Jura Wine: Get it While the Gettin’s Good.

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Our good friend Wink Lorch is making her last visit to the Jura before the publication of her much anticipated book on the region. A report on the 2013 vintage has given us reason to stock up on wines from the Jura. As in many places in Western Europe this year, there’s been a desperate struggle for ripeness in the Jura, and many vignerons will push their harvest date into October in an attempt to squeeze the last remaining rays from the autumn sun. The spring and summer were wet and rainy with countless clusters lost to rot and mildew, and yields down for all grape varieties. While we have absolute confidence that the growers whose wines we buy year in and year out will make wonderful wines in 2013, it will be a tiny vintage.

In the meantime, writing in the Financial Times (June 15/16 2013), Jancis Robinson lets us know that Jura wine is reaching the apex of its popularity here in New York, across the US, and abroad. ("Jura wines are currently at the height of fashion in New York — even the pale red Poulsard grape that is seriously wacky." Poulsard? Wacky?) Rising global popularity plus a problematic vintage means we can’t take the robust hauls of Poulsard, Trousseau, and Savagnin (or the reasonable prices) of the past few years for granted.

Yet when we look at the shelves, the sight of wonderful wines from tried and true growers such as Jacques Puffeney, Michel Gahier, and Stephane Tissot banishes these grim thoughts. At this time we also introduce with excitement Domaine des Bodines. Alexis Porteret is a young grower in the Arbois who honed his skills working for Domaine de la Pinte and Domaine de la Tournelle. Alexis and his wife, Emilie, work less than four hectares on the outskirts of Arbois. Wink says that they began conversion to organics in 2010, and employ some biodynamic practices, but don’t yet have time to commence with full conversion. The wines are fermented in fiberglass before moving to barrels for aging. All are bottled without filtration and with little sulfur. The wines are naturally made, yet they're clean, vibrant and expressive. Our experience is limited but we loved what we've tasted so far and are eager for what's to come. Below you'll find a list of many excellent wines we have in stock from the 2010 and 2011 vintages; there are even a couple of '09s. As my dad would have advised (though perhaps not in reference to Poulsard): “Root, hog, or lose your tater.” Santé! –Sophie     

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Bodines 2011 Arbois Savagnin Ouillé

This is the most succulent, mouth-watering, beautiful Savagnin we've tasted in eons. It was love at first sight with this wine. The wine is topped up rather than raised sous voile, which allows it to express all of the glorious, honeyed, floral, and quincy notes of Savagnin. Creamy with abundant white, fleshy stone fruits and a hint of gardenia or narcissus on the nose, the wine is razer sharp and extremely stony on the palate. Truly a swoon worthy effort from this new, tiny Domaine in the Arbois. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

Bodines 2011 Arbois Poulsard

This fresh and quaffable Poulsard from Arbois in the northern Jura offers ripe, red, tangy fruits, delicious aromas of sour cherry and pomegranate, and herbal notes on the nose. It's beautiful, vibrant red in the glass and shows a bit of reduction at first, but far less than upon its initial arrival in New York. It's drinking really, really well right now, and is an ideal summer red for serving chilled. The texture is flower petal soft and the finish is full of zesty cranberry fruit. (also a terrific value in the grand scheme of Poulsard these days.) MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $23.99

Puffeney 2011 Arbois Cuvee Sacha

Fortunately for us, Puffeney's cuvèe Sa(vagnin)Cha(rdonnay) is always a little bit different than it was the year before. The last release of this wine was non-vintage. "The pope" had blended years in the interest of maintaining the Sacha-ness of Sacha. This release is extremely flor-forward. The nose is briny, smoky, and redolent of the surface yeast that forms of the tops of the barrels. In an era when many growers are making topped up wines, we love to find these more traditional aromas of flor wafting from the glass. On the palate, the wine is laser-like in its acidity, medium-bodied (in fact lighter bodied and more taut than Gahier's Fauquette), oxidative, earthy, and long. Complex and satisfying for lovers of these quirky flavors. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

