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Jan 14, 2019

Located between Burgundy and Switzerland, this tiny wine region has been gathering major attention from wine dorks. From offbeat whites to nice, light reds, we give you the scoop on this obscure region with growing clout!

 

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Jura Overview

  • Between Burgundy in west and Switzerland in east
  • Distinct, weird wines but some very drinkable ones too
  • 2% of French wine production overall. Only 13% exported but they have a cult following (that's why we’re doing a show on it. It gets mentioned, you should know what it is!)

Geography

 

  • Mountainous, thought of as mirror image to Burgundy, which sits across the Bresse Plain
  • Vineyards at altitude: 660-1320 ft/200-400m in south and south-west facing foothills
  • Semi-continental climate – similar to Burgundy but colder: frost, hail, rain late in the season are issues
  • Soils: Varied – lots of heavy clay in lower areas, higher altitude vineyards have limestone. Top soils are Marl (limestone clay from old sea here) 

Grapes and wine styles:

WHITES: often oak aged

  • Chardonnay – called Melon d’Arbois, Gamay Blanc
    • Can be mixed with Savagnin to give a more distinctive character – rich, full, spicy
  • Savagnin – Jura’s shining star variety. High acidity, makes still whites and Vin Jaune – long-aged, long-lived oxidative wine. 
    • Similar to Sherry, a Flor “veil” – sous voile - develops and  protects the wine from spoilage. If flor doesn’t develop it's pulled out and blended with Chardonnay or sold as Savagnin
    • Flavors are full, rich, with nutty, fresh floral notes but not as acidic as Sherry. With age – chamomile, tart apple, richer
    • Can be left open for a week or two after opening and needs decanting

REDS: light and spicy

  • Trousseau
    • Fresh, gamy, light
  • Poulsard/Ploussard: Pale colored reds, thin-skinned grape.
    • Spicy, earthy, fresh
  • Pinot Noir
    • Clippings brought from Burgundy with Chardonnay
    • Grown in the south, ripens dependably

Another unique wine style: 

Vin de Paille – straw wine from all grapes except Pinot Noir

  • no botrytis, harvest late, dry for two months in boxes or on straw mats
  • Raisined quality, nutty, full rich, sweet, served chilled
  • Rare and declining

 

Appellations

  • Arbois: Red, rosé, sparkling, white, vin jaune, vin de paille
  • Château-Chalon wines are vin jaune of Savagnin but not always labeled as such
  • Crémant du Jura: White and rosé wines from all grapes 
  • Côtes du Jura: White and crémant most popular, but red and rosé wines from Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot noir grapes, and white wines from Chardonnay and Savagnin made
  • L'Étoile: Can be bottled too late, sometimes lack freshness, often don’t top off the barrels causing unwanted oxidation
  • Macvin du Jura: Vin de liqueur, been in production since the fourteenth century.

 

Food pairings:

Fondue, Morbier, Emmenthaller, Comté cheeses, smoked hams and pork sausages, fish in cream sauces, lots of stuff cooked in wine

 

Producers:  Domaine Baud, Jacques Puffeney, Domaine Pecheur, Domaine Overnoy-Crinquand, Domaine de Montbourgeau