Monday, February 3, 2020

Brandy Review: Domaine Labet Marc du Jura 2003

This is a new one for me: grappa-style pomance brandy made in France. While it sounds like Domaine Labet's focus is primarily on their unfortified wines, they also produce marc du Jura and a sherry-style vin de voile. The marc is used to fortify the latter as well as sold by itself.

This particular bottle was distilled in 2003, aged for ten years in oak casks, then bottled at 45%, I presume without coloring or chill filtration.

Thanks to Florin for this sample.

Domaine Labet Marc du Jura 2003

Nose: big notes of brandy/madeira/raisins, a rougher herbal grappa edge, some cured fish underneath, buttery, sweet oak, vanilla. After adding a few drops of water it gets richer and rounder, some brine comes out, and some of the sweetness is replaced with a fermented savoriness.

Taste: rather hot and rough up front, some round sweetness shifting into sharper, more ethereal notes, then oak and earth going into the finish. After dilution it becomes a little softer and more rounded, the grappa notes are better integrated, the earthiness spreads out under everything, and some more overt young brandy notes come out at the back.

Finish: raisins, gentle herbal notes, grappa funk, fresh oak

I'm not sure this is something I want to drink every day, but there's no question that it is a quality spirit. The nose and finish are the most engaging parts for me, though water helped bring the flavors together.

If, as Florin argued, this is the Ledaig of grappa, I think it would have to be a Ledaig sherry cask. While the spirit is big and funky, the barrel has shifted it closer to a traditional brandy with some fortified wine notes to help soften it even more. And, as with Ledaig, it's not something that I would recommend right off the bat, but if you like strong, barely restrained flavors, this might be the kind of thing you want to seek out.

You can find a similar review from Bozzy, though I think he managed to extract some more complexity from it than I was able to.

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