Domaine Overnoy-Crinquand

domaine_overnoy_crinquand_logo M CRINQUAND (by BJ) Crinquand-Trousseau
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This domaine, situated in the center of the village of Pupillin, in the heart of the Arbois appellation, is three generations old. Mikael Crinquand tends the viticultural side of this multi-faceted family operation. The Overnoy-Crinquand families have always managed their holdings within Pupillin in a poly-cultural, organic fashion, tending seventy cows to produce milk for the famous Comté cheese of the region, harvesting grains and cereals and producing wine from the 5.5 hectares dedicated to vineyards.

The vineyards, situated entirely within the confines of Pupillin, are on rather severe slopes within the area known as “La Bidode”. All farming aspects are handled organically and that has been the case since the establishment of the domaine many decades ago. The vineyards are planted to a mix of the classic varieties of the Jura: two hectares of Ploussard, one hectare of Trousseau, one hectare of Savagnin and one and one-half hectares of Chardonnay. All harvesting is done by hand. The vinification and elevage of the wines is profoundly traditional giving the wines the pronounced and unique expression of the terroir of the Jura. Currently, 90% of the production is sold to private clients and we consider ourselves fortunate to have access to the limited amount of wine that is made available for export.

Crinquand-Cremant-du-Jura-ROSE Crémant du Jura Rosé: Crinquand uses fruit from the younger vines of Ploussard to make his sparkling wine. Although the vintage is not indicated on the label, Crinquand’s Crémant is vintage specific, all the juice being from a single harvest. The Crémant from this estate is bone-dry “brut zero” (no dosage). On the palate one senses a hint of tannin, a strong underlying earthiness … its “terroir” and an ebullient raspberry fruit in both flavor and on the nose. Certified Organic.
Crinquand-Chardonnay Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay La Bidode: The chardonnay at Overnoy-Crinquand is fermented in wood where the malolactic fermenatation also occurs; the “elevage” is in “demi-muid” (500 – 600 liter barrels); the wine spends a minimum of two years in barrel before being bottled; there is a virtually no SO2 used during the aging process; although the wine is not purposely aged “sous voile”, it is never topped up during its time before bottling and there is only a single racking during the “elevage”. The wine displays excellent, firm acidity, is rather full in the mouth, quite honeyed in its nose and flavor, fine with a persistent, mineral-dominated finish. Certified Organic.
Crinquand-Chardonnay-VV Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes: This cuvée of Chardonnay is harvested from 60-year old vines ; in this instance, « elevage » occurs in smaller barrels (« piece ») and is bottled after three years … a wine of remarkable concentration with classic notes of hazelnut and honey. Certified Organic.
Crinquand-Savagnin Arbois-Pupillin Savagnin: The best Savagnin is produced from poor soils underlain with “marne grise” and the Crinquand Savagnin is planted in a singular one hectare parcel of compact grey marl. Vinified in large, old oak barrels and left there to age about four years before bottling, Crinquand’s Savagnin is a profound wine marked by notes of beeswax, cacao and walnut with a penetrating, long, almost tannic finish. Certified Organic.
Crinquand-Ploussard Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard Pupillin: is recognized as the “home” of the Ploussard grape, the lime-clay soils of the vineyards, heavily laden with stones, surrounding the village providing the perfect setting to express the curious and compelling character of this grape variety. The light color of this wine reflects the grey-rose blush to the skin of the grape which then leads to a surprisingly tannic texture; a rough, “sauvage”, lively wine with a big personality. Drawn from the oldest Ploussard vines of the domaine. Certified Organic.
Crinquand-Trousseau Arbois-Pupillin Trousseau: The Trousseau from Pupillin is a touch less profound than the Trousseau produced by Puffeney and Gahier in the neighboring commune of Montigny-les-Arsures (noted as the “home” of Trousseau). Here, Crinquand’s version, vinified in barrel in similar manner to his Ploussard, is more fine and elegant than the other Trousseaux in our portfolio and is less rustic than Crinquand’s Ploussard. The Trousseau plantings are isolated in vineyards the composition of which is a classic mix of clay and limestone dominated by small pebbles and stones. Certified Organic.
Vin Jaune: The “unicorn” of the Overnoy Crinquand cellar, this very limited wine is only produced in the best of vintages. Exceeding the mandatory 6-years-and-3-months aging period required to claim a wine as Vin Jaune, Overnoy ages their Savignin “sous voile” for 10 years before bottling. The result is a magical amalgamation of finesse and decay, a compact, carmelized and nutty fruit character advancing into a deeply briny and mineral firework show on the palate. This is not a Vin Jaune for the weak of heart. Production of this wine is tiny; only a few hundred bottles are produced. After almost a decade of visits, we were fortunate enough to be offered a few cases of the 2007 to import into the United States – 12 bottles, to be exact.
Our initial shipment of wines from Mikael Crinquand included the 2010 Ploussard which, upon opening, revealed a heavily “reduced” nose. This phenomenon is the direct result of a regime wherein Crinquand uses almost no sulfur during the elevage nor at the time of bottling. Ploussard also is a grape that tends to evidence reduction in the bouquet. The wine became quite controversial and was criticized as “undrinkable” (among other pejoratives). It had (and has) been my experience that this particular wine benefited from a vigorous decanting and, when then left to “breathe”, the unpleasant aromatics of reduction were, if not entirely gone, at least less pronounced. Some found it too rude to imbibe; others enjoyed its rusticity. Clearly, the wine was not for everyone and those who did not like the wine certainly had justification for feeling so. That being said, we think it was worth making the experiment, particularly in these days when “natural” wines are very much in vogue. That is not to make an excuse for the wine; it is what it is … flawed, curious perhaps, undrinkable for many … but an honest attempt to minimize the use of sulfur. Perhaps the future will see a less problematic wine.

