If you are minded to take a stop off in the Jura and discover these unusual wines then there’s no better place to start than Arbois. A medieval picturesque, market town whose most famous son was Louis Pasteur.
He used the Jura wines in his research into the mysteries of the fermentation of alcohol. He also worked in Arbois and his scientific research is often cited as the birthplace of the modern science of wine. It also has the privilege of its own Apellation Arbois Contrôlée. As you enter the town you’ll be struck how the village is enveloped by the vineyards as this short video shows:
With limited time available and the need to sample the best that this special place has to offer I headed straight for the number one house on my “hit list” Domaine Jacques Tissot . Their salon is really easy to find just off the central square in the middle of the town. They offer an extensive “Degustion” at no charge which allows you to try as many or as few wines as you wish.
Being an Arbois virgin I was guided by the charming assistant and we got through the tasting with my limited French!
Arbois Nature 2014. Made from 100% Savagnin. This grape in its aromatic form is Gewurtztraminer and its familial roots come through in the rose like aromas on the nose and flavours of lychee. This wine will partner scallops well.
Arbois Chardonnay ” Les Corvees Sous Curon” 2013. Aged in oak but with A degree of minerality. Flavours of brioches and vanilla with a subtle hint of frangipane. Would partner a cheese soufflé , or Poulet de Bresse in a cream and wild mushroom sauce.
Arbois Poulsard ” Grand Reserve” 2010. This is an ancient grape variety, also called Ploussard. In the Jura it’s the second most widespread variety after Chardonnay. Flavours of raisin and cherries come through and this is best served chilled with charcuterie.
Arbois Trousseau 2010. The Trousseau grape is a rare gem which challenges the vigneron and is harvested late. A native originally of Comte. Has intense peppery flavours and would be an ideally partner to duck.
Chateau Chalon 2003, Vin Jaune. Huge ageing potential and will keep for up to 20 years. The ultimate wine for a fine aged Comte cheese. It’s fair to say that the Vin Jaune, an AOC in its own right, is rightly still the king of the Jura. It undergoes a very defined ageing process under a film of yeast known as the VOILE or veil. After fermentation the wine is left untouched by the vigneron for at least 6 years and three months. Has complex flavours of walnuts and spices. The wine is bottled in a uniquely sized CLAVELIN of 62cl. This is the exact amount of liquid left after the initial one litre of Vin Jaune has been aged.
Vin de Paille 2009. This wine is produced from a combination of the finest Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard and Triusseau grapes which are set aside from their fellow grapes during the harvest. Grape clusters are then hung in a well ventilated room or dried on straw mats for around three months. This process naturally concentrates the sugar after which they are pressed. Then aged in barrels for at least 3 years. This wine has notes of candied fruits and honey and would be an ideal partner to either foie gras or desserts.
Is a fortified juice obtained by adding grape juice to heated Eau de Vie Marc. Aged 2 years in oak barrels. It is 17%. Made from Savagnin and Chardonnay grapes and is often served as an aperitif but is probably at its best when served with chocolate or frozen desserts.
A thoroughly pleasurable 1 hour spent tasting some truly unusual and a few remarkable wines. As you can imagine I really had to discipline myself but allowed myself 6 bottles from the selection above and in addition I just couldn’t resist their 100% Chardonnay Cremant too which took the tally to 7 bottles. I’m looking forward to sharing details of the culinary combinations that go with these wines in future Posts. A bientot!!