local palate of grape varietals is super interesting. It includes Chardonnay (locally called "Melon d'Arbois") and Pinot Noir - brought from burgundy during the middle ages, and the Chardonnay can reach fantastic levels of expression and quality. Savagnin (locally called "Naturé") is another local white grape with powerful acidity and character. Poulsard, a red wine, has so little color, but so much aromatic expression that it must be tasted to be believed, and is also a major component of the local Vin de Paille ("straw wine," made from grapes dried into raisins on mats of straw and fashioned into a very sweet dessert wine). Some growers also work with a red grape called Trousseau, although Henri does not produce one at this stage, nor of course does he produce the nutty, super-oxidised Vin Jaune, though he does make another local curiousity, Macvin: unfermented, late-harvest grape must which is fortified with the local Marc du Jura (strong spirits).
Bourg-en Bresse is a stone's throw away, and, naturally, the famous Poulet de Bresse (AOC) Bresse chicken is thought to be a divine food pairing with the white wines of the Jura. Or, if Bresse poulet is unavailable, it's no sin to substitute a high quality free run chicken from a local farm. The red wines work beautifully with sausage and salumi.
Henri’s vineyards are in the most southern part of the appellation. His wines are produced with natural yeasts only, and are fermented in barrel where they go directly after their gentle harvest.
~ Joe Kotnik
Winery: L'Aigle À Deux Têtes
Locale: Vincelles, France
Farming: Uses Organic Practices