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Posts Tagged ‘Jura’

“To say that his grapes are spun into gold would not be far from the truth; they are entirely otherworldly.”   Kermit Lynch

Jura is is home to some forty different grape varietals and its own style of winemaking that is quite unique.  While it might be a small and not very well known region, it is filled with some of the world’s great wine makers. One of my favorites is Jean-François Ganevat. His family has been making wine as far back as 1650, although the family supplemented their  grape growing with a dairy to support production of the local cheese, Comté, until 1976.

After working both for his father and for the prestigious Domaine Jean-Marc Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet, Jean-François returned to the Jura in 1998 to take over the family domaine. With only eight-and-a-half hectares, the family had seventeen different local varietals planted of both red and white grapes—an incredible amount of variation considering the size.

Ganevat creates a stunning number of cuvées, ranging between thirty-five and forty every year. It is not only the number, but the manner in which he makes his wines. He is a fervent perfectionist and insatiable lover of details with each cuvée receiving a highly individualized élévage. He takes the time to de-stem by hand and each cluster is carefully trimmed with scissors. Other very well-run estates larger than Ganevat’s employ just one or two people. Ganevat, however, employs eight people full time to tend to every detail.

The domaine is certified as biodynamic and Ganevat only uses minimal doses of sulfur.  Many would fear it hurting the wines during transport, but he ages many of his whites on the lees for extended periods of time (from two to eleven years).

In the Jura, many of the wines go through a traditional, intentional oxidation; however Jean-François gravitates toward a more Burgundian style, using a method referred to in the Jura as “ouillé” (meaning the barrels are topped up as the wine ages). This is the normal practice throughout the world of wine, and prevents the wine from slowly oxidizing in the barrel. In contrast, a wine made using the “sous-voile” method is not topped up in the barrel. As a result, a thin layer of yeast forms on the top of the wine, which the Jura winemakers refer to as the “voile” or veil. This prevents the wine from turning into vinegar in the barrel, and allows it to slowly age and develop a range of unique flavours, including the nuttiness and spices that are so pronounced in Vin Jaune.

The Les Chalasses Marnes Bleue ’08 is Savagnin topped up. Aromatics of sherry, orchard fruit with some burnt rubber, funky cheese (?) and caramel. More orchard fruit and sherry notes on the palate with some citrus, nuttiness, tropical fruit and melting butter. Rich and complex — a beautiful and unique bottle of wine.

His ’08 Chardonnay Grusse en Billat might be even better, as least for my taste. The minerality comes through on the nose and the palate with orchard fruit and lemon oil. Taut and acidic, but with such purity and freshness. A very refined and elegant wine that really leaves a strong impression.

His red wines equal the whites. The ’09 Côtes du Jura Plein Sud and Cuvée Julien are both outstanding. I expect all of the wines are built for the long term, the whites included given the extended aging on their lees. His wines are not widely available, but they are worth seeking out and each one a treasure. His wines are imported by Jeffrey Alpert Selections and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.

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The Jura is a narrow valley in the remote hills between Burgundy to the west and Switzerland to the east. Most Americans have never been exposed to the wines from the Jura (though they have probably had their cheese). For centuries, the Jura existed in isolation, developing its unusual grapes and styles of wine, which the rest of the world essentially ignored, until recently.

Today, wine geeks and lovers are discovering the wines and it now borders on obsession for those that have been bitten by the Jura bug — and Jacques Puffeney is on many people’s short list of best producers. His prowess in both the vineyards and the cave has earned him the nickname among his colleagues of “the Pope of Arbois.” Eric Asimov described Puffeney as a creator of “jagged wines in a silky-smooth world.”

He normally begins harvest in late September, everything is done manually. It commences with the Chardonnay, then the Poulsard, followed by Pinot Noir and Trousseau and finally, the Savagnin is picked. The Poulsard experiences a 15 to 20 day cuvaison. The wine is then racked into foudres (not new) where the malolactic fermentation takes place. The reds are aged at least two years and sometimes 30 months in barrel depending upon the structure of the vintage.

The Poulsard “M” takes its name from the town of Montagny-les-Arsures. Bright ruby in color, but totally transparent. Aromatics of red fruit with some rose petal as well as some funky gaminess and oxidized notes. Cherry, rhubarb, red currant and a little blood orange and herbaceous — with solid minerality. Lean and firm with almost perfect balance as well as lots of grip and acidity. 12.5 percent alcohol. I thought this was unique, thought provoking and just plain delicious. For my taste, I thought this showed best when served at about 48 degrees. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Recommended.

Related posts:
Jacques Puffeney Arbois Pinot Noir 2006

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The Jura is a narrow valley in the remote hills between Burgundy to the west and Switzerland to the east. Most Americans have never been exposed to the wines from the Jura (though they have probably had their cheese). For centuries, the Jura existed in isolation, developing its unusual grapes and styles of wine, which the rest of the world essentially ignored, until recently. Today, wine geeks and lovers are discovering the wines and it now borders on obsession for those that have been bitten by the Jura bug — and Jacques Puffeney is on many people’s short list of best producers.

Puffeney’s father was a vineyard worker who owned a mere speck of land in the village of Montigny Les Arsures (around the corner from Arbois). Jacques made his first wine at the age of 17 but, to earn a living, worked simultaneously as a “saleur de Comte” helping to make the fabled cheese of his region. Over time he acquired vineyards and now his estate consists of 7 1/2 hectares, all in the appellation of Arbois. His prowess in both the vineyards and the cave has earned him the nickname among his colleagues of “the Pope of Arbois.” Eric Asimov described Puffeney as a creator of “jagged wines in a silky-smooth world.”

He normally begins harvest in late September, everything is done manually. It commences with the Chardonnay, then the Poulsard, followed by Pinot Noir and Trousseau and finally, the Savagnin is picked. The Poulsard experiences a 15 to 20 day cuvaison. The wine is then racked into foudres (not new) where the malolactic fermentation takes place. The reds are aged at least two years and sometimes 30 months in barrel depending upon the structure of the vintage.

The ’06 is ruby in color, with a wee bit of orange and copper and a little cloudy. Sour cherry, strawberry, rose petal and earth with some spice, mineral, nutty and oxidative notes. On the palate, taut and tart with raspberry, sour cherry, red currant, rhubarb and a hint of sherry. Austere, acidic and tannic — but oddly enough there is also something very soothing about the wine. This is not a quaffer, but rewards (and virtually demands) going slow and savoring every bit. Medium bodied at best, yet this will stand up to foods twice its size. 13% alcohol. Imported by Neal Rosenthal.

This wine along with the wines from Jean Follaird just might top my list of favorite reds from the last 6 months.

Related posts:
Jacques Puffeney Arbois Poulsard “M” 2006
Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py 2007
Jean & Agnes Foillard — Morgon Cuvée Corcelette Vieille Vigne 2007

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