Jura’s not a wine region of France that I’d expect many (non-wine-geek) people of heard of, let alone know much about their wines. It’s pretty small, at only about half the size of Chablis in Burgundy. But with 5 different grape varieties producing in excess of 25 genuinely distinct styles of wine, it’s definitely one that will surprise you.
What Are The Styles?
It can be pretty cold and wet in Jura, so the two main white grapes and 3 main red grapes have that to deal with. But after ripening, all bets are off. As an example, red grapes (Trousseau, Poulsard, Pinot Noir) go to make bubbles, rosés, liqueurs, and whatever else pops into the producers heads. Some of it even makes red wine! One thing is really obvious throughout. The wines are generally pretty earthy in style, and acidic, so think refreshing. I did ask a couple of the producers if you could chill the reds, but they looked at me like I’d just insulted their mums, so I backed off!
What Are The Star Performers?
The most famous styles, in the UK at least, are the Crémant De Jura and Vin Jaune.
Crémant is a sparkling wine, made in the same traditional method as in Champagne or in Cava and places like that, but using local grapes. In Jura’s case it’s mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, a lot like in Champagne and England, but with lots more of that refreshing acidity. Great one for a party or before dinner.
Vin Jaune is a very different style altogether. Made from the local white grape, Savagnin, it’s an oxidized style, which makes you think a bit of Sherry, at least in terms of the theory. 6 years in barrel getting slowly oxidized, and at the end of it you get a sour apple, cinnamon, lemon curd, and nutty style. Phenomenal with Comté cheese!
What Can We Get?
Chances are you’re going to struggle to find anything else outside of a few specialist bars and restaurants, and some well-stocked independent merchants. We’re not the biggest market by a long shot. US, Canada, and Japan take a lot. But in terms of the reds and whites, it’s not going to keep you up. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them, and would happily drink them if they were there, but they’re not the big point of difference that’ll break through. For the Jura it’s definitely the Vin Jaune. Check one out soon, like this one at Vinatis, and let me know how you get on.
NB: I have no ties to Vinatis at all, it’s just one I found on the net, if anyone knows of anywhere else to get a good one then feel free to whack it in the comments…