Jeunet Retires: Arbois Gastronomic Traditions Live On

Once it was certain that his Arbois restaurant had retained its two Michelin stars, held for 20 years, Jean-Paul Jeunet confirmed his retirement. He has formally handed over the business to his second-in-command Steven Naessens, who has worked with him for eight years.

According to local reports, the Hotel Restaurant Jean-Paul Jeunet will be re-named Maison Jeunet. Jean-Paul Jeunet, 61, plans to travel the world, but in order to ensure continuity, he will initially continue to work with Steven Naessens, who he regards as his ‘spiritual son’.

The restaurant is about to re-open after the winter break and there are some changes forecast including a rumoured return of sommelier Stéphane Planche to look after the wine list… expect even more natural wines.

This is just one of several changes happening in the Arbois restaurant scene. Among them, it is thought that La Balance, another excellent restaurant, will change hands this year and the new Brasserie Aux Docks is starting to make waves.

Like his father André before him, Jean-Paul Jeunet could not have been a better ambassador to the Jura wine region, which is why I chose to include the pair in second chapter of the history section of my Jura Wine book, named “The People Who Made a Difference”.

Jean-Paul Jeunet and Wink Lorch

With Jean-Paul Jeunet after an excellent dinner. ©Brett Jones

This chapter gave me perhaps the most pleasure to research and write. Interviewing Jean-Paul Jeunet over coffee and delicious pastries was truly fascinating. I have also had the pleasure of eating at the restaurant several times, always enjoying inventive cuisine, attentive service and, of course, fine Jura wines.

You can read more about the Jeunets including about Jean-Paul Jeunet’s wine philosophy in the following book excerpt.

The Jeunets – chefs

André Jeunet: 1924–2001 and Jean-Paul Jeunet: b. 1954

Imagine the scenario. You are a young and ambitious French chef with your own restaurant, already boasting a Michelin star, building yourself a fine reputation. Having twice failed to win the top chefs’ competition, you decide instead to enter the top sommeliers’ competition in the country. You’re a chef and you win . . . This is what happened in 1966 to André Jeunet, father of Jean-Paul Jeunet (at the time of writing the only two-star Michelin chef in the Jura and Franche-Comté).

In a familiar story for most French-born chefs, André Jeunet, who came from Arbois, was inspired by his mother, who taught him about the flavours of local food and drink. Like most Jura country folk, they had some vines, made wine and used the travelling still to make home-grown fruit spirits and liqueurs – and all turned up in the cooking pot. After catering studies and work in restaurants and teaching, André married Raymonde Bonjour, the daughter of a hotelier in Port Lesnay (once the Hotel Bonjour, today the delightful Hotel d’Edgar). In 1951 the couple took on the task of renovating the Hotel de Paris in Arbois, then on the main road between Paris and Geneva, with the aim of turning it into a busy Routier restaurant.

At that time Arbois already had two Michelin-rated restaurants (La Balance and the Hôtel des Messageries) and the story goes that the local Michelin inspector, who had heard about the Hotel de Paris, encouraged them to take down their Routier sign so that they could be eligible for a star the next year. Losing the Routier customers was a risk, but they took it and won a star in 1959.

In the meantime André Jeunet supplemented his income by teaching at the girls’ catering college in nearby Poligny. Along with cookery courses he included wine-tasting courses, and would take the young ladies off to visit vineyards around the country. He was hooked on wine and learning fast. After losing France’s top chef’s competition in 1962 and 1964 to no less than the great chefs Paul Bocuse and Jean Troisgros, he gave up, but then tried for the Meilleur Sommelier de France instead. He won the award in 1966 and with that in hand he was able to indulge his passion as well as pay particular attention to the wines of his own region. It is said that whenever he travelled out of the region to another restaurant, he always took a clavelin of Vin Jaune with him to help it become known among his colleagues.

