Stéphane et Bénédicte Tissot – Biodynamic Vigneron’s of Jura, France
13th March 2023
I should apologize to the youth reading these Glass of Bubbly blogs, for my long winded and free form articles appearing as self aggrandizing my memory. We need to go to the discotheque era to celebrate a brilliant British wine connoisseur André Simon and the way he helped chart the wine trade of the 19th into the 20th centuries.
He was born in 1877, apparently a gifted palate from early on, he swiftly rose through the ranks as a respected wine taster from 17 years of age. He helped guide hundreds of young persons into the WSET program and became a touchstone to the Year of the Comet wines from firsthand experience of the vintage 1811. Those venerated Madeira and Port wines were merely adolescents when touched by Simon in 1894, spry wines 83 years young!
His remarkable charm and palette memory made him quickly an authoritative figure. Upon his death, Hugh Johnson remarked “the charismatic leader of the English wine trade for almost all of the first half of the 20th century, and the grand old man of literate connoisseurship for a further 20 years!” What sticks out in my muddled memory of him was a story passed along to a grand marque Champagne house in the 19th century picking young Blanc de Blancs grapes of Jura to stretch the vintage short harvests decimated by freeze, or mold. The quality of Jura wines were high in acidity, round fruit, and perfectly adaptable to blending with Champagnes. So those were my first impressions of Mr Simon heard upon his eulogy.
Domaine André et Mirielle Tissot, Jura vignerons established their cottage wine production in 1962. The estate eventually grew to 35 hectares (roughly 80 acres) and was identified over time into six different vineyard expressions. The estate is now confidently run by Stéphane and his wife Bénédicte since 1990. Developing plans to adopt Demeter certification required new vineyard practices and cellar protocols to meet the demands of new markets and discerning tastes. The vineyard expanded to 46 hectares in conjunction with striving for organic Demeter certification in 1999 greatly enhanced the wines density in 2004. Both are Biodynamically raised still and sparkling Cremant under the Stéphane et Bénédicte Tissot banner.
I was introduced to their wines in 1986 at a Jura cooperative tasting. Theirs were a standout for excellence and balanced wines.
The currently offered portfolio by Domaine André et Mirielle Tissot: ‘BBF’ Blanc de Blancs Cremant de Jura Extra Brut £31 is a combined vintage 2008 14 month barrique fermented, while the vintage’s 2009 tank aged wine blends for generosity and purpose. The wine’s color is richly hued yellow colored straw, with a gentle mousse that supports the extra dry Cremant characteristics. Very Champagne like aromas and palate entry.
Domaine André et Mireille Tissot: ‘Indigène’ Cremant de Jura Brut £26 has been a favorite of mine for the commitment to originality (the disgorged bottles added liqueur de Tirage supplied by Tissot’s own Vin de Paille for secondary fermentation) to make a bone dry wine with an astonishing Champagne profile. With fuller flavors than the original Brut, more plump and honeyed impression, however actually it is a drier wine.
There are scores of dry whites, single vineyard reds and extraordinary Jura dessert specialties Vin de Paille (straw wine) and the sumptuous MacVin, a honeyed rich Sherry style that begs to be paired with cakes & stewed core fruits.
Restaurant General Manager, Corporate Beverage Director, & Hospitality Consultant, with these qualities he represents a Triple Threat: a culinary tableside historian, an accomplished wine taster with the casual ability to make flavor relationships and beverage quality value accessible.