Jean-François Ganevat

ganevat in his cellarJean-François is located in the sleepy hamlet of La Combe, below the village of Rotalier. His wines are highly sought-after because he has a winemaking style that is uniquely his own, inspired by the past but looking toward the future. He’s affectionately known as Fan-Fan.

La Combe is south of Arbois and the climate here is warmer. The vines finish flowering when they’ve just started to flower in Pupillin. Actually it’s as close to Burgundy as it is to Arbois.  Ganevat’s wines have a distinctly Burgundian slant to them because he spent ten years working for Jean-Marc Morey in the Côtes-du-Beaune. His strong family roots in the Jura, however, go back to the 14th century.

Jean-François converted to biodynamic viticulture in 1999 and in 2006 he virtually eliminated the use of sulfur. He and his dreadlocked crew de-stem by hand using custom-designed scissors; his vinification and élevage take place in tronconic demi-muids (500 liter casks). You won’t find new oak in his cellar.

Fermentation starts with indigenous yeasts (of course); then the wines are left for a month or so before being racked off their lees and put back into the same cleaned vats. His whites get a minimum of two (some up to eleven!) years of élevage and the reds at least one year. He makes a stunning number of different cuvées, between thirty-five and forty every year.

His meticulous approach goes far beyond the average vigneron. For some, his process would be maddening. Each cuvée calls for a personalized élévage in his maze of small cellars.