This era coincided exactly with the time that a few small vignerons in the Jura were turning away from polyculture to set up wine estates, inspired partly by the fact that Henri Maire was succeeding in making Jura wines known around the world. According to Jean-Paul, his father André had respect for Henri Maire, whose estate wines in particular were very good at the time, but he wanted to help and encourage these younger vignerons. He would taste wines with Jacques Puffeney, Lucien Aviet (Caveau Bacchus) or Roger Lornet (father of Frédéric) and suggest ways that they could make their wines better, and of course he sold their wines in his restaurant.

This being the era of fast improvements in cellar technologies, André encouraged the vignerons to be cautious with these new technologies, to value their land and to remain artisanal. He was an admirer of the philosophy of the Beaujolais wine merchant and natural wine advocate Jules Chauvet, who was a great influence on Pierre Overnoy.

Nadine and Jean-Paul Jeunet © Hotel Restaurant Jean-Paul Jeunet

Nadine and Jean-Paul Jeunet © Hotel Restaurant Jean-Paul Jeunet

Jean-Paul Jeunet spent a lot of time as a child with his grandmother – his parents being busy establishing their hotel and restaurant – and credits her with being as big an influence on his understanding of flavours as she had been for his father. He followed his father into the business after studying in Nice and worked in the kitchens of several grand restaurants. When his father became unwell in 1986, Jean-Paul and his wife Nadine took over the business. He had previously tried to work in the kitchen beside his father, but there was friction. When Jean-Paul received his second Michelin star in 1996, he finally believed he had done something good for himself, and eventually changed the name from Hotel de Paris to Hotel Restaurant Jean-Paul Jeunet.

Naturally his father had taught him about the local wines, but Jean-Paul credits Stéphane Planche, who worked as the restaurant’s head sommelier from 1998 to 2009, with helping him create a strategy for the restaurant’s wine purchases and stocks, so that between 25% and 35% of all purchases are put aside to age. Stéphane says that the restaurant was already really driven by its excellent wine selection before his arrival, and both André (with whom he was able to spend time) and Jean-Paul taught him much about the Jura and its vignerons. Stéphane and Jean-Paul share an appreciation of wines that are simple and represent the land and their vignerons; they remain good friends and Jean-Paul helped Stéphane set up his Arbois wine shop and bar, Les Jardins de St-Vincent.

Jean-Paul believes that Jura wines have made great progress in the past 20 years or so, and he is a supporter of vignerons working with organic and biodynamic methods in particular. He believes in minimal intervention and seems to love the new fruity styles of reds that give pleasure without tannin and encourage one to drink a second glass. However, he fears that the real extremists may lose the Jura some clientele, and doesn’t enjoy some of the really ‘crazy’ wines. Restraint in purchases should be assured by the sommelier since 2010, Alain Guillou, who was awarded Sommelier of the Year by the publisher Gault et Millau in 2013. Currently their list has 640 wines, including over 350 from the Jura.

On matching Jura wines with food, Jean-Paul starts with the comment that God must have been from the Jura to create such a divine marriage as Comté cheese with Vin Jaune. He also believes that the matches of basic local products like Morteau sausage with Poulsard or pike with Savagnin are essential, but he goes further: ‘Give me a wine and I will give you a dish to match,’ he says, and rates lobster with Savagnin a splendid marriage, though he refuses to be drawn into discussions about whether to choose ouillé or an oxidative version, believing each wine should be treated on its own merits without going too far into how it was made. For Jean-Paul the terroir (in which he includes the grape varieties) counts for 51% of the character of a wine, and the know-how and work of the vigneron for 49%. What’s more, if you do not understand the fundamentals of that terroir, you can’t begin to make a good wine, he claims.

Jean-Paul Jeunet Arbois

The entrance to the Arbois hotel restaurant, opposite the town hall ©Wikimedia

Today the restaurant’s cuisine is influenced by the greenness of the Jura and its soil, using many root vegetables – simple wines of the earth go well with these dishes, Jean-Paul says. According to Jean-Paul, both he and his father transmitted into their cuisine their own history and traditions, and these match the originality and history of the grape varieties and terroirs of Jura wines. Both men of strong personality, Jean-Paul believes that their individual and highly flavoured cuisine can bring out the best in Jura wines because their flavours are so powerful.

