Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just Jura

With so many wines to write about, who knows where to start? With their region, that’s where. If you know about where a wine is from, the climate, what grapes are grown there…you can make a better decision about drinking the wine. You might even try something new.

A lesser known region in France and the smallest, the 1600 hectare region known as the Jura, is situated between Burgundy and Switzerland. And therefore produces wine similar in style to those regions. There are four regional appellations: Arbois, Côtes du Jura and the smaller Etoile and Château-Chalon, plus two wine style appellations that cover the whole area, Crémant du Jura and Macvin (a Vin de Liqueur). The continental climate of Jura can get quite cold in the winter, so to lessen the threats of frost, vines are trained in order to receive a productive harvest.  
Due to the cool climate, chaptalization (adding sugar to unfermented grape must be in order to increase the alcohol content after fermentation) is permitted , sometimes even as a necessity to assist under-ripe vintages by boosting the levels of sugar.  Another difference between the wines of Jura and the wines of the rest of France is that most of Jura white wines are aged in oak for extended periods of time, while their red wines are aged in stainless steel bottled young.
While the Jura does harvest Chardonnay, locally known as Melon d’Arbois, and Pinot Noir, the local grapes Savagnin, Poulsard, and Trosseau are also grown. Poulsard is the primary grape for the sweet vin de paille and is also used to make a rosé. Savagnin is permitted for Jura’s most famous wine, vin jaune. 
Vin Jaune is made by picking the grapes as ripe as possible, oftentimes making this a last harvest wine. After fermentation, it’s stored in Burgundian barrels for over 6 years. In a style similar to sherry, the barrels are filled and allowed to evaporate, therefore reducing the amount of wine remaining in the barrel and a creating space for air at the top of the barrel. Due to this method of aging, over time the wine oxidizes and a film of yeast  develops on the top of the wine. The classic Vin Jaune flavours are of mild eastern spices, walnuts and sometimes honey.
When shopping for the wines of Jura, the following are producers of note:
·         Domaine André et Mireille Tissot
·         Role,
·         A & M Tissot
·         Domaine de la Tournelle
·         Jacques Gaspard Feuillet
·         Domaine Berthet-Bondet
·         Henri Maire

Submitted by Tanisha Townsend


No comments:

Post a Comment