Posts Tagged With: Château-Chalon

New summer wine festival for the Jura

Jura wine festivalIf you are in France, or perhaps on your way there this week, you might like to take a detour to the Jura wine region this weekend. A new festival, named Jura Grains de Folie, takes place from Friday 8th – Sunday 10th June with numerous activities around the theme of wine, aimed at offering events for all the family.

This is a rare chance to find many Jura wine cellar doors wide open for visitors without appointment, usually with added attractions like a jazz band, an art exhibition or meals available. Local restaurants join in the fun, offering special menus, often with a free glass of Jura wine. Horse and carriage rides, bouncy castles, archery and more are available to keep the family entertained. A pass costing €12 for 1 day, €20 for 2 days or €25 for all three days gives free entry to most of the events.

Friday’s focus is in the south of the region, near Lons-le-Saunier, including the pretty wine village of l’Etoile, home to the top producers of Château de Montbourgeau and Philippe Vandelle. At the village of Orbagna in the south you will find a group of producers including the excellent organic growers Champs Divin and Domaine Buronfosse offering tastings and a country lunch.

Jura vineyards

Vineyards below Château-Chalon ©Wink Lorch

On Saturday it’s the turn of the middle section of the region including events at Arlay and at the beautiful hilltop village of Château-Chalon. In Arlay, it’s worth visiting Caves Jean Bourdy, where their fascinating museum will be open to all, as well as their conservatory of old vines and in Château-Chalon a whole raft of craft activities will be happening alongside wine tasting of course. In the town of Poligny, heartland of Comté cheese, there will be cooking and cheese-making demonstrations.

Centre of Arbois

The centre of Arbois, dolled up for a festival ©Wink Lorch

Sunday, Arbois and its surrounding villages in the north of the region get their turn. Activities include music at Domaine de la Pinte, a guided tour around the cellars of Arbois by Cave de la Reine Jeanne, a geological tour of Montigny-les-Arsures, a picnic at Domaine Dugois, and crêpes available in the streets of Pupillin where six wine cellars are open for tasting including the excellent Domaine de la Renardière and Domaine de la Borde.

It seems there is crossover on most days too, with the whole region offering activities all weekend. The programme is in French only, but you can download it here. I’m not able to go, so if you get a chance to attend, please do report back to me in the comments or directly. It sounds like a whole lot of fun.

For many more ideas of which producers to visit, and where to stay, eat and shop in the Jura, do take a look at Wine Travel Guides.

Categories: Events and Tastings | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Jura wines resemble their owners

The recent wine fairs in London along with the Jura organic tasting that I hosted for bloggers, gave a chance to taste Jura wines out of context, always a different experience to tasting in the region. Wines from Jura already show so many facets in terms of the many wine styles made, and increasingly I find that, even more than in other regions, the wines reflect their makers, somewhat like dogs resembling their owners.

Wines from six producers were available to taste in London recently over the three fairs, RAW (The  Artisan Wine Fair), the Real Wine Fair and the professionals-only London International Wine Fair (LIWF).  At my Jura tasting evening I shared three or four wines from each of the five producers showing at the RAW and Real fairs, with three of the producers present and was able to taste further wines on their stands at the fairs.

Maison du Vigneron – Playing a vital role
At LIWF I tasted four wines from estates owned in Jura by Grand Chais de France, one of the biggest wine companies in France, and indeed in the Jura. As Henri Maire’s influence in the region wanes, the role of this producer is important, especially for those growers who are not part of a cooperative and need to sell their grapes (some of these use part of their crop to make their own wines, others none). La Maison du Vigneron (Grands Chais’ Jura business) produces a large amount of very decent Crémant du Jura under various labels (including Marcel Cabelier, and Pierre Michel in the UK), and they are the biggest exporter of the region. For their Crémants most grapes are purchased, but the company also owns several estates, and may well invest in others in future.