Jean-Paul Jeunet is regularly seen at wine events, and sometimes agrees to be one of the chefs for grand PR occasions as well as contributing recipes to the CIVJ’s publications. He continues to be a great supporter of local vignerons, both established and new, and to be excited by their wines. Very approachable, he puts a smile on younger growers’ faces when he – always in conjunction with his sommelier – agrees to list one of their wines, often discovered by himself at a tasting.

Jean-Paul Jeunet and his team outside the restaurant watching the procession of the Biou. ©Brett Jones

Jean-Paul Jeunet and his team outside the restaurant watching the symbolic Biou procession. ©Brett Jones

The Jeunet dynasty has been important for Jura wines, providing a focal point for lovers of gastronomy. And for those who have loved the wines from a distance and visit Arbois for the first time, the Restaurant Jean-Paul Jeunet has become a place of pilgrimage. Fortunately the prices, relative to its status, have been held in check both for the food and the wines, as befits this region.

The above was an excerpt from Wink Lorch’s award-winning Jura Wine Book, available in print from Wine Travel Media and available as an eBook on iBooks and on Kindle.

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A Look Back at the Jura Wine World in 2015

A year ago I was far away, working for Wine-Searcher in New Zealand, but keeping an eye on what was going on in the Jura wine region and on how its wines were continuing to make waves around the world. I had the chance to present my book at dinners and tastings in New Zealand, Australia and in the US – it was great fun to meet Jura wine lovers everywhere.

Jura wine tasting dinner

An amazing line-up for an extraordinary tasting dinner in Sydney with Greg Murphy and Shannon Noble © Brett Jones

I returned to Europe in May and since then have made a few brief trips in the Jura, attended tastings in Paris and London and, once harvest was underway, discovered generally an upbeat mood in the region. And, I’ve been selling my book well in the local Jura bookshops. What follows in an update on what’s going on in the region. And, if you don’t have my book yet, or want to give a copy as a gift, please scroll to the bottom of this post for a very special offer!

What was most notable during the year was how much press the little Jura wine region received, especially given its tiny size. Could this be a fashion, many asked? Was it all my doing, because of the book, queried some? My answer to these questions could be no and no, but more accurately it should be ‘partly’. Exports have leapt from 7% to 10% and that’s with a series of small vintages too, and the buzz has grown and grown. For more on this see my thoughts over on Wine Travel Media.

Changes: the old guard moves on and newcomers keep coming
As widely reported, last December Jacques Puffeney let the cat out of the bag (early apparently according to his importer Neal Rosenthal) that he was selling most of his vineyards to Domaine du Pélican, the Jura estate owned mainly by Guillaume, Marquis d’Angerville. Since then I’ve visited with both Jacques and with François Duvivier of Pélican to taste the 2014s and discuss the changes. The fact is that Jacques had no successors and needed to sell. Negotiations to sell to his US importer and vigneron Michel Gahier just didn’t work and the offer from d’Angerville (with whom I know he had been talking since long before Pélican took on its first vineyards in 2012) was simply better. As Jacques used his personal name on his labels and not that of a domaine, the name on the label evidently stops with his last vintage – the 2014. Some of his 2014 wines have been recently released, others will take longer, notably the Vin Jaune for release no earlier than 2021, but it is resolutely Jacques who will shepherd them to bottle as d’Angerville did not buy his stocks.

