The #winophiles blogging group took a virutal tour to the Jura this month. I was super excited. I love Alpine wines and these fit the bill perfectly. Also thinking about this gorgeous region while unable to travel made me happy.
Location, Location, Location:
This mountainous region lies between Burgundy and Switzerland. I haven never been but have spent considerable amounts of time in the areas around the Jura. The region itself is called the Franche – Comté.
Soils & Climate:
Soils are shale, clay and limestone and are very old. The soils were around in the age of the dinosaurs. According to the French Wine Scholar Guild, the area is the “eastern uplift of the Saone graben. I took the French Wine Scholar course last year. It was very complex and fulfilling and I highly recommend it
The climate is continental with alpine influences. They witness a lot of seasonal and diurnal temperature changes. There are only five authorized grape varieties in this region.
Wine has been made in the area since 80 A.D. However the area is a backwater and largely ignored until the mid 18th century. As many regions were afflicted by phylloxera, so too was the Jura. The impact of this was to severely limit which grapes were grown. At the end of the 19th century, most wines produced in Jura were red.
Today more white is produced, particularly from Savagnin Blanc. Savagnin has a nutty flavor which is highlighted thanks to the oxidative process the grape undergoes to produce Vin Jaune. The wine tastes very much like sherry and called out for nuts.
Elevation and Statistics are that the region:
About 2000 hectares under vine
More than 400 producers, with more than 200 making their own wine.
Most producers are family owned and are located at 600-1350 feet above sea level.
Famed Sons of Jura:
The Jura gave us Louis Pasteur, the famed chemist and microbiologist who developed the pasteurization process.
Alexis Milardet, in turn, a botanist created the Bordeaux mixture, which thousands of wineries use in their fields and he grafted French vines on American root stocks.
Grapes Vines Allowed:
The 5 grapes allowed are Chardonnay, Savagnin Blanc, Poulsard, Pinot Nero and Trousseau.
I’ve tasted number of these wines but not wines from all of the AOCs: Arbois, Chateau Chalors, L’Etoile AOC, Cotes du Jura AOC, Macvin du and of course my favorite, Cremant du Jaune AOC.
The area makes all wine styles, whites, reds, roses, cremant, and more. We don’t see them that often here in the USA which is a shame.
Vin Jaune from Arobis
Arbois was the first land in the Jura to get recognitition. Arbois means fertile land, it’s good to be somewhere with a long traditiion
Arbois is an AOC which translates as fertile land and comes from two Celtic words. It was one of the first wines to receive an AOC in 1936 thanks to the efforts of a Jura resident Alexis Arbin. Arbin was responsible for promoting the concept of the certificate of origin in wines.
Vin Jaune has a long history. It was first produced in the Château-Chalon but can also be produced in Arbois, L’Étoile and Côtes du Jura AOCs. This wine is allowed to age in barrels for at least six years and three months. A film develops over the wine and the complexity that ensues is remarkable. Vin Jaune is served in a 620 ml bottle. This is to show that ever year, a portion of the harvest, gets dispersed into the air. The bottle is called a Clavelin. It received official status in 1993.
I’m excited to see what the rest of the Winophiles have tasted from the Jura! If you are reading this early enough, join us on Saturday October 17th on Twitter! We will be there at 11 am EST discussing the wines of this region. Just follow and use the hashtag #Winophiles to join the conversation!
You can learn more about the Jura area and why David chose it in his Preview Post. Let’s see what everyone thought:
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla will share “Seafood B’Stilla + Domaine Rolet Arbois Trousseau 2012“
- Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings is “Sipping Tissot-Marie Crémant Du Jura and Snacking Fried Pork Skin“
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass will be heading “Back to the Jura (virtually), for Crémant this time around“
- Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles is “Channeling the Jura for a rooftop getaway with a bottle of Savagnin and Friends“
- Payal from Keep the Peas is sharing “Sherry? No, Jura“
- David from Cooking Chat will be sharing “Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs with Jura Wine“
- Terri from Our Good Life will tell us about “Sparkling Jura for Celebratory Moments“
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will serve up “Bourride served with a Chardonnay from Jura”
- Nicole from Somm’s Table will be “Cooking to the Wine: Two Savagnins from Domaine Daniel Dugois with Coquilles St. Jacques“
- Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva is talking about “Jura in the Afternoon“
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator will share “Exploring Flavors of Jura Food and Wine Take Two: Trousseau and Melon“
- Susannah from Avvinare tells us about “Discovering Delights From Jura Region“
These wine-food explorations are definitely a way to virtually travel as we are all largely stuck at home! One of these days we’ll be able to travel again. I hope. Thanks for your post. It was very informative!
What fantastic and thorough background on this region. I dipped just into the Savagnin variety and it’s good to learn more about the region and its soils. I will say that I am unfamiliar with the “Bordeaux mixture” so I am off to do some googling and learn more!
It is very commonly used but less so now as people do not want to put so much cooper in the field.
Very informative post. I love belonging to all of these wine groups. I have learned so much and there is still so much to learn.
A wonderful overview. Thanks in particular some deeper details of the history.
Like you, I’ve really enjoyed virtual roaming around alpine mountains and through vineyards with soils as old as the dinosaurs. Only thing better would be visiting in person! Thanks for the great background on this super fascinating area.