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.

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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

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Domaine de la Cybelline (Benoît Royer)

Even though very recent, in some ways the intensive year of research visits and writing that I undertook to prepare the Jura Wine book seem long ago and the region far away as I write from Auckland where I’m based for a few months.

However, there are several distinct highlights that don’t leave me – watching vigneron Benoît Royer and his beautiful mare Kigali working hard ploughing his old Poulsard vineyard in Mesnay is one of them. Benoît’s kindness in allowing us to come along and photograph the two of them at very short notice during our photo shoot for the book was typical of the man.

This latest extract from the book features Benoît’s Domaine de la Cybelline, a tiny organic estate whose wines seem to crop up in the most unexpected places, including on the spectacular wine list of one of the world’s most famous restaurants, Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Producers like Benoît are part of what makes the Jura a big deal as I explained in a recent piece for the on-line magazine Wine Searcher, for whom I am temporarily working as Acting Editor.

Horse plowing Jura vineyard

Kigali with her owner Benoît Royer in his steep, old Poulsard vineyard in Mesnay   © Mick Rock/Cephas

‘Allez ma belle, marche, marche . . .’ (‘Come on, walk on, my lovely . . .’). The words that Benoît Royer says to encourage his Comtois mare Kigali while ploughing the vineyards seem to echo from another age, when horses were routinely used to work the vineyards. Today Benoît and Kigali work his tiny, steep, densely planted old Poulsard vineyard in Mesnay as well as a couple of other vineyards, usually close-planted, including Claude Buchot’s in Maynal. This is just one of several jobs that Benoît does, along with teaching biology and viticulture on the organic wine production course at the Lons college and running his very small wine estate.

Benoît originally wanted to be a veterinary surgeon, but ended up studying oenology at Dijon. From Arbois, his parents were not involved in wine, although his uncles had vineyards. After work experience in Burgundy Benoît worked for five years at Domaine de la Pinte before setting up on his own. He took on old vineyards in Mesnay and Molamboz in AOC Arbois and a younger one in Buvilly, classified AOC Côtes du Jura, starting conversion to organics right away, and later took on a parcel in Poligny to plant.

Cibellyne Jura vigneron

Domaine de la Cibellyne in Mesnay © Brett Jones

Over the few years he has made wine in the small cellar under his house yields have fluctuated wildly, often being too low to be economic, partly because some vineyards, mostly those with younger vines, previously chemically managed, did not convert easily to organics. Benoît has now relinquished the Buvilly vineyards so that he can manage the estate better on his own.

Most of his wines are blends and in recent years there have been various cuvées from different blends and plots. He is a skilful and thoughtful winemaker and results are deliciously simple and elegant in style. Reds are usually made using punch-downs in stainless steel, some small oak ageing, and judicious amounts of SO2.

The whites start off in tank and then move into oak, mostly topped up, though he has dabbled with sous voile when he has enough volume and in 2005 he made a Vin Jaune. He makes both white Macvin and red Macvin (the latter not every year) and stresses the importance of ageing longer than the minimum time in oak as well as using juice from good ripe fruit.

With his wines on some of the best restaurant wine lists in Scandinavia, Benoît’s estate epitomizes the ‘small is beautiful’ approach, and now, with an even smaller domaine, life should get easier for him.

Domaine de la Cibellyne
1 Rue Bernarde, 39600 Mesnay
Tel: 03 84 66 29 71
Email: ben.royer@wanadoo.fr
Contact: Benoît Royer
Established: 2004
Vineyards: 2ha (1.2ha white, 0.8ha red)
Certification: Ecocert
Visits: No tasting room, but visits welcomed by appointment

I shall be visiting the Jura again in early September, leading a trip for generous Kickstarter supporters, so will try to report from there on harvest prospects. Immediately after I will be attending the Louis Roederer Wine Writing Awards award ceremony in London before returning to Auckland for a further six months.

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Jura Wine Book Shortlisted for Prestigious Award

Roederer Wine Writers Awards ShortlistI am proud to announce that my book ‘Jura Wine’ has been shortlisted for the prestigious award of Louis Roederer International Wine Book of the Year in the 10th International Wine Writers’ Awards 2014.

The International Wine Book of the Year 2014 is sponsored by Domaines Faiveley.

Judges for all the categories in competition were Jamie Goode, Robert Joseph, Gabriella Opaz and Margaret Rand, chaired by Charles Metcalfe.

It is a real honour to be included on this list with the other four books which are as follows:

The Champagne Guide 2014-2015
by Tyson Stelzer

Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and sparkling wine
by Tom Stevenson & Essi Avellan MW

The New California Wine
by Jon Bonné

The World Atlas of Wine 7th Edition
by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson OBE MW

The winner will be announced at a special event for all the Louis Roederer Wine Writers’ Awards in London on Tuesday 9 September 2014.

Read the article on Wine-Searcher for more details on the awards.

If you haven’t yet purchased the book, check out the reviews and the book stockists soon as stocks are going down … There will be an e-book in the next month or so, so look out for that, however it won’t look half as good as the printed book and will not be heavily discounted either.

Thanks are due once again to all who encouraged me to write the book, supported its publication, purchased it in advance or bought it more recently, as well as everyone who helped me so much in its production. Thanks too to all the Jura vignerons and their wines, without whom there would, of course, be no book.

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