François Duvivier in the Pélican barrel cellar © Mick Rock/Cephas

François Duvivier in the Pélican barrel cellar © Mick Rock/Cephas

Domaine du Pélican, who are vinifying wines from Jacques’ vineyards for the first time this year, are likely to keep them separately to begin with – in future they may release individual cuvées. Two things are rarely talked about concerning Pélican – firstly is their complete devotion to getting the best out of their biodynamically run vineyards (those from Jacques are now in conversion) and secondly is that they have many links with local Jura vignerons. Two examples: new plantings are from massal selections from Domaines Pignier and La Pinte; and their manager Rémi Treuvey, is himself a Jurassien from a long line of vignerons. It’s true their first vintages taste perhaps too polished for the Jura, but I say give them time and the vineyards will speak out eventually.

In other moves, Domaine Grand, once believed to be up for sale, has stayed in family hands. Brothers Sébastien and Emmanuel have gone their separate ways, so half the vineyards were sold, but Emmanuel has retained the premises and the business, joining with his partner Nathalie and there seems to be a real enthusiasm there. I have yet to visit. Among those who bought vineyards from Grand are Les Dolomies and Domaine Berthet-Bondet (now with daughter Hélène very much part of the team having completed wine production studies at Montmorot). Rumour has it that Domaine Rolet in Arbois will also stay in family hands, this is yet to be 100% confirmed, but could be good news. The other big, but not entirely unexpected news at the end of 2014 is that the giant Burgundy-based négociant Maison Boisset has taken the majority shares of Henri Maire. It remains to be seen what they will do to improve the wines and re-vamp their terrible shop in Arbois.Nez dans le Vert

In Paris at Le Nez dans le Vert organic tasting in November, along with established participants there were two relative newcomers whose wines I had not tasted. Valentin Morel has now taken over the running of Domaine Morel in Poligny from his father Jean-Luc Morel. He is not only converting the vineyards to organic cultivation, but is also making the wines in an entirely natural way, with no or very low sulphur – he showed a 2014 Trousseau that was juicy, but a touch hard, but a 2015 barrel sample of Chardonnay showed excellent purity. Philippe Châtillon, who years ago ran Domaine de la Pinte, has established his own tiny domaine in Passenans and Arbois, converting the vineyards immediately to organics. In 2014 he also worked without any SO2 as an experiment. I was impressed with his range, especially a deliciously drinkable Pinot Noir named La Grande Chaude. The wines from several other relatively recently-established vignerons go from strength to strength – these include, on the really natural side, Catherine Hannoun of Domaine de La Loue, with an interesting (pale) orange wine named Cuvée Raphaëlle, and Jean-Baptiste Ménigoz of Les Bottes Rouge. Other organic producers, whose ranges are tasting great, include Géraud and Pauline Fromont of Domaine des Marnes Blanches and Patrice Hughes-Béguet.

The 2015 Vintage
Some background first. The last ‘normal’ vintage was in 2011, so growers were keeping everything crossed for 2015, most particularly for decent quantity, though of course everyone cares about quality too. Combining vintages 2012 and 2013 for some organic producers produced the sum of a normal vintage and red wines were in particularly short supply. In 2013, many producers lost much of their Savagnin to a type of pre-flowering coulure that meant future bunches just dropped off the vines due to the very cold early summer. In 2014, the scourge of the Japanese vinegar fly drosophila suzukii wrecked the Poulsard vintage so badly that compromises had to be made – selection wasn’t enough, they had to pick early, ripe or not, or lose the crop and few risked no sulphur additions. The sunny autumn saved the harvest of other grapes thank goodness, but overall no-one had a big crop.

Pupillin harvest

The 2014 harvest was saved by a warm autumn, but it was too late for most of Pupillin’s Ploussard, ravaged by an insect. © Mick Rock/Cephas

In 2015 spring passed with almost no outbreaks of frost or disastrous hail. Flowering was almost perfect (again there were some problems with Savagnin) and once summer came it was dry and hot – very, very close to being too dry and too hot. There was a palpable sense of panic in July as the vines simply stopped functioning, shades of 2003 except that this time there had at least been some winter and spring rainfall. Then, unlike in Burgundy, there was some welcome rainfall in August and the vignerons could breathe again. Hot weather returned, which meant a rush to harvest grapes for Crémant at the end of August and the first days of September. Many admitted it was a little late to catch the decent acidity levels usually required for good Crémant – maybe this means we might have some dryer cuvées from 2015 base – we’ll see. Odd things happened. Trousseau, which is usually the last red to be picked, was showing a potential of 13-14% alcohol at the start of September, before the Poulsard was ripe.

