Nothing says “Spring!” like a Bottle of Poulsard …

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How do wines come to take on seasonal character? With central heat and air conditioning, we can turn our domiciles into saunas in December if we feel like sipping a crisp Sancerre, and refrigerators in July if we fancy a nice bottle of Piorat. Yet even in an age when we’re at liberty to escape the reality of climate if we chose, wines have a distinct seasonality. Bottles of Burgundy and mature Barolo taste especially delicious in the fall; Châteauneuf-du-Pape pairs exceptionally well with falling snow in winter; Rosé hits its stride as the summer days grow long and the air becomes sultry. Yet what do we drink in the spring? Which wines mirror the delicate breezes, the pastel colors, the thrilling sense of excitement and possibility that characterize this princess of seasons? We venture to propose the wines of the verdant, rolling hills of the Jura. Rich, mineral and acid driven, often oxidative, and sometimes marked by the unmistakable aromas of voile, the whites of the Jura strike us as wines for late winter evenings, while the ethereally pale, high-toned, aromatic red wines of the region could not be more well-suited to spring ingredients as they begin to flood our markets and grocery stores. It’s a match made in heaven. (We recommend refraining from any attempts to pair Jura wine with Cadbury Cream Eggs … )

This is a very good time to peruse our list of Jura selections. A month ago the shelves were relatively bare; we’ve since loaded them with delicious offerings from Nicole Deriaux of Domaine Montbourgeau, Jacques Puffeney, Stéphane Tissot, and more. These names will no doubt be familiar to many, but to those as yet uninitiated, the wines of Domaine Montbourgeau are some of the most traditional Jura wines we see here in New York. Based in Étoile in the central to southwestern part of the Jura, Étoile terroir is marked by the presence of fossilized starfish in the soil. In truth we see hardly any wine from Étoile here in the US, but we are always happy to have the remarkable wines of Domaine Montbourgeau on our shelves.

As traditional a vigneron as they come, for many years Jacques Puffeney’s name was synonymous with the Jura. Based in Montigny-les-Arsures, just three kilometers from Arbois (the red wine capital of Franche-Comte), Puffeney makes some of the most age-worthy wines of the region. We still swoon from time to time at the memory of a ’99 half bottle of Poulsard savored at restaurant Jean Genet in downtown Arbois … Stéphane Tissot, ambassador of the region, tireless vineyard manager and cellar wizard, is perhaps the Jura’s most notable innovator. Always seeking new ways to bring terroir to the bottle with minimal manipulation in the cellar, Tissot’s wines are impeccably made in a softer-edged style than those of Puffeney and Montbourgeau. We salute him for his genius, his energy, and the sheer deliciousness of his wines. In fact whether your tastes lean toward the traditional, the natural, or the innovative, there’s something on this list for you to toast the arrival of spring. Santé! -Sophie    

 

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Montbourgeau NV Crémant du Jura Brut

From the Jura, this is mostly Chardonnay with Savagnin, and it's one of the best sparkling wines we have in the store. It has pleasant rustic apple fruit balanced by fierce cold-climate acidity, with hints of cashew and herbs — it would be hard to distinguish this from Champagne in a blind tasting (it's even a bit chalky!) A seriously distinguished bubbly — at a house price.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $22.99

Montbourgeau 2009 Cotes du Jura Poulsard

I'd been thrilled about the arrival of this Poulsard from a woman whose white wines I adore for some time, and the wine stole my heart immediately when I finally got to enjoy a glass over dinner. It is absolutely delicious. The bottle is clear, which makes the wine appear lighter than many Roses from Italy and the Languedoc. There's beautifully high-toned earthiness on the nose as well as characteristic tart cranberry. Perhaps the warm '09 vintage lent some generosity to the palate, which is fruity but without being diffuse, facile, or sweet-leaning. The same staunch traditionalism that marks Nicole Deriaux's white wines is evident in her Poulsard as well. Fantastic!-msb

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

Montbourgeau 2012 Cotes du Jura Poulsard

We do remember the days when there was no Montbourgeau Poulsard available in the US. Our lives are richer because this wine now comes to our shores. Electric and zesty, full of tangy wild strawberry, sweet and sour cranberry, and lightly funky earth on the nose, this wine opens up beautifully over half an hour or so. The palate is clean, zippy, crunchy, and delivers a mouthful of tangy, bright red fruit, fresh herbal notes, delicate tannins and Jurassic minerality. A superb effort from Nicole Deriaux! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Montbourgeau 2009 L'Etoile Cuvèe Speciale

This Chardonnay is aged for several years under the protective layer of yeast called voile that keeps the wine from oxidizing while allowing it to evolve slowly in barrel. From a very good, ripe vintage, this wine is a joy to drink now but will also evolve nicely over several years. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

Puffeney 2012 Arbois Poulsard

Pale and brick red in the glass, this vintage of Puffeney Poulsard has high-toned aromas of sour cherry and cherry pit, fresh thyme, and fragrant, woodsy herbs. The palate offers tangy pomegranate and blood orange with a deliciously bitter note of citrus pith mingling with the wine's inherent Jurassic minerality. As always, it's an austere style of Poulsard that will evolve very nicely in the cellar if you're able to wait. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Tissot 2012 Arbois Poulsard Vieilles Vignes Sans Soufre

Stéphane Tissot does it again!! This 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 beautiful florals on the nose, 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
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  • $24.99

Tissot 2012 Arbois Trousseau Singulier

Cooler, more high-toned, brambly, and earthy than Tissot's 2011 Singulier, with beautiful floral, dark cherry, and herbal notes on the nose, we are thrilled with the 2012 vintage of this wine. The palate offers tart and sweet cranberry, raspberry seed, sumac, and cherry fruit with the Burgundian earthiness, lashings of acidity, and fine but firm tannins that make us love this bottle. Delicate and quaffable, this is a fabulous Jurassic choice for lovers of Burgundy as it hits a Pinot-like sweet spot on both the nose and the palate. MSB

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

Saint-Pierre 2011 Arbois Poulsard Petit Curoulet

This is a clean and delicious sans soufre Poulsard from a new grower working organically and learning from the great Fan-fan Ganevat. (At least our notes say this wine is hand destemmed a la Ganevat.) The wine is super pale in the glass, herbal, aromatic, forward, and full of wild strawberry fruits. The wine remained clean and became more expressive over the course of a day. always a sign of good no sulfur winemaking. We get the feeling this is only the beginning for Fabrice of Domaine Saint-Pierre. -msb 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $27.99

Saint Pierre 2011 Arbois Melon à Queue Rouge

In 2011 Fabrice Dodane of Domaine Saint Pierre took over from his estate's previous owner, whom he had worked with for nearly 20 years. He continually makes clean, precise, natural wines that are as delicious as they are accessible. Made from the obscure relative of Chardonnay called Melon-Queue-Rouge, this wine is raised ouillé (meaning "topped up" rather than aged in the traditional fashion under a veil of yeast). The wine is floral, honeyed, and quince-y with notes of tart green apple and crunchy green grape. For a white wine from the Jura, it's fairly fruit-forward and generous on the palate. This is the last vintage of this wine until 2018 (he had to replant the vines immediately after 2011) so don't miss this chance to taste something special. Tim Gagnon

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Saint Pierre 2012 Arbois Poulsard Petit Curoulet

In 2012 this wine has a touch of Pinot Noir in it! Yum. We like that it has the delicate weight of Poulsard but with slightly more body. In the spirit of the last vintage of Petit Curoulet, this wine has expressive, pure, tangy red fruit on the nose, fruit seeds, fresh herbs, and sour cherry pits. The palate is sheer and vibrant. With 2 mgs sulfur added after malolactic fermentation and none at bottling, we'd say this is a job well done! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99