One Last Vintage from JJ Morel
For almost 20 years, Jean-Jacques Morel made perhaps the most radical wine in all of Burgundy. Inspired by the no-till, no additives, regenerative farming approach of Masanubu Fukuoka (The One Straw Revolution) and working without filtration or sulfur in the winery, he guided remarkably pure, energetic wines from his 2.5 hectares in Saint-Aubin and Puligny Montrachet.
This approach placed him firmly on the margins of wine culture in the rarified terroirs of the Cote d’Or where perfectly plowed rows and poised, proper (and also quite delicious) wines are the norm.
After spending the majority of his professional life as an art dealer in Paris, Jean-Jacques decamped to Burgundy to raise a family. First working at Chateau de Rontets in Pouilly-Fuissé and later beginning his own domaine, replanting some vineyards owned by his father-in-law in the quiet cote de Beaune village of Saint Aubin.
From the start he was dedicated to following that path of what we would today call regenerative agriculture and making the wines without any additives or filtration. He captured living, breathing wines with incredible purity of fruit with just the right touch of wildness around the edges. The wines seem to vibrate with energy in the glass and the bottles disappear quickly.
For years the majority of the production was sold to import partners in Japan and Australia. After the 2019 vintage, Jean-Jacques retired and sold his vines and cellar to John Purcell of Vin Noé who is working with a similar intensity but with his own unique style.
When Purcell’s American Importer Joe Hirsch of Terrestrial Wines offered us a chance to buy a few cases of the last wines that Jean-Jacques made (and some of the very last bottles in the cellar) we jumped at the chance.
The wines are a portal into the embryonic stages of ‘new-wave’ Burgundy. Jean-Jacques was working regeneratively and leaving the wild grasses between his rows years before it was a trendy talking point. These vineyards never saw a drop of synthetic chemicals instead they were tended by the hand of a loving gardener. The reds have always been 100% whole clusters, no pigéage, embodying that delicate, infusion style that we love so much.
These are the last bottles of a grower whose legacy and influence can be felt in the most exciting wines being made in Burgundy today. For lovers of truly natural, terroir driven, soulful wines, these are essential drinking.