Leo & Paul's Project, Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard
Leo & Paul's Project, Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard

Leo & Paul's Project, Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard

Jura, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$44.00

Leo & Paul's Project, Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard

Today’s discovery is tailor made for all you lovers of soil-to-glass glory. It’s also brand spanking new, not just to us, but to the entire country. It is the passion project of Paul Duroussay, a local importer of small-production French wines, and his Jura based friend, Leo Petit. Together they sourced a small parcel of organically grown Poulsard, or Ploussard as they say in Pupillin, and have made a wine that is so true to the very old traditions of winemaking in this sleepy Alpine foothills village that it was an instant hit during a recent roundtable tasting. With a pale, brick-orange hue and a rush of savory, earthy flavors that quickly surround the soft, sensuous fruit, it instantly reminded us of the preeminent “unicorn” winemaker of the Jura: Pierre Overnoy. And that’s no coincidence, as he is the inspiration behind the winemaking, and his vineyards and cellar are a short walk from Leo & Paul’s. Of course, getting a bottle of Overnoy is like finding a giant pearl in your oyster, and almost as expensive. Today’s old-school gem is also very limited, and we are the only place to find it, but the price is extraordinarily reasonable. Don’t miss out!

The heart of the Jura wine zone is the small town of Arbois, nestled into cozy Alpine foothills. Arbois has a few hotels, a small square, and several restaurants that proudly serve the local fare, which is dominated by excellent dairy products, including world-famous cheese and fondue. With a population of about 3,500 people, it is no metropolis, but compared to its neighbor Pupillin, a few miles to the south, it may as well be a bustling big city. Pupillin has a few hundred residents and the vast majority of them are engaged in this commune's principle economy: making traditional Jura wines. The limestone slopes here are particularly conducive to the region’s star varieties: Savagnin, Chardonnay, and Poulsard. And that is why a miniscule town that produces a relatively small amount of wine is known well to sommeliers all over the world. 

Of course, the notoriety is fed mostly by the two most famous residents here: Emmanuel Houillon and Pierre Overnoy. Together, they produce a range of ultra-traditional, mind-bendingly unique wines that lovers of natural wine, and lovers of world-class wine, spend countless hours searching for, and spend hundreds of dollars a bottle now to obtain. But there are a handful of other excellent producers here, including the Domaine la Renardière, run by Jean-Michel Petit. His son, Leo, met Paul Duroussay in enology school and the two hit it off immediately. Fast-forward 10 years and Paul is now living in Northern California, where he imports a small selection of excellent, family owned wineries and is a frequent guest at SommSelect.

Their new winemaking project utilizes Leo’s négociant (merchant-bottler) license to source a small parcel of organic Poulsard growing on a bed of almost pure limestone, with a very shallow topsoil. The fruit is hand harvested, fermented with native yeasts, and then aged for about a year in neutral French oak. Taking their cues from the natural winemaking traditions of Pupillin, including Houillon-Overnoy of course, the two make no additions or subtractions to the wine and they do not fine or filter. 

The result is a marvelously spot-on interpretation of exactly what Arbois-Pupillin Poulsard/Ploussard can and should be. In the glass, it is a pale, almost translucent red-orange with generous bricking at the edges. Serve cool, around 55-60 degrees, in a Burgundy stem and you’ll be greeted by a rush of fruit and savor, including spiced cherries, cranberries, blood orange pulp, rosewater, nutmeg, porcini, white pepper, sage, and a wallop of earthy forest floor. It’s a natural companion to roasted game fowl, but you can also keep it simple with herbed chicken or braised duck. If you are looking for a deliciously unique, throwback inspired, natural wine at its best experience then look no further than Leo & Paul’s Ploussard!

Leo & Paul's Project, Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard

Daily Discovery

Build a Case is a one-of-a-kind subscription service that allows you the freedom to explore our expansive wine selection and consolidate your orders into a custom case over time — without the cost of shipping.
View all