Recently, I spent a couple of days in Bordeaux in the company of my friend and colleague, Wink Lorch, along with 30 other wine educators. It was an honour to have Wink with us as she is not the world’s greatest fan of Bordeaux wines, and she had promised herself months of abstaining from trips and visits (and fun, by the sounds of it) while she got on with writing her book on the wines of the Jura. But she came and she even enjoyed (and praised) one or two of the wines we tasted so it was only fitting and fair that a few days later I should attend the first ever tasting of Jura wines in the UK which Wink was instrumental in organsing. I went expecting to appreciate about as many of these wines as Wink had Bordeaux, but I loved lots of them. I was impressed with the number of varying styles, their food-friendly nature, their points of difference from, and similarity to, other regions; in short, I was won over. The fact that Comté (and Raymond Blanc, picured below) also comes from the Jura just adds fuel to the flame of my new love. I can hear Wink’s ‘I told you so’ even as I write.
Montage of the tasting by Brett Jones
Anyone should consider buying the wines of the Jura if they:
· Like white Burgundy
· Love Champagne
· Enjoy, lighter, less tannic reds (which could possibly be served slightly chilled)
· Are partial to Sherry
· Need convincing about the existence of minerality
Jura in numbers:
· 250 producers
· 4 co-operatives
· 5 grape varieties: Chardonnay, Savagnin, Trousseau, Poulsard, Pinot Noir
· 6 AOC: Arbois, Château-Chalon, L’Etoile, Côtes du Jura, Crémant du Jura and Macvin du Jura
· 1600 Hectares of vines
What I learnt:
· Chardonnay is the most planted grape in the Jura.
· There is a huge variety of terroirs, some vineyards boasting soils 30 million years older than their neighbours.
· Arbois was the first French AOC established in 1936.
· Local varieties Savagnin (white), Trousseau and Poulsard (both red) make very nice wine.
· Trousseau is the same as Portugal’s Bastardo.
· Many Crémants de Jura are very good indeed and the best are some of the finest Champagne look-alikes I have come across.
· Some of the Chardonnays could rival many a decent Burgundy.
· The complexity and development in the mouth of many of these wines is long, lasting and thought-provoking. And good.
· Vin Jaune must spend a minimum 6 years 3 months in oak casks following fermentation.
· Vin Jaune is the perfect match for Comté.
· Oak plays a big part of the wine-making of Jura wines.
· Tissot is a very common name in the Jura. Know your Tissots.
Wines I loved of the many I tasted and liked:
· Crémant de Jura Blanc ‘Benoît Mulin’, Cellier des Tiercelines
· Arbois Chardonnay Le Clos de la Tour de Curon 2010, Domaine André et Mireille Tissot*
· Vin de Paille 2009 Domain de la Renardière
· Côtes du Jura Les Chassagnes 2008, Domaine Philippe Bornard
· Arbois Vin Jaune La Vasée 2006, Domaine André et Mireille Tissot
*I loved everything I tasted from this producer.
· Crémant de Jura, Philippe Michel £6.99 (Aldi)
For more information on the area and its wines go to: