Domaine Grand

Passenans, Jura

Historically Château Chalon was viewed as being one of the great vineyards of France by writer Maurice Edmond Sailland, along with Coulée de Serrant, Le Montrachet, Château Grillet and Y’Quem.  Additionally, the Emperor Napoleon was educated on the wine when sharing a drink at Johannisberg castle with Prince de Metternich.  Napoleon declared "Here, you serve the best wine in the world". Hesitating, the prince finally said, "Sir, with all do respect, the best wine in the world is not from Johannisberg, but found in a small town in your empire, at Château-Chalon”.

The Grand family has been in the Pupillin region for over 300 years and farmed grapes for 7 generations. Until the mid-seventies, Lothain along with his wife Christine farmed just 2 hectares of vines, supplementing the families income with milk and assorted crops. By the mid-seventies, he began phasing out his reliance on cows and planted 10 hectares with vines.  He studied winemaking in Beaune and then did some internships in Meursault and the Jura. Lothain’s two sons, Emmanuel, who had done an internship in Chile, and Sebastien took over the domaine at the beginning of the millennium, expanding their vineyards to nearly 24 hectares, with nearly half of that being chardonnay. In 2014, the brothers decided to split: Sebastien sold his vineyards and entered another profession, while Lothain parted with his part of the company as well. Now the domaine is comprised of nine and a half hectares of vines (7 in the Cotes du Jura, 2 in Cremant du Jura and .70 in Chateau Chalon), and run by Emmanuel and his wife Nathalie, a native of the Arbois region who also studied winemaking.

The only grape permitted in Château Chalon is Savagnin. Also known as Le Tature or Fromentin, its origin in not well known. It is closely related to the Klevener d'Heiligenstein grape which is cultivated in Alsace and is part of the Traminer family. Its thick skin makes it resistant to rot and allows it to be harvested late.  Grapes in Château Chalon have to have at least 12% alcohol potential, which is higher than other vin jaune in the region.