What you need to know about Jura
At half the size of Chablis, Jura may well be France’s smallest wine region, but it’s definitely one to watch. With a variety of styles and a combination of international and indigenous grapes, Jura’s popularity is growing, particularly among affluent, trend-seeking wine drinkers.
Nestled between Burgundy and Switzerland, Jura wine is still largely unknown, with only 3% of UK wine drinkers having tried wine from this region. A recent trade tasting hosted by Vins du Jura and Comté Cheese featured a wine and cheese pairing workshop presented by Wink Lorch, author of Jura Wine, and food journalist Patrick McGuigan. To better understand this intriguing region, Wink set about debunking some common myths:
Myth 1 - Jura and Savoie are connected: Despite often being grouped together, these two are not connected in any way
Myth 2 - Jura vineyards are high in altitude: No, they are merely near the mountains and influenced by them
Myth 3 - Jura is all about rare grapes: Uhm, no… there’s plenty of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir planted
Myth 4 - Jura grapes are all farmed organically: No, although the region does have a good reputation for sustainable production
Myth 5 - Jura reds are rosés in disguise: No, some are actually quite dark in colour
Myth 6 - All Jura whites are oxidised: Definitely not
Myth 7 - Vin Jaune is Jura’s main wine: No. It may be a speciality of the region, but only constitutes 4% of its production
Myth 8 - Jura has a tiny production: Sadly, this one is true
Situated within the Franche-Comté region, Jura wine is a classic partner to Comté cheese. And while Jura is France’s smallest wine region, Comté is the biggest producer of PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese in the country.
From young, soft and creamy to aged, crystallised and nutty, Comté cheese comes in a variety of styles and textures, each complementing a different expression of Jura. Tasting through a selection of suggested pairings, the three best were arguably a Cremant du Jura with a creamy 4 month old Comté, a slightly oxidised Chardonnay from Arbois AOC with a nutty 14-month-old Comté and finally a Vin Jaune 2006 from Savagnin with an intense and crunchy 28 month old Comté.
A producer to watch
Domaine de la Pinte produce punchy yet elegant wines in Arbois. The soils in their vineyards set them apart; Jura's favourite grape, Savagnin, loves the blue marl clay surrounding the domaine, while red grapes do fantastically well in the areas of red clay. It's for this soil-specific reason that geologist and founder Roger Martin selected the site in 1952.
Roger's son Pierre manages things these days, and makes wines that are an excellent example of what Arbois has to offer. Elegant and thought-provoking, but still with that hit of acidity for which the Jura is so well known, the wines are all grown under biodynamic practices.
The best way to get to know Jura is to explore it for yourself - rich and flavoursome, try the Savagnin Arbois Blanc with 14-month-old aged Comte cheese.