Puffeney 2011 Arbois Trousseau Les Berangeres

As usual, even in a tough vintage, Puffeney's Trousseau "les Bérangères" does not disappoint. The nose offers ripe, brambly berries: blackberry, dark cherry, black raspberry, as well as a delicious hint of forest floor. The palate is fairly rich and concentrated for a Jura red wine, but with fresh acidity, earthiness, and firm, mouth-coating tannins. Truly a fantastic effort. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

Gahier, Michel 2009 Arbois Chadonnay La Fauquette

Gahier's Chardonnay "La Fauquette" comes from vines in Montigny-les-Arsures. The wine is aged for a year in large barrels before being transfered to small ones for three years of aging "sous voile." The nose offers deep and high toned yellow fruit notes, dried golden delicious apple with a hint of wisteria, honey, and nut. The aromas are quite vibrant and heightened by the presence of some volatile acidity. Full-bodied with dense acid and mineral structure, the wine is quite high acid but rich, burnished, and concentrated. Dark and oxidative in color with a deliciously walnutty finish, the wine delivers a nice mixture of nutty Jurassic flavors and ripe, opulent fruit with a touch of smoky voile in the background. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

Tournelle 2010 Arbois Trousseau des Corvees

I perpetually have the following experience with wines from Pascal and Evelyn Clairet: I open and taste the wine. I am underwhelmed, an hour goes by and the wine absolutely sings. It's a known fact that red wines from the Jura are prone to reduction and benefit from decanting, none more than the wines of Domaine de la Tournelle. I promise you, however, that if you give this wine and hour, it will blossom into one of the most delicious Trousseaus you've ever tasted. On the nose, the wine shows black fruits, dark plums, blackberries, fruit seeds, and an herbal note. The palate fleshes out to reveal forward, sweet, tangy fruits. Berry flavors persevere to the finish, which is long and lipsmacking... Jura lovers: please do yourself a favor and try the bottle. -msb 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

Tournelle 2010 Chardonnay Terre de Gryphees

This is a beautiful, pure, and light-handed Jura Chardonnay from Pascal and Evelyne Clairet. The vines are grown on gray marl and harvested at low yields. Aging takes place in old barrels with some sur lie aging to add depth and texture to the wine. The barrels are topped up, meaning that there's no voile character here though there are some faint flavors of oxidation coming from the terroir. An relatively crisp and high acid Chardonnay (for Jura, where the white wines lean toward a richer, rounder profile), as with Tournelle's other offerings from 2010, the wine shows remarkable mineral depth on the finish. The nose and palate are stony showing notes of white and yellow pit fruit. A gorgeous effort. -msb  

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $26.99

Tournelle 2010 Arbois Chardonnay Curon

First tasted at the Dive Bouteille this winter and currently making its New York debut, this delicious topped up Chardonnay from Pascal Evelyne Clairet of Domaine de la Tournelle comes from grey marl soil with many stones. The wine is richer and more fruit forward than the Clairet's Terre de Gryphées bottling, but describing a Tournelle wine as being "fruit forward" is sort of like calling Pepière's Clos des Briords "blowsy." In other words, it's not a fruity wine, but rather honeyed, lightly oxidative, and delightfully stony and mineral-driven on the finish. It's always thrilling to put a new cuvée on the shelf from this lovely couple. -msb
 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $33.99

Tournelle 2010 Arbois Fleur de Savagnin

Always a favorite with us, this is a riveting, high acid Savagnin that is crunchy and long with delicious, lip-smacking minerality on the finish. The barrels are topped up, so there's more pure Savagnin fruit than you'll find in most sous voile examples of this indigenous, Jurassian variety. In fact part of what we love about this wine is its expression of Savagnin; the wine offers vibrant notes of lemon curd and tangy quince. In the background, the lightly oxidative note common to white wines from the Jura remains, adding delicate notes of almond flesh to the midpalate and finish. This wine needs air to sing; decant for best results and don't serve it too cold! -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $32.99

