In 2016 the Jura went from strength to strength in terms of its wine distribution worldwide as well as its offering to tourists. Due to the latter, I get the impression that certain vignerons are inundated with requests for visits and hard-pressed to keep up with the demand on their time to host visitors. Group visits planned in advance make it easier for vignerons, and this year in October I will be leading an exciting tour, see below for details along with information about other tastings, seminars and a webinar.
Another challenging vintage
The 2016 vintage appears to have been a roller-coaster one, ending up with mixed results across the region, but considerably better than feared at the height of summer. The good news was that unlike several other French regions, Jura was almost miraculously spared from spring frost damage and there was only very localised hail damage. The bad news was the incredibly wet early summer that sent the levels of powdery mildew soaring, being too wet in some weeks for growers to even get into the vineyards to spray. Some crop was lost, especially Chardonnay; the gloriously sunny and hot July/August stopped the spread of disease but the next worry was extreme heat and drought that left growers greatly concerned as the vines shut down for a while, preventing grapes from ripening. It really was a nail-biting year, but as so often September saved the harvest bringing some essential rain near the start of the month and then fine, warm weather.
Harvest started towards the end of September for most vignerons and was extended over several weeks. In the end, the sturdy and late-ripening Savagnin did well, but reports about the other varieties are varied. Interestingly, one might expect the organic growers to have suffered most, but in 2016 it seems that wasn’t the case at all. Hard work for those using some biodynamic methods paid off, giving the vines more strength to resist the drought, even if some volume was lost to mildew. Reports from some organic growers are that they actually sprayed fewer times than their conventional colleagues. I have not yet had a chance to taste the results, but first reports are that quality overall is good. Since 2011 there seems not to have been a ‘normal’ vintage in terms of quantity and quality, even if 2015 was unquestionably of very good quality.
Wine Scholar Guild embraces Jura education
Last year I conducted a one-hour webinar, called ‘Jura Ins & Outs’ for the burgeoning Wine Scholar Guild (formerly The French Wine Society). Usually only available for members of the Wine Scholar Guild, they have now made it free to view on YouTube.
This is in advance of two other events for them this year. Firstly, I shall be hosting a second webinar all about the producers and important people of Jura past and present on Wednesday 1st March – Jura Who’s Who … if you are a member of the Wine Scholar Guild, then do please join me online live and then you can ask questions.
And, the very exciting news is that I will be leading an exclusive 4-day Jura Wine study tour for the Wine Scholar Guild (but open also to non-members) in October. We will stay at the prestigious Hotel Château de Germigny, including two meals at its excellent 1-star Michelin restaurant. The details of the itinerary are on the link, but I should warn you that these are provisional – I hope to include as many fascinating producers possible in the time, but the choice will be restricted to those who can host a group of 15 people, so the very small, time-pressed vignerons are not included. Do spread the word among Jura wine lover friends – I know there are many who have been waiting for an opportunity to join a guided tour and this will be a very special one. My partner, Brett Jones, aka The Wine Maestro, will be accompanying me and the group as tour leader. Together we will ensure everyone gets the most out of the intensive visits, the tour around the region and the meals – and he is sure to take some great pictures too.
The annual tasting show for over 40 of Jura’s organically-certified vignerons is back this year at Domaine de la Pinte, just outside Arbois. If you are connected to the trade or press, you can attend on the somewhat quieter Monday morning, followed by a wonderful lunch with all the vignerons. Otherwise, for consumers it’s still well worth attending on the Sunday, when the tasting is open all day.
Do read my post about the 2016 edition of the Nez dans le Vert tasting. I will not know until closer to the date if I can attend, but let me know privately if you are coming – I will bring some books to sell and to sign of course!
See you in New York and Chicago!
I’m very excited to be joining a group of 18 Jura producers for the region’s annual export trade tastings in the USA, this year to be held in Chicago on Monday 3rd April and in New York on Wednesday 5th April. Each morning I shall be presenting a comprehensive seminar and tasting; the tastings then stay open in the afternoon for trade and press, and re-open in the evening for consumers. I shall be around all day and evening and my books will be available to buy (bring cash please!) and sign. Of course, if you want me to sign your previously-purchased book, do bring it along to the event. The venues will be announced soon. For futher details, please contact Allison Slute at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apart from the events above, Jura is taking somewhat a back seat for me in 2017 as I am working on my new book, Wines of the French Alps, focussing on Savoie, Bugey and other nearby French Alpine regions. If you follow this blog, please forgive a one-off email and a big social media drive next month about a Kickstarter campaign to support the publication of the new book.