At the end of the day, everyone was smiling at the great quality of all the grapes picked in 2015, with a few concerns about low acidities and some concern about quantity. Oddly the vignerons worried about quantity were those who farm conventionally, or in lutte raisonnée or so-called sustainable agriculture, rather than those working organically. The latter seemed happy, not citing big quantities but – for a change – normal quantities. My theory is that either those working with biodynamic preparations are feeding their vines the forces that can resist drought better, or those who have partly grassed-down vineyards often between every other row, simply suffered from too much competition for the water. These days, most organic growers work with a bare earth principal, ploughing up the weeds and working the soil when needed and this meant no competition for water.

Visiting the Region in 2016 – Dates and Changes
The annual Jura wine festival, the Percée du Vin Jaune will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016 and will be held on February 6th-7th February in Lons-le-Saunier. Attracting 40,000 visitors, many believe this may be the last time the festival will be held in the same format – despite the fees paid by attendees, costs are very high and many wonder whether it is time to change the format.

Hirsinger chocolates

Arbois remains a gourmet paradise with the Hirsinger chocolate shop in the centre. © Mick Rock/Cephas

The year 2016 is likely to see many changes in the restaurant scene in Arbois. It is believed that Thierry Moyne has sold La Balance; Jean-Paul Jeunet is likely to be retiring, apart from for special events, and handing over to his ‘second’ who he has been working with for many years; Bistrot les Claquets is rumoured to be up for sale. In the meantime, a new restaurant has just opened – Brasserie Aux Docks is on the main square, a few paces from Hirsinger chocolate shop and the many wine shops of Arbois. It will have a short menu, using local/seasonal ingredients – the chef was the ‘second’ at Château de Germigny until this summer. The wine list, to be launched in January (a shorter version is in place right now) will have over 100 Jura wines from over 40 producers, selected by me (there’s the disclaimer), plus a choice of wines from other regions, of course.

I have only recently had a chance to see an enjoyable new addition to the Jura bibliography that came out a year ago – Jura sources & ressources (landscapes & portraits). The photographs and themes are by Serge Reverchon and the text – effectively extended captions – is very competently translated by Caroline Hughes-Béguet, wife of Patrice, the vigneron. For those holidaying in the Jura this book provides plenty of extra ideas of where to visit when you want a break from wine! It’s only available direct from Serge Reverchon or in the local Jura bookshops. And speaking of books …

Jura Wine BookHoliday Offer for Jura Wine Book
If you would like a signed (or unsigned) copy of the second impression of my award-winning book Jura Wine for yourself or as a gift, then order from Wine Travel Media and use the code NY1625 for 25% discount, valid up to 5th January. Mailing costs are extra and cannot be discounted. If you want the book signed, then please state this in the comments, dedications are not always possible.

The book is available on Amazon but will cost you more! For the electronic versions, click here to order on Kindle or click here for iBooks.

Categories: News, Producers | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jura Wine Worldwide Events 2015 and Ebook Special Offer

In the Jura it’s the weekend of the Percée du Vin Jaune festival as I write, this year held in the village of Montigny-les-Arsures  – the uncrowned Trousseau capital, near Arbois. I am working far away in New Zealand until March this year, and feeling sad to miss it. However, we are making the most of being down here and I have some events to announce.

