The wines of the Jura

Please join us this week as we explore the bucolic charms the French Jura. Offbeat, and off the beaten path, the Jura has nurtured a cadre of phenomenal winemakers who seamlessly balance tradition and innovation, it promises to be a special week of rare, regional wines.

The Jura is located in eastern France, between Burgundy to the west and Switzerland to the east. But for many years, its location in the world of wine felt more like a distant island, adrift in the ocean, and in true Darwinian fashion, the isolation created a unique breed of wine with specimens unlike any other. Think of Vin Jaune, the ‘yellow wine’ which is aged under the voile, or veil, which is a film of yeast that gives sherry-like aromas to this old regional wine. Unlike fino sherry, vin jaune is not fortified, and for home-cooks out there, chicken with morel mushrooms and jus au vin jaune is a memorably delicious dish. Vin Jaune, however, is perhaps best enjoyed with the traditional Comté cheese, the wine and cheese each enhanced by the other, bringing out fine mineral qualities and subtle wine cellar-like aromas that ring clear as a bell.

This week, we will explore some of our favorite wines of the region. We begin on Monday with Domaine de Montbourgeau, from the minuscule appellation of L’Étoile, so named for the fossilized starfish that are found in the soil there, because let’s not forget, during the Jurassic period, this was a warm, shallow sea, leaving the region blessed with limestone and marl soils, ideal for viticulture. Later in the week we will pour wine from Les Dolomies, named for the dolomitic limestone found in their vineyards. But beyond the talk of rocks and soil, beyond the history of Louis Pasteur, beyond the old salt mines that still dot the countryside, beyond all of this, is what truly matters, that the wines are simply delicious. White wines of the region, at their best, from grapes such as Chardonnay, Savagnin, and Melon à Queue Rouge, show aromatics that lean towards ocean brine and chicken broth, and play out a textural tension that feels like a tug-of-war between that which is coarse, and that which is fine. Reds of the region, from local grapes such as Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir, show bright red fruits coupled with delicacy and fresh, bright acidity. At their best, it is difficult to beat the value presented by the wines of the Jura.

So please join us this, we will be opening very special wines from Ganevat, Les Dolomies, Les Bottes Rouges, Fabrice Dodane of Domaine de Saint Pierre, Château d’Arlay, Bénédicte et Stéphane Tissot, and of course, Nicole Deriaux of Domaine de Montbourgeau.

Domaine de Monbougeau,
L’Étoile de ‘Cuvée Spéciale’ 2010

Les Dolomies,
Côtes du Jura Blanc ‘Terra Links’ 2015

Château d’Arlay,
Côtes du Jura Rouge 1999

Les Bottes Rouge,
Arbois Rouge ‘La Pépée’ 2016

Jean-François Ganevat,
Côtes du Jura Blanc ‘Cuvée Marguerite’ 2013

Domaine de Saint Pierre,
Arbois Rouge ‘Les Gaudrettes’ 2016

Bénédicte et Stéphane Tissot,
Crémant du Jura Extra Brut NV

Photo taken at Domaine Philippe Bornard, Arbois-Pupillin, Jura