Jura Wines with Attitude
•Despite the trendiness of the wines, the Jura producers I visited told me that until I showed up, no American sommelier or wine writer had visited their wineries.
•The Jurassic Period—when dinosaurs roamed the earth—takes its name from the region and its underlying limestone.
•Besides wine, the Jura is known for its cheeses, from Laughing Cow to the more serious, not-so-laughing Comté.
•The year 1854 was a good one for Jura natives Louis Pasteur, who discovered pasteurization, and Louis Vuitton, who launched his fashion brand.
Grapes of the Jura
Savagnin For first-timers to Jura wines, this is the grape to understand. It has a connection, but little flavor likeness, to Traminer, having intense acidity and only a light perfume. In the Jura, this is the “one that makes the wines so special,” says Pierre Rolet. It’s behind all the wonderful, special oxidative wines and is the only one permitted in vin jaune.
Chardonnay Grown in the Jura since the 10th century, Chardonnay forms the backbone of the fruity Jura white wines. Pliable and amenable, it produces wines from fresh to wood-aged, always with a light touch that sets Jura Chardonnay apart from white Burgundy.
Poulsard Sometimes spelled Ploussard, this is native to the Jura. It gives wines that range from elegant and aromatic, to animal and rustic. The color is always light, not quite rosé.
Trousseau Travelers on the Route of Saint James to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain left their mark with plantings of this vine, all the way from the Jura to northern Spain and Portugal. The wines from this much-traveled grape are soft and warm, sometimes with intense red and black fruit flavors. The best examples can age.
Pinot Noir Travelling across the Saône Valley from Burgundy has lightened Pinot Noir and given it a spring in its step. It’s also intensified acidity and left greenness in some years when ripening is difficult. Best in a blend or in Crémant du Jura.
6 Jura-friendly hotspots, from coast to coast
2500 Folsom St., San Francisco
The wines of Jacques Puffeney feature here.
1221 NW 21st Ave., Portland, Oregon
Trousseau from Stéphane Tissot, and Chardonnay from Domaine Rolet.
713 Vine St., Cincinnati
André et Mireille Tissot’s Crémant de Jura is the house sparkling wine.
34 Eighth Ave., New York City
Look for the wines of Jacques Puffeney and Stéphane Tissot.
113 MacDougal St., New York City
For a rare pairing of (light) red Jura from Domaine Ganevat with air-dried steak.
Trestle on Tenth
242 Tenth Ave., New York City
Featuring wines from Philippe Bernard, Berthet-Bondet and Domaine Ganevat.