An Extraordinary Rare Wine Dinner in Sydney
Saturday, 21 February 2015

Greg Murphy is a self-confessed Jura fan and has worked long and hard to set up this amazing Jura evening in Sydney – an event that I am convinced will be unique (a word I don’t use lightly) in terms of both the wine selection and the exciting food to match. Greg’s partner in this venture is Shannon Noble, who has run Rare Wine Dinners since 2009. I have worked with Greg to select wines from his collection and will introduce each one and share stories about the region and its vignerons.

Patrice Béguet of Domaine Hughes-Béguet © Mick Rock

Patrice Béguet of Domaine Hughes-Béguet in Mesnay, near Arbois. © Mick Rock

This evening will feature 14 wines from eight producers, covering almost all of the myriad Jura styles. The main vignerons represented are Domaine Hughes-Béguet,  Frédéric Lambert, Les Dolomies and Domaine Daniel Dugois – and their wines are soon to be imported into Australia. The evening’s older wines includes a 1999 Trousseau and a 1993 Chardonnay from Dugois, plus a 1995 red blend from Caves Bourdy – all three should be in fine condition. Three mature Vins Jaunes – yes three – include the relatively young 1996 Domaine Badoz, plus 1975 Henri Maire and 1942 Domaine Meurgey, all from very good vintages – a very exciting line-up.

The dinner will be held at an interesting warehouse space called Studio Neon, where chefs Aaron Teece and Richard Robinson have come up with a seriously original menu. As Shannon writes: “We think their style and philosophy of foraging and using organic Australian produce suit the wild nature of the Jura wines.” Check out the Studio Neon chefs’ video here:

The dinner is limited to about a dozen guests, and only a few places remain. It is expensive, but this will be a very special evening. For more details please contact Greg direct or visit the page featuring the Jura dinner on their website. I will of course be signing books and have a few copies available for those who don’t already own one.

A Jura Wine Evening with Maison Vauron in Auckland
Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Maison Vauron are the main importer of Jura wines to New Zealand and have shipped wines from Stéphane Tissot for a few years. They have recently brought over some whites from the lovely Domaine Buronfosse too. More details of this evening will emerge soon, but if you are interested in joining me there, please get in touch with Maison Vauron or with me directly. This is sure to be a top-rate tasting and I will have a few books available there too.

Le Nez dans le Vert – Jura’s Organic Wine Show
Arbois, 22 and 23 March

Last year in March, the first public showing for my book was at the wonderful Le Nez dans le Vert in the Jura that features over 25 of the very best organic wine producers, each showing up to six wines. This year the event (see page 129 of my book) is to be held at Domaine de la Pinte in Arbois. It is open to the public on Sunday 22 March and then on Monday 23 March (morning only) is a trade-only session.

Maison Pierre Overnoy of Jura

Emmanuel Houillon of Maison Pierre Overnoy – a modest star you are bound to meet at Le Nez dans le Vert. ©Mick Rock

I will not be able to attend this year as we will still be far away, however, it is likely that my books will be available to purchase through Méta Jura (publishers of the Château-Chalon book and La Parole de Pierre). I cannot commend this show to you more highly – there’s a wonderful atmosphere, a great organic lunch and the chance to schmooze with some of the legends of the Jura in their home region.

Jura Wine Trade Events in North America and London
April and May

This year the CIVJ (Jura promotional body) together with 15 – 20 wine producers will be presenting their wines to the wine trade and media in Vancouver (April 13), Seattle (April 14) and San Francisco (April 16). The CIVJ seems not to have any budget or space for me to join them despite me planning to be in the U.S. at this time, however I will likely be presenting wines and my book elsewhere in the U.S. – watch this space.

In London, the date set for this year’s trade and media tasting is Tuesday 5 May. Details of the event will be announced later. I will be there having returned from our travels a few days earlier.

Fab Reviews and a Very Special Offer for the Ebook

The Jura Wine book has had a spate of wonderful reviews in the past few months and was selected by both Eric Asimov in the New York Times and by the reviewer for JancisRobinson.com as one of their “Books of the Year”. I am delighted to say that it has also been short-listed in the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2014 – the winners will be announced at the end of March. I’m very proud.

