Catherine Hannoun of Domaine de la Loue had a successful career in film. Working on the documentary Mondovino led her to working with the revered Emannuel Houillon of Maison Pierre Overnoy fame. She started with her own vines in 2009.
For all my love of natural wine, I have a particularly hard time with zero sulfur Savagnin from the Jura — even more of a hard time when it's an orange wine. Savagnin is a grape that I think is predisposed to making a pretty confrontational wine to begin with. Add to that some screaming volatile acidity, novel microbiological content, and the higher prices typical for Jura and skin contact wines these days, and it's not always a combination that I'm smitten with.
So, believe me, I was skeptical of this zero-sulfur skin-contact Savagnin from Catherine Hannoun of Domaine de la Loue. How she pulled it off, I'm not entirely sure. But it is one of the more thrilling and unique wines I've come across recently.
Catherine's story is as compelling as this crazy-delicious wine she's made. She had a successful career in film as an actress and producer. She produced Mondovino, the 2004 documentary by Jonathan Nossiter that shined a light on the plight of small winemakers in an increasingly global corporate wine market: I highly recommend checking out this film if you're curious.
This experience led Catherine to work for Emmanuel Houillon in the Jura, who makes some of the most sought-after natural wines around as the partner of the legendary Pierre Overnoy. She then bought her own vines in Arbois in 2009 and got to work. We're just starting to see some of her wines in New York and she's definitely one to keep you're eye on.
If you taste as much wine as I do, it's easy to get jaded and a little cranky about certain styles and categories that you usually don't like. Which is why I especially love wines like this that bypass predispositions and go right for your jugular on their way down your gullet, the perfect mix of pleasure and adventure.
Savagnin from a single, southeast-facing vineyard in Arbois-Pupillin on gray marl soils. Two weeks of maceration on the skins. Enchanting, pretty aromas of pineapple and fresh flowers. On the palate you can detect a healthy, ripe core of fruit, and with it comes notes of spicy Bosc pear and fresh ginger. It's able to maintain an impressive balance between the nervy, electric acids and the round, fruity components, finishing with just a bit of mineral, salty texture. Overall this is an engaging mix of heady complexity and Epicurean indulgence, leaning towards the playful, pleasing side of things.