Vins Du Jura
VARIETIES OF JURA WINES
Jura white wines are made according to classic rules though important differences arise in the maturation stage. Depending on the winemaking method used, wine is left in the barrel and is either topped up, or not. Winemakers have the choice to top up regularly and completely counter-act evaporation in an effort to protect the wine from contactIng air, thus eliminating oxidization. In general, topped up white wines, almost always Chardonnay, are rather more floral with notes of fruit. In the Jura, winemakers are happy to not always top up the barrels, which provokes the action of oxydisation between air and wine. This oxydisation develops the notes of walnuts, hazelnuts and sweet spices that are typically Jurassian. These white wines, known as Typé, are made from Chardonnay, Savagnin or a blend of the two. Depending on the winemakers personal choice of proportion [between 10% and 40% Savagnin], the resulting wine is presented as a special cuvée, often called tradition.
Vin Jaune is considered one of the finest wines in the world. Famous for its organoleptic qualities as well as its mysterious and original method of production, it takes it's name from it's golden yellow color. Chateau-Chalon is the birth place of Vin Jaune though it is equally produced in Arbois, LEtoile and on the Côtes du Jura. Vin Jaune is made in a specific and very unusual manner. After the initial fermentation it is left in oak barrels for a minimum of six years three months, with neither racking or topping up. A layer of yeast forms on top of the wine during this aging process and stops any oxidization by blocking air from making contact with the wine. It is this yeast that mysteriously gives the wine its complex and characteristic taste and aromas. Once the maturation is completed the wine is bottled in a special bottle called a Clavelin, which contains only 62cl and is the only bottle allowed for Vin Jaunes. The unusual bottle is explained by the fact that one litre of grape juice reduces generally to 62cl of Vin Jaune at the end of the 6 year process.
VIN DE PAILLE
The unusual method of production of Vin de Paille and the aromas that it develops make for a remarkable wine. Vin de Paille has a mention traditionnelle which translates to a very specific method of production. It is found in the AOC areas of Arbois, LEtoile and Côtes du Jura where a maximum of only 20hl is permitted to be made per hectare of vines. Bunches of grapes are selected very carefully for the best fruit and are then left for three months or so on either beds of straw (Paille, hence the name), wicker racks or hung in a dry, well aerated space The grapes must dry for a period of at least six weeks. The objective is to get the best, most concentrated grapes for pressing. Between Christmas and the end of February, the grapes full of natural sugar are pressed. A naturally slow fermentation gives a sweet wine with a strength of between 14.5° and 17° of alcohol. The wine ages a further three years in small barrels and develops the special aromas of crystallised fruits, prunes, honey, butterscotch or crystallised orange.
The reds can be full bodied depending on the grape variety and blending. In effect they can be any colour from a light, subtle almost rosé to a full, deep red as is the case with the Pinot Noir. They keep well and develop notes of undergrowth, humus and mushrooms. With the Trousseau there are meaty notes.
MACVIN du JURA
Macvin is a member of the very tightly knit club of AOC mistelles [fortified] wines of France. It is the only one of these to be made from a grape eau-de-vie and not from wine. Known since the 14th century, Macvin is made from non-fermented grape juice, the must of the pressings, to which is added one third of Jura brandy [marc du Jura]. It must be matured for at least 12 months in oak barrels and be of between 16° and 22° alcohol by volume to be granted its AOC.
The appellation Macvin du Jura covers the whole of the Jura wine region and all of the five grape varieties, Trousseau, Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard and Pinot Noir are permitted in the production of the must. Macvin may be red or white, but in general the winemakers produce white. The eau-de-vie used for the production of Macvin is made by distilling Marc du Jura, which in turn has to mature for 18 months in oak barrels before being used to make Macvin.
CREMANT du JURA
Sparkling wines in the Jura date back to the late 18th century, around the time the winemakers mastered the techniques of the methode traditionnelle. Production of AOC Crémant du Jura is permitted in the area identical to that contained in the AOCs Côtes du Jura, Arbois, Chateau-Chalon and lEtoile. All five grape varieties are permitted to be included. For white Crémant du Jura, made in over 90% of vineyards, Chardonnay must be used for at least 50% of the wine. For Crémant du Jura rosé, the Poulsard and Pinot Noir grapes must account for at least 50% between them. The grapes are harvested by hand, a legal requirement, and transported to the cellar in slatted crates where the bunches are then pressed whole.
There are four Appellation dOrigine Contrôlée [AOC] classification vineyards in the region: Côtes du Jura, LÉtoile, Arbois/Arbois-Pupillin, and Château-Chalon; two products with AOC status: Crément du Jura and Macvin du Jura; and five grape varieties: Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir.
The fame of the Jura wines has been in place forever. Our wines are based strongly on "terroir" and traditional techniques and practices. Our weather, soil and grape varieties, the ever present "terroir", and the skill of our winemakers are all significant in choosing the method of vinification and maturation. It is this great diversity that best characterizes the Jura wine region: 5 grape varieties, 6 AOCs, 200 professional winemakers, and a rich range of fine products. Red wines, rosés, white wines and Vin Jaune are the still wines of the region. Joined by sparkling Cremant, the sweet Vin de Paille, fortified Macvin du Jura and the distilled Marc and Fine, we have the largest range any region can offer.
Middle Age Bridge near Le musee Courbet