Domaine Overnoy-Crinquand

No domaine with whom we work embodies the Jura’s pre-technological agrarian past as wholeheartedly as Overnoy-Crinquand, headed today by the warm and energetic Mickael Crinquand. Although the family still derives twice as much income from their Comté cows as their wines, Mickael’s 5.5 hectares in the prized hills of Pupillin yield wines of tremendous character and staggering authenticity—wines that could be produced absolutely nowhere else but the Jura. Mickael’s forebears were never seduced by the labor-saving chemicals being flouted several decades back, and so the family’s vineyards have always been worked organically (certified as such since 1999). The stark, bare-bones cellar, located beneath their modest home, houses huge barrels of 50 to 100 years of age within which their completely egoless wines gradually take form. If these wines are perhaps less chiseled and fleet-footed than Montbourgeau’s, or less full-throttle than Les Matheny’s, they more than compensate with their sense of timeless calm and inimitable local flavor.

Crémant du Jura Blanc
Mickael’s Crémant Blanc is pure Chardonnay with 30 months of lees contact and a mere 0.5 grams per liter dosage. Produced exclusively from the 2017 vintage, this disgorgement offers greater textural plushness and breadth than the beloved Montbourgeau Crémant above, with iron-tinged minerality and a gently honeyed character.

2019 Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard
Overnoy-Crinquand’s Ploussard, from 25- to 60-year-old vines in Pupillin, pours a pale-orange-tinged ruby, but offers surprisingly meaty depth and firm minerality. Large, ancient barrels preserve the wine’s freshness and allow for an extremely conservative application of sulfur, and this 2019 is a richer and more palate-coating example than certain vintages, owing to the growing season’s solar character. Still, this is a wine driven by spice, and it remains a beguiling combination of delicacy and earthy funk.

2019 Arbois-Pupillin Trousseau
Although it is more ethereal than the versions from Les Matheny and Joseph Dorbon owing to Pupillin’s elegance-enhancing terroir, Mickael’s Trousseau—aged in similar fashion to the Ploussard above—offers plenty of ripe, controlled red fruits, with a twist of licorice and dusty spices, and anchored by mellow but present acidity. It is slightly richer and more concentrated than the Ploussard, but, as is often the case here, the two are closer in body and personality than at many domaines.

2018 Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay “La Bidode”
Crinquand’s “La Bidode” is produced from 40-year-old Chardonnay planted in the vineyard of the same name, on a steep slope just behind the family house in Pupillin. While it is not topped up during its two-year elevage, this shows significantly less oxidative character than those from our other growers in the region, due partly to the size and age of the barrels—25-hectoliter foudres whose many years of usage have greatly reduced porosity—and partly to Pupillin’s terroir. Floral, fine, and sprightly, this offers excellent precision and lift.

2016 Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay “Vieilles Vignes”
A unique and arresting wine, Mickael’s old-vines bottling of Chardonnay is picked three weeks later than the “La Bidode” above, with frequent occurrences of botrytis among the bunches. Fermented and aged three full years in well-used 600-liter barrels, the 2016 harnesses the full capacity of its 70-year-old vines, offering a gripping, powerful palate whose dense, apricot-dominated fruit threatens to outmuscle the wine’s voile-derived saline thrust.

An Ode to Vin Jaune

… A hunched figure, barely visible in the twilight, barred the great subterranean cellar’s modest entrance. Ragged and weary from their journey, the five sommeliers looked at one another with surprise; the old book had mentioned nothing of a gatekeeper. They had followed the map with great care, the promise of long-buried vinous spoils, theirs for the taking, having sustained them through the endless Krug-less days—but it seemed a final challenge awaited. The sentinel scowled at them from beneath his large hood.

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New Arrivals from the Jura: September 2020

The Jura’s meteoric rise among American wine drinkers over the past decade has been well documented, but the wines from the tiny appellation of L’Étoile remain somewhat less known. Perhaps that’s due to its comparatively diminutive size, or perhaps to its lack of appellation-status red wines—much initial fervor over the Jura in the US was driven by the region’s light…

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