Arriving after work just in time to see most of the producers packing up to leave - but chef Raymond Blanc still there - I asked the few stragglers for recommendations of what to try from the 150 wines on show - see my detailed tasting notes below. Wines marked "TWS" are now available from The Wine Society.
Nestling in the lower western foothills of the Jura mountains above the Bresse plain, Jura is just 80km east of Burgundy.
It is home to a range of styles - almost none of which is familiar to outsiders.
Jura wines are different, and something of an acquired taste. For me, the key characteristics of Jura's wines are pale reds and sharp, cidery whites; the wines are not without fruit, but it plays a secondary role to more structural matters such as acidity and texture. These then are food wines, best matched with the local hams and cheeses.
Wine styles particular to Jura include Vin Jaune, aged oxidatively under a flor-type yeast, Vin de Paille, a straw wine from dried grapes and Macvin, a liqueur made from grape juice and brandy / marc.
Already something of a niche, Jura wines have also embraced organic, biodynamic and sometimes natural wine methods in the same way, perhaps, that sci-fi geeks love both Star Trek and Dr Who.
Cellier Des Tiercelines, Arbois Chardonnay 2011 pleasant citrus and melon fruit, recognisably Chardonnay.
Arbois Savagnin 2009 "Benoit Mulin" Jura-esque nose of sharpness and wet straw, cidery acidity, good savouriness and grip.
Domaine Baud, Cuvee Flor 2011 cidery sharpness, musky oak, mouthfilling and long.
Domaine Badoz, Cuvee "Dedicace a Pierre" 2009 (Pinot Noir), good fruit and grip.
Domaine Berthet-Bondet, Cotes du Jura Rubis 2011 (Poulsard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir) cabbagey nose, ripe soft red fruits, lots of stuffing, long and well-balanced. Good.
Cotes du Jura Nature 2011 (Savagnin) muskiness on the nose, ripe tropical melon fruit; mouthfilling with a grippy finish.
Chateau-Chalon 2006 (Savagnin) a vin jaune, aged for 6 years in barrel and only just released. Complex Jura-esque nose, sharp and cidery with brown apple flesh and wet straw aromas. Grippy.
Domaine de la Pinte, Arbois Vin Jaune 2005 (Savagnin) wet straw aromas, sharp linear acidity yet softened and mellow, glycerol texture, dry finish.
Domaine de la Renardiere, Jurassique 2011 Arbois-Pupillin TWS £12.95 (Chardonnay) lots of ripe tropical fruit, savouriness, less challengingly sharp
Domaine Morel-Thibaut, Trousseau 2011 Pale red in the glass, vegetal, slightly sulphurous nose. Ripe soft red berry fruit, vibrant with a silky texture and good, but gentle acidity. Persistence on the finish.
Vin de Paille 2009 wet straw aromas, sharp cidery nose, complex sweetness of sultanas and sweet spice. Very Good.
Domaine Hughes-Beguet, Arbois Pupillin Rosé de Ploussard 2011 TWS £11.95 a salmon-pink fizz, touch of muskiness and bubblegum on the nose. Refreshing acidity, good mousse, ripe redcurrant fruit with hints of vegetal farmyardiness. Long on the palate, good linear acidity and mouthfilling. Savoury and persistent on the finish - a good picnic wine.
Ploussard 2011 Arbois Pale red in the glass; musky, vegetal aromas red fruits and a touch of spice. Soft silky texture and sweet ripe red berry fruit on the palate - hints of vegetal farmyard. Long with a firm, persistent finish.
Domaine des Ronces Cotes de Jura Pinot 2010 relatively dark red - the colour of cranberry juice. Red fruits and bubblegum. Sweet ripe red fruits, mouthfilling texture, soft yet mouthfilling acidity.
Very long and savoury on the palate, feels concentrated, firm and persistent on the finish. Very Good.
Henri Maire, La Vigniere Vin de Paille 2008 Arbois Mahogany in the glass, Jura-esque nose - cidery, pungent, honey and beeswax, intensely sweet, cut through with sharpness, savoury bitterness of honey, rancio with roasted nuts and figs. Long palate and well-balanced finish. Very good.
|Attendees included a local chef from the region, name of R. Blanc (r)|
The Wines of Jura - An Overview
Organic Jura Wines - Tasting Notes
CIVJ - http://www.jura-vins.com/
Jura wine - website, twitter
Image credit: picture of Wink by Brett Jones