Vin JauneThe two established estates are Domaine de Quillot and Domaine de Savagny. From the latter I tasted a Chardonnay, a Poulsard and a Vin de Paille, all AOC Côtes du Jura. They were well balanced wines, long and typical for the southern part of the Jura region, very sound, like a familiar labrador. The standout wine was the sublime Château-Chalon 2002 (a vintage I love for Vins Jaunes) from a family estate that Maison du Vigneron purchased quite recently, Domaine Durand Perron. I have yet to find out what plans they have for this estate, but having visited the vineyards a few years ago with the owner, I would say potential is very high.

Jura in the Raw and The Real Deal
I hope that the five organic Jura producers at RAW and REAL felt their time in London was well spent, as it was great to see them here. On the page where I described the London organic Jura wine evening (which will stay on this site) I have profiled each one briefly, and here are some thoughts about their wines, as they tasted in London this month.

Bruno Ciofi at RAW ©Wink Lorch

The most traditional of the five was Domaine de la Pinte, and at the tasting its two oxidative wines, the Cuvée Automne (a Savagnin/Chardonnay blend) and the Arbois Vin Jaune 2004 reflected its substantial plantings of Savagnin and good cellar conditions for maturing these wines. But, I sense general manager Bruno Ciofi is champing at the bit (do dogs do that?), and I think this estate will progress and innovate in the future. Their wines were, I heard, much appreciated at the recent trade tastings in Chicago and Canada.


Jean-Etienne Pignier with Fabio and Wink at Adiva ©Brett Jones

Jean-Etienne Pignier was let off the leash for his trip to London and it was fun to meet a member of this conservative family, away from home, so full of energy, bounce and optimism! Stars in our tasting were the Crémant and a gorgeous Vin de Paille (always one of my favourites of this style), but also I know many who went to RAW mentioned the GPS, a no-sulphur-added vineyard blend of Chardonnay (which in Jura used to be called Gamay Blanc), Poulsard and Savagnin. Domaine Pignier has begun to seek out more markets, and I will be excited to see this estate find a UK importer, having recently begun exporting to the USA.

Domaine de l'Octavin

Alice Bouvot at REAL ©Brett Jones

Charles Dagand and Alice Bouvot are, relatively speaking, the puppies of the group and their somewhat cloudy Domaine de l’Octavin wines appealed to the new generation of natural wine lovers in London. Of the wines at our tasting, the Savagnin 2011 had a grape juice purity and lightness about it that many enjoyed, more suitable perhaps for a picnic à deux in a long grassy meadow than with Turkish/Lebanese food in a dark, dusky restaurant. Their Pet’Nat frothy sparkling, named The Péteux which they had on show at RAW is on sale at the little, trendy wine shop and Jura champion 259 Hackney Road.

Bornard of Jura

Philippe Bornard with friend at REAL ©Arnold Waldstein

Up to now, the wines of Philippe Bornard have been somewhat of an enigma to me, but the distinctive fox labels seem to have travelled well to London, and Philippe (the terrier of the group?) had a winning smile on his face at RAW as well he might. The three wines at our tasting, a Poulsard, Chardonnay and Savagnin all with no added sulphur at bottling, showed depth and style on the night, as did tastes from the leftover bottles on several subsequent nights. Perhaps the terrier has made me a convert to his terroir wines.

Evelyne of Tournelle

Evelyne Clairet at REAL ©Arnold Waldstein

Finally, some sophistication in the form of the beautifully groomed Evelyne Clairet, who came to the early part of our tasting and engaged several people in conversation with her usual good grace and elegance. The Domaine de la Tournelle wines, from Evelyne and her husband Pascal, shone brightly for me at the tasting, with the irresistibly drinkable l’Uva Arbosiana Ploussard easing the stresses of the organisation of the evening, and then the lemony and mineral Savagnin being thoroughly enjoyed by several of us later with the meal. Chardonnay Les Corvées reflects its owner in its sophisticated if earthy character.

Several who attended the organic evening at the BYO Adiva Restaurant plan to post their thoughts. I shall add links here as and when they do.


Categories: Events and Tastings, Producers | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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