This article hunts down the mystery of Jura wines. Yes, a mystery…how very Halloween…
On a dark and stormy night, just like this….
Wait, that isn’t how this goes. Try again….
On a sunny blue-bath-sky October afternoon, just like this…a woman searches in vain to find the answers that she needs. If only the ancient and prophetic elixir would appear in her grasp. Outside, she hears the sound of movement, carriages (actually, a riding lawnmower, a barking Doberman and the school bus) on the rough path that she’s been told is the delivery route for the very ingredient she needs.
She’s heard tales, of course, of others getting a dose of the elixir, but they are beyond the border in the world of civilization; she lives in the frontier (Illinois, alright. Yes, it sucks getting “exilir” into Illinois). Several times she’s wander the streets, under a moon that promised a brighter future if only…she’s even donned her own carriage and once, she climbed into a small seat in the captain’s carriage only to be whisked through the air to find she’d missed her chance. The cupboard are bare, she lacks what she requires.
What now? Will the droplets arrive before it is too late?
Why I’m Being So Dramatic
I’m telling this story because I think the hipsters took it all. Well, I read the New York Times too… and I’m told that Jura wine is “strange”, “extreme” and “geeky”…also “increasingly fashionable” and “the darling of the wine world”. Why then, if I’m an active wine drinker, collector and writer, don’t I have some of the stuff? Like I said, the hipsters must have drank it all. Or because I’m lamenting scarcity that mirrors my falsely desperate 18th century saga.
Jura is the smallest wine region in France, located southeast of Dijon. This little nook is home to seven wine appellations: Arbois, Château-Chalon, L’étoile, Côtes-du-Jura, Macvin-du-Jura, Crémant-du-Jura, Marc-du-Jura. Local Jura-area foods such as Comté cheese, and Bresse chicken are also classified by the French agricultural system. A contrast in cliffs and valleys, the Jura is appealing for nature-lovers. Preserved historic sites provide a long look back through time in a region that prompted one of the most-spoken-of epochs in Earth’s pre-history: Jurassic.
Jura soils support vineyards that produce red, white, rosé and sparkling wine. It is also the home to the remarkable Vin Jaune, yellow wine. According to Visit French Wines, “Known as ‘the gold of the Jura’, vin jaune or yellow wine has an amber colour and a distinctive nutty flavour. It is made using a specific production technique and stored in a special bottle known as a clavelin.”
Dominant grapes of the region are Trousseau, Poulsard and Pinot Noir for red wines as well as Savagnin and Chardonnay for white wines. For many centuries, vineyards grew widely across Jura, but it was hit with the sad devastation of Phylloxera. Current vineyard numbers are much lower, but they are of high quality and sustainable balance.
The situation in Jura is lovely. It’s “hot”, so to speak, because it is small, lesser-known. Because everything old becomes new again, this area has attracted recent interest. When our French Winophiles group prepared to virtually travel to Jura, I needed some wine, of course. And I couldn’t find it…
My local shops carried none, shipping to my state is restricted (in some cases) and even trips to other cities (for purposes not exclusive to hunting Jura wines) left me empty-handed in the cold of night, thirsty and wandering. Jura! Where are you Jura?
But then something happened. A nice man named Martin reached out to me, asking if I knew of his company, Vinatis, a French wine merchant looking to increase presence in the US. It is true that he reached out to me, but I was instantly interested (as you can see, I toil getting my French wine sometimes) because I had a need that Vinatus filled. Jura! I need Jura! Martin send me links to some suggested wines and like a warm fire in a cozy Dickens-style home I found the comfort of at last getting what I want!
Trousseau 2014 – Domaine BADOZ
The bottle I chose is made of 100% Trousseau, a likely varietal in Jura an four-time winner at the concours Général Agricole de Paris. I have to say, I love the way Vinatis presents their wines with easy-to-read highlights written in an entertaining hand. They have an excellent selection and not only found me Jura wines, but red wines from Provence which are exceedingly difficult to get (rosé is everywhere, the reds not-so-much). I don’t yet have my wine, and I will update the post when it arrives, I drink it and I learn the glorious taste of Jura for myself!
Domaine BADOZ has been making wine for ten generations. (This astounds me, truly such a rich history.) They make a selection of wines, including Vin Jaune, and have an impressive history of wine making. I’m looking forward to tasting their wine and sharing the story with you.
Post-publication update for US Readers: Vinatis does not ship to the United States. But for other readers around the world, they have an excellent selection and I would recommend taking a look!
Our French Winophiles stop this month is Jura and it seems we all were excited to be let in on the secret. The mystery of Jura wines is unraveled:
- Exploring the Flavors of Jura in Four Courses with Wine by Wine Predator
- My Kingdom for a Bresse Chicken by FoodWineClick
- Pulled Pork with Cabbage and Bacon by Cooking Chat
- Totally Digging the Jurassic World of #Wine by Rockin’ Red Blog
- To the Jura with Vin Jaune, Toétché, Wild Mushrooms, & Comté by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Here’s where we’re headed next: November 19th – Cahor and Beaujolais. Join us for our upcoming events by emailing your post title to Christy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jill at email@example.com. A Vôtre Santé!