Today Régine and Jean own 4 hectares of vines around Mâcon, on the vintages of Viré-Clessé, Mâcon-Lugny, Mâcon-Montbellet and Saint-Véran, as well as 5 hectares in the Jura region, on the vintages of Arbois and Côtes de Jura. Located in eastern France between Burgundy and Switzerland, The Jura region gets its moniker from the Jurassic geological period, evident in the soil. In the lowlands, the vineyards are composed mostly of clay, with more limestone in the higher elevations, which can exceed 1300 feet. Also, marl is scattered throughout the best vineyards. This steep, mountainous area is home to many ancient, indigenous varietals including Poulsard, Trousseau, and Savagnin, as well as Chardonnay. Cuttings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were brought from Burgundy in the middle ages. Melon d’Arbois is the local name for Chardonnay, Arbois being a principal city in the region. Chardonnay now accounts for nearly 45% of production as its tendency toward early ripening and naturally higher sugar levels are desired.
Although this continental climate is quite similar to Burgundy, Jura gets much colder, causing concern for full ripeness of the grapes. Often harvests are delayed until late October in effort to achieve the highest levels of ripeness.
Jean Rijckaert’s goal is to employ minimum mechanical techniques, instead focusing on a return to manual work. The soil is plowed, thus, allowing the vines to search for nourishment deep into the earth. This adds character and complexity while expressing the terroir of the region. The harvests are done manually with little intervention in the winemaking process, including the use of natural yeasts. Jean prefers to make wine that can be enjoyed with food and good company as opposed to garnering the best scores.