Domaine de L’Octavin

Arbois, Jura

Despite having trained in Bordeaux and Burgundy, Alice Bouvot knew that when it came to start her own domaine, the Jura would be the place. In 2004 she started from scratch, buying a small cellar in the village of Arbois and a couple of hectares of vines in the hills surrounding. 

Alice now farms around five hectares of Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir, with holdings in some of the region’s very best lieu-dits such as En Curon, La Mailloche, Les Nouvelles and Les Corvées. Vineyard work is done by hand and is both fanatical and fantastic, with biodynamic farming used to great effect in retaining a real biodiversity in the vineyard. These are some of the more beautiful parcels we have seen.  After a number of lean vintages, Alice had to look further afield to make ends meet and now harvests grapes at trusted friend’s properties all over France, making an equally exciting range of negotiant wines. 

In a good year, she makes a dazzling number of cuvées. There is no recipe and winemaking is dynamic, with decisions being made only once the fruit has been brought to the cellar, where fermentation, vessels and élevage varies from parcel to parcel and vintage to vintage, though nothing is every added at any stage. It’s a refreshingly free approach that yields individual wines of real character, the common thread being a sort of boundless energy, where each is as nourishing, delicious and exciting as the last.