Blink and you might miss Nevy-sur-Seille, a village tucked away in the Vallée des Reculées, where François Rousset-Martin makes his wine. Albeit discreet, this part of the Jura resembles something of the American West—undiscovered and wild, and rich in natural habitat. The backdrop here is dramatic: Massive limestone and marl cliffs perched atop pedestals of sloping vineyards, and in the foreground, flocks of livestock grazing and snoozing the day away. Traditionally a mixed farming region, the Jura is witnessing a new generation focused exclusively on winemaking, and in the case of Rousset, redefining what we consider typical of the area with his vins ouillés.
François first caught the wine-bug growing up in Burgundy where his father was a micro-biologist for the Hospices de Beaune. Childhood trips were spent in the Jura getting to know and falling in love with a parcel of family vines which he would later vinify with his father. After earning an oenology degree and continuing his journey in the southern Rhône and Languedoc regions, he returned to his Jurassian roots and in 2007 officially launched his winery. While his scientific background provides François with a literal understanding of the transformation from grape to wine, he’s most influenced by keen intuition, and winemaking lore passed down from his great grandfather, also a winemaker.
François’s raison d’être is to better know and understand the incredible terroirs in which he is invested. His new project near the amazing town of Baume-les Messieurs holds great potential once the vines are of age. His current work is most focused on making previously inconceivable wines within the Château Chalon appellation, labeled as Côtes du Jura since he makes them in a non-oxidative (ouillé or topped-up) style. Vinified by climat with little to no sulfur and bottled unfined and unfiltered, the Rousset wines are complex and persistent, falling somewhere along the spectrum of floral and delicate, exotic and savory.