Jura Pétillant Naturel

One of my favourite Mick Rock photos from our Jura Wine book shoot… Philippe Bornard’s cat is as curious as the rest of us.

The Ebook is now available in Kindle form or ePub form for iBooks and other tablets. The links and obvious places to buy them are on Amazon or iTunes. However, for a limited time until 30 April 2015, I can offer a 50% discount, especially for readers of this blog, if you buy direct from YPD Books. Simply input the code ‘offer50’ (without the inverted commas) when you pay. Once you’ve paid, you can download to your device. Note, this code is NOT available for use on Amazon or iTunes – with YPD Books I do not have to pay commission. Please ensure that you order the correct version!

Kindle Version or iBook (ePub) Version:

Remaining copies of the printed book are diminishing steadily – there are only a few hundred left. You may wish to order a copy if you haven’t got one already and pass on the word to those  who hesitate…  I cannot guarantee there will be a second edition or a reprint.

Sorting Trousseau at Domaine Daniel Dugois. ©Mick Rock

Sorting Trousseau at Domaine Daniel Dugois. ©Mick Rock

The 2014 Vintage in Brief

Not being in Europe, it is impossible for me to assess the vintage personally, but most growers are happy overall with 2014. Volumes were normal, thank goodness after the small 2012 and very small 2013 vintages. The biggest downside was that some producers lost much of their Ploussard/Poulsard due to the nasty Drosophila suzukii bug that rampaged through parts of Europe’s vineyards last August/September.

And Finally – a Wonderful Sydney Experience

We spent New Year with a good wine friend, Rob Geddes MW, who writes the comprehensive Gold Book, an annual guide to Australian wines. He kindly set up a Jura tasting for wine trade/media during our visit. Wines were provided by Greg Murphy (above) and by Randall Pollard of Heart and Soil, and Andrew Guard Wine Imports, all of whom I’d like to thank – see the Australian stockists page for their details.

All set for a tasting around the book ... in an unlikely Jura setting. © Brett Jones

All set for a tasting around the book … in an unlikely Jura setting in Sydney. © Brett Jones

It was a wonderful tasting of 16 wines – especially enjoyable for us, having not tasted any Jura wines for more than three months! Highlights included Stéphane Tissot’s 2013 Poulsard, Hughes-Béguet 2012 So True (Trousseau), two wonderful Julien Labet whites – the 2012 Fleur de Savagnin and 2012 Chardonnay La Bardette. The latter along with Les Dolomies 2010 Chardonnay Les Boutonniers were still tasting fabulous two days later (despite less than 20% remaining in the bottle, and kept in a warm room too!). A highlight in the oxidative selection was Jacques Puffeney’s 2007 Vin Jaune, very young of course and also tasting better a few days later. He made his last vintage in 2014 so it was fairly emotional drinking this.

All images shown on this post, except the last, are by Mick Rock, who now has a fantastic collection of Jura wine photos – ranging from producer portraits to ancient cellars, and from Comté cheese to stunning vineyard landscapes. Do visit Cephas Picture Library and recommend him to anyone who needs Jura wine region pictures for professional use.

Categories: Events and Tastings, News | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Domaine Buronfosse

Over in Auckland where I’m based at present, there are very few Jura wines available, in fact there are very few French wines from the smaller appellations. It is not surprising really with such a tiny population and such an important wine production in its own country. It’s worth remembering that only ten years ago, there were hardly any Jura wines to be found anywhere outside the Franche-Comté region. Even Paris had little choice.

However, Auckland has one specialist French importer and retailer, Maison Vauron, who does wave the flag for the Jura, having imported a few wines from Stéphane Tissot for several years. I went to see them recently and they told me that they were thinking about adding one more Jura producer to their range and asked me what I thought about Domaine Buronfosse, as one of the partners had been particularly impressed with a Savagnin Ouillé from them.

