Posts Tagged With: CIVJ

Good and Bad Jura News plus Wines of the French Alps

First the bad news. I am writing this with a heavy heart, feeling desperately sorry for vignerons all over the Jura wine region, many of whom have been hit with severe frost damage over the past two nights and there is another freezing night to come. My Facebook stream abounds with photos and comments from vignerons who have lost some or all of their potential 2017 crop.

Frost in Jura - April 2017 - Jerôme Genée (2)

Leaves and baby grapes attacked by frost in the Jura, April 2017. Photos above and below by Jérôme Genée.

Many people in the region suggest that this is likely to be the worst spring frost since 1991 – conservative estimates are of 45% damage, but it could be worse. What makes this a particular catastrophe is that stocks in the vignerons’ cellars are very low following a string of small vintages since 2011. And, in general, especially for Jura wineries who export, especially those who are organic, sales are booming.Frost in Jura - April 2017 - Jerôme Genée (1)

Everyone feared this sort of cold snap following several weeks of extremely warm weather, which gave early bud-break and a big growth spurt too. Until the frost, the vine development was about three weeks earlier than average. The problem is not exclusive to the Jura, but widespread in France and other northerly wine countries. It can only be hoped that nature allows what remains to mature without further catastrophe.

Excellent and varied tasting events
And now to the good news. The 7th edition of Jura’s organic wine fair Le Nez dans le Vert in late March was very well attended once again. At the official opening, joint presidents Stéphane Tissot and Jean-Etienne Pignier said that increasing numbers of Jura estates were converting to organics and that nearly 20% of the vineyard area is now organic or in conversion. Stéphane noted that it takes double the labour force to farm one hectare of organic vineyard compared to conventional and thus organic estates were providing work opportunities. Etienne commented that the Le Nez dans le Vert group of vignerons is very dynamic and helps young organic vignerons get established.

Anne Ganevat pours at Le Nez dans le Vert 2017

Anne Ganevat pours samples to eager and early-arriving trade participants at Le Nez dans le Vert. Photo by Brett Jones

As ever, it was hard to get close to some of the star vignerons for tasting, but by going very early on the morning of the trade day, I managed to taste with Anne and Jean-François Ganevat for the first time in a while. The four whites from the 2014 vintage were pristine, with the magnum of Cuvée Marguerite, the Melon à Queue Rouge showing gorgeous richness combined with vibrancy.  I loved the Plein Sud Trousseau 2015 too, although the Pinot Cuvée Julien was too volatile for my taste. With Emmanuel Houillon, I tasted his lovely lemony, 2010 Savagnin (topped-up), which is still in foudres – he plans to bottle some of this later in the year.

With Edouard Hirsinger at LNDV 2017

It might have been hard to get near the star vignerons, but I was happy just saying hello to one of France’s most famous chocolatiers – Edouard Hirsinger from Arbois. Photo by Brett Jones.

Among many other stand-out whites were two Chardonnay 2015s, one from Domaine Berthet-Bondet, made from the vineyards in Passenans that they took over from Domaine Grand, and the other, Les Soupois from Domaine Buronfosse, showing that even in that warm year, if the vines are worked well and the grapes picked at the right point that tangy Jura acidity can still be present. Two Savagnin ouillés from Pascal and Evelyne Clairet shone –  the Fleur de Savagnin 2014 was really stony and their new release 2008 Réserve, topped up in barrel for three years and then aged in bottle, was intense and fabulous. I found a bargain Savagnin Ouillé 2012 from Gérard and Christine Villet, perfectly smokey, aged in old foudres for two years, ideal to enjoy over the next few years.

Of the reds I tasted, I fell for several blends (not all AOC) including 2016s (mainly still in tank or barrel) from Domaine Labet the predominantly-Gamay Métis; Alice Bouvot’s Zerlina, which is a Pinot/Trousseau blend; and the Vieux Cépages from Raphaël Monnier (Ratapoil), all almost ready to bottle. A finished 2015 of Domaine Pignier’s Cuvée Léandre was tasting as lovely as ever and I made the discovery of Domaine Buronfosse SE KWA SA (explanation said out loud the name is ‘c’est quoi ça’ means ‘what IS that?’) a 2015 blend of classic and old Jura varieties, which I decided to grab for drinking over the next couple of years, if it lasts that long in my cellar. Finally, the only Crémant I tasted – the bone dry Brut Nature from Champ Divin, was well … divine … and we should have bought some of that too.

Jura Seminar NYC 2017

The Jura Wines seminars I delivered in Chicago and New York were full with a waiting list. Photo by Brett Jones.

Over in Chicago and New York, the atmosphere at the official CIVJ Jura trade tastings was totally different, but every bit as enthusiastic. The room was full of sommeliers and enthusiastic educators in particular, as well as retailers, and it was great to see the Jura vignerons practice their English in relaxed mode away from home. I had only a little opportunity to taste as I was delivering seminars first, then selling books, but I managed to go through almost all the Chardonnays in the room in Chicago, then chose to focus on Trousseau in New York.

The US trade mission producers were  mainly (but far from exclusively) the region’s larger ones and it was great to see a really excellent average quality shining through. One new star on the export mission for the first time, was the biodynamic Domaine Ratte – and as I had limited tasting experience with them, I tasted their 2015 range, which showed very well. The evening consumer events were fairly riotous as space was tight, but showed the ongoing enthusiasm for Jura wines in the US. Jura wines are definitely not just a fashion, they have now been around, doing well and growing in the US for almost ten years…

Pouring Savoie at Chambers Street Wines while selling Jura Wine book - April 2017

Customers at Chambers Street Wines in NYC are still fascinated by Jura and indeed buying the Jura Wine book, but also interested in the next project …

Support the Kickstarter for Jura Wine‘s Companion Volume – Wines of the French Alps
In case you’ve missed the news elsewhere, at last I am working hard on a promised second book: Wines of the French Alps – Savoie, Bugey and beyond. Wines of the French Alps CoverThe book will be in the same style as the Jura Wine book but delving, at last, into the wines of Savoie and Bugey, and covering a few smaller Alpine areas further south.

In New York, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the book, as well as providing the motivation of hundreds of people waiting for it! The campaign is doing well and is nearly 75% funded, but I hope to exceed the target – book costs are always greater than they seem. I would appreciate your support for the campaign, whether by pledging for the book or another reward or sharing the Kickstarter link among your networks. The end date is May 8th, so please act soon.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/winklorch/wines-of-the-french-alps-savoie-bugey-and-beyond

Thank you and forgive the radio silence while I write this book!

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

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