Arbois Blanc, “Zeste de Savagnin”
A-J began his “Zeste” project by happy accident; a batch of 2018 Chardonnay had elevated volatile acidity in barrel, so he added some skins upon which a younger wine had just finished fermenting, and the wine corrected itself. He loved the results, and began producing a Savagnin which employs skin-contact but which A-J adamantly resists classifying as an “orange wine.” The Savagnin for this bottling is destemmed by hand via crible (his other whites are pressed whole-cluster) and undergoes semi-carbonic maceration with no pump-overs or punch-downs. It then spends two winters in a single 12-hl terracotta jar on its fine lees, and is bottled without fining or filtration. Showing salty grip on the palate but without overt tannins, “Zeste de Savagnin” is explosively spicy, with notes of poached pears on an impressively concentrated palate.