Buronfosse, Peggy and Jean-Pascal 2010 Cotes du Jura Chardonnay Ammonites

This wine hails from the southern part of the Jura, the same area where Fan-fan Ganevat and Julien Labet make wine. There is copious marl in the soil in the southern Jura; the climate is warmer, and more Chardonnay is grown to the Savagnin of the northern villages of Arbois, Pupillin, etc... Chardonnay "Ammonite" features old vines planted on blue marl soil. The wine spends 18 months in old barrels and is densely packed, honeyed, apple-y, and flavorful with just a hint if pleasing oxidation. Peggy Buronfosse is a new comer on the scene and we've been blown away by what we've tasted from her so far... -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $23.99

Ganevat 2009 Côtes du Jura Savagnin Cuvée Prestige

This wine -- one of the few sous voile wines Fan-fan Ganevat makes -- sparked an interesting discussion at the wine store, culminating in the decision that we all really, really liked the wine. The question was: why buy this over Valdespino's Innocente, which delivers lots of flor for much less money. This wine, however, does not taste like a sherry. The voile character is supported by the same intense, high acid, dense, apply fruit one finds in Ganevat's ouillé wines. This is a beautiful bottle. The nose offers smoky notes as well as umami, walnut skin, and mustard seed, but it's the velvety, full-fruited palate clamping down with minerality on the finish that slays. It's not an inexpensive bottle, but the drinker is well rewarded. -msb 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $64.99

Saint Pierre 2004 Arbois Savagnin

While we don't know too terribly much about this producer's wines, we can say with certainty that this is a delicious and well-priced bottle of sous voile Savagnin. On the nose the wine is smoky and redolent of voile while the palate is extremely mineral driven, high acid, lemony, quince-y, and (for lack of a better word) "Jurassique." In a world increasingly full of topped-up Savagnin, we are thrilled to find such a reasonably priced Savagnin made in the traditional style of the region. -msb 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $33.99

Tissot 2011 Arbois Poulsard Vieilles Vignes Sans Soufre

This wine "wow-ed" a group of tasters at a recent tasting featuring essentially every Ploussard available in the New York market... and it really is an exceptional example of the grape variety as well as a very good value. Stéphane Tissot, one of the most energetic and personable growers in the Jura, farms just shy of 50 hectares entirely in biodynamic viticulture. He's no slouch in the cellar either as this wine is made with no sulfur added and is squeaky clean -- no easy feat for a vigneron. This old vine Ploussard shows great delicacy as well as depth with the classic, tangy cranberry fruit of Ploussard adorning a light but not insubstantial frame. -msb 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $23.99

Ratapoil (Raphael Monnier) 2011 Arbois Ploussard Par La

This Ploussard from Raphael Monnier, school teacher/vigneron in the Arbois comes from the excellent "Corvées" vineyard. It's an exuberant, juicy, naturally made Ploussard in the image of Ganevat, Overnoy, etc... showing tangy orange and red fruits on the nose and palate: blood orange, cranberry, sour cherry. Light bodied and low in tannins, the wine may be very slightly bubbly and a bit reduced upon first opening so decant for best results ... Delicious and a welcome addition to our shelves! -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $23.99

Marnes Blanches (Geraud Fromont) 2011 Cotes du Jura Poulsard

This is our first experience with the wines of Geraud Fromont of Domaines des Marnes Blanches, an estate south of the Arbois by about 15 kilometers. We like what we have tasted so far. This wine is quintessentially Poulsard with zippy, sour cherry fruit on the nose. Pale and pure in the glass, the blood oranges and slightly bitter herbs come through on the nose and palate after an hour open. The wine is quite high-toned and high in acidity with a hint of quinine emerging with air. -msb

 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99