Jean-Claude and Annie Credoz make wines in the legendary Chateau-Chalon village of the Jura region. They were happy to sell the bulk of their wines in France until recently, when they arrived in the U.S. for the first time.
An undiscovered gem in some hallowed French appellation that is still affordable? It's the kind of thing I always hope comes my way, but is more likely to be found in the travelogues of American wine importers from decades long past. Yet somehow importer Rachel Kerswell (who started her new company just before tariffs hit, followed by Covid, and then giving birth) convinced Jean-Claude Credoz to send her some wine — even though five generations of his family have had no problem selling all their wines in France. When Rachel showed me these wines I stocked up on as much as I could, but they will still go quickly. Finding Jura wines of this level for around $30 is pretty amazing, as I'm sure many of you know.
The Credoz family is located in Chateau-Chalon, where Gothic and Romanesque buildings are set on dramatic limestone cliffs. It's one of the most historic appellations in the region, as close to a Grand Cru that the Jura has. Jean-Claude and Annie moved there in 2002 from the rival village of Menetru-sur-Vignobles, and in an odd twist of fate are now the largest landowners in Chateau-Chalon, with just under five hectares. They have another five hectares of vines that fall under the surrounding Cotes du Jura appellation. At 10 hectares, it is still a small-sized estate, however, and they will be certified organic this year. As their son Valentin gradually takes over more of the estate everything will be converted to Biodynamic farming — not suprising since Valentin has spent the past few years working for the Bourdy brothers, perhaps the best-known winemakers in Chateau-Chalon. I expect the repuation of this estate will only continue to grow.
The wines are not wild or crazy in the vein of, say, Michel Gahier, one of my favorites, but they probably do a better job of expressing the grapes and the terroir of the region in a more textbook way. That sounds kind of boring but it's not. Especially with Jura wines where there's already plenty of unique hallmarks to the region. With the Credoz wines you get to clearly taste the intriguing character of the soil, the grape varieties, and the winemaking traditions. For anyone who hasn't yet experienced the charm of this quirky region, there will probably never be a better chance than this. Turn back the clock and drink these like you're a wide-eyed American stalking rural France in the 1980s for a taste of something authentic and uncompromising.