Based in the far south of the region, in the Sud Revermont – an area best known for its white wines – located in the same hamlet as Domaine Ganevat, Peggy Buronfosse has been quietly building up her wine estate and now her husband Jean-Pascal has joined her. Their reputation for white wines has grown considerably and I find it really exciting that some of their wines will arrive in New Zealand soon.

So, here is the next producer profile excerpt from the book – you have bought the book, haven’t you?? You won’t find the book on Amazon.com (only on Amazon.co.uk) because I couldn’t stand giving them the huge commission they require. But in case you need it you will find the Jura Wine book stockists on this page, along with a few reviews.

Jura Domaine Buronfosse

Jean-Pascal and Peggy Buronfosse outside their home ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Peggy Buronfosse cannot quite get over the fact that her wines are available in trendy New York wine shops and restaurants. She embraces it, but is humble at the same time. Neither she nor her husband Jean-Pascal set out to be vignerons, but they did fervently wish to put down roots and farm somewhere. They landed in the sleepy hamlet of La Combe below Rotalier. Originally from the cities of Lyon and St-Etienne, today whatever this couple do, together with their children, is a lifestyle choice, and however hard the work is they seem to love the various aspects of producing wine.

Entredeux Savagnin Ouillé Buronfosse ©Mick Rock

Domaine Buronfosse Côtes du Jura Entre-Deux is a Savagnin Ouillé, but not stated on the label ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Both Peggy and Jean-Pascal trained in agriculture and their plan was simply to find jobs, keep some animals, have a vegetable garden and source as much of their own food as possible while bringing up their family. Jean-Pascal worked as a teacher in the Lons agricultural college, and vivacious Peggy (or ‘La Peggy’ as she’s known locally) worked in the vineyards for Domaine Joly and got to know her neighbour Jean-François Ganevat. The vine bug hit her and in 2000 Raymond Pageault, an 80-year-old local vigneron who had heard about her, decided that ‘La Peggy’ was the one to take over his steep vineyards. He persuaded the couple to rent his parcels of old vines and their challenge started. Although originally Peggy had to use herbicide, that soon changed and she started, with Jean-Pascal’s help, hoeing the vineyards by hand with the aim of being completely organic. Official conversion started in 2007. Now, having taken on a few more vineyards, they have plots predominating in marl, limestone and schist, mainly in Rotalier and St-Laurent de Grandvaux. To fulfil a long-held wish, they are making plans to get a horse for the family and hope to train it to work in the vineyards.

After a struggle at the start, by the 2004 vintage they were beginning to find private clients through wine shows and wine clubs, and the media began to notice as well. Typically for the Sud Revermont, the emphasis is on whites, but inspired more by Ganevat and Labet than by Joly – the modern Rotalier–Burgundian style. They have several stylish ouillé Chardonnay cuvées, all distinctly different according to their terroir, plus a blend, Belemnites, and a tangy Savagnin ouillé called Entre-Deux; all spend around 18 months in barrel. A first Jaune was released in 2005, there is a tiny amount of red and an exquisite non-approved Vin de Paille named Epicure. Latterly a beautifully pure Chardonnay Crémant has been added to the range.

Buronfosse sign ©Mick RockThis is a venture that remains small and will continue to be so. Although Jean-Pascal gave up his teaching job in 2013 and joined Peggy to work on the domaine, they have no wish to expand the vineyards beyond around 4ha. Their beautiful labels are from paintings by Jean-Pascal’s brother-in-law and reflect the wines and the terroir. These are smiling, thinking people and it shines through in their wines.

Domaine Buronfosse, 2 La Serpentine, La Combe, 39190 Rotalier
Tel: 03 84 25 05 09
Email: buronfossepjp@orange.fr
Contacts: Peggy and Jean-Pascal Buronfosse
Established: 2000
Vineyards: 4ha (Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Pinot Noir, Trousseau, mainly white)
Certification: Ecocert
Visits: Tasting room, visits welcomed by appointment

Categories: Jura Wine book excerpts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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