Posts Tagged With: Le Nez dans Le Vert

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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Book offer and Tasting Dates for the Diary

Exciting news – the Jura Wine book is at the printer now and will be available at the end of March. It’s looking great and I am very happy with it. Do not miss the special offer to pre-order with a 10% discount and free delivery in Europe (£5 outside), which runs until the end of Wednesday 5th March.

Kickstarter supporters will receive their books first, then those who pre-ordered. It’s the fastest way to receive the book as it will not be available on Amazon right away. After 5th March, the price will go up to normal cover price. Pre-order the book at Wine Travel Media.

The final tally was 352 pages with 146,000 words and 253 images including original maps, explanatory diagrams and some stunning photography by Mick Rock and others. There are profiles of 100 Jura wine producers, a wealth of solid information along with historical and current stories of the people who matter in the region. There has never been such a comprehensive book on Jura wine in any language.

Jura wine book

The final contents of Jura Wine by Wink Lorch

Jura Wine tastings around the world with and without me!

BUDAPEST 2nd March: This weekend I am at the VinCE wine event at the Corinthia Hotel in lovely Budapest. I shall be presenting eight Jura wines in a workshop this Sunday at 1.30pm – if you happen to be nearby there are some tickets left and it is a great show to come to anyway. I have prepared a Powperpoint that includes many photos from the book, so hopefully Jura Life by Powerpoint rather than the usual ‘death by Powerpoint’.

LE NEZ DANS LE VERT, Gevingey, Jura 23rd and 24th March: The annual tasting of the organic growers in the Jura takes place this year in the south of the region in Gevingey in the Sud Revermont, just south of Lons-le-Saunier. This will be my first appearance WITH the book, signing and selling them, and I’m very excited about this. Hoping also to sneak off to taste some of the wonderful wines with around 30 producers, including a couple of new ones.

USA/CANADA 14th – 17th April: Eighteen Jura producers will be travelling to the USA and Canada for professional trade tastings held in Chicago (14th) New York (15th), Montreal (16th) and Toronto (17th). Details and invitations from Vincent Lafortune of Quebec. I will post more information regarding invitations when I have it.
As yet, I am not due to attend these tastings for book signings, although I would like to attend, the logistics and costs are proving difficult.

LONDON/UK 14th May: Hang out the flags! London is yet again honoured with a trade tasting of Jura wines and I will be conducting seminