Regarded as the oldest winemaking château in France, Château d’Arlay has, in the past, been home to Minim friars and the Countess of Lauragais to name just a couple. In 1960, the Count of Laguiche decided that the château should make wine once again like it used to in the Middle-Ages. Today, his son Alain is in charge of the venture. Alain has a very modern approach to vinifications but chooses a more traditional style when it comes to the ageing of the wines. The wines are matured in the magnificent cellars of the Château that date back to the 17th century. There are around 25 hectares of vines that are planted to Pinot Noir, Trousseau, Poulsard, Chardonnay and Savignin. The vines are situated on slopes at an altitude of 200 to 240 metres. Some of the vines are relatively old, planted in 1953. This domain has an organic approach but does not possess certification. One of the icons of the Jura, the wines of Château d’Arlay are a must try!
About the cuvée
The village of Château-Chalon lies in the heart of the "vin jaune" region; a wine produced in various Jura appellations from the Savagnin grape, a cousin of Alsace's famous Traminers. A favourite of Henri IV, Nicolas II and Metternich, vin jaune presents a challenge to modern vinification techniques. The methods used are similar to those employed in the production of sherry. The winegrowers wait as late as possible to harvest extremely ripe grapes, with a potential alcohol content of around 15%. After fermentation, the wine is placed in old oak barrels that are not completely filled. It is aged for the requisite period of six years and three months. A film of yeast gradually appears on the surface, and completely covers the wines after two or three years. As a result it is slowly transformed into vin jaune. The bouquet gains in power and develops persistent aromas of walnuts. This unique wine has its own unique bottle, the 62 cl "clavelin", which is supposed to represent what remains of a litre of wine after six years in the barrel. Only produced in the best vintages, vin jaune has an incredible capacity to age: Château d'Arlay's wines can be kept fro a hundred years! Having been opened a good half a day before being served, this wine should be drunk at room temperature, around 17°C. A listed historic monument, Château d'Arlay was once a monastery for the Order of Minims. It became the residence of the Comtesse de Lauraguais in the 18th century. In 1960, the Comte de Laguiche undertook to re-establish the property that had been created in the early Middle Ages by the Comtes de Chalon-Arlay, the Princes of Orange. His son Alain, who currently manages the winery, places an emphasis on using modern vinification methods, followed by traditional ageing in casks in the château's magnificent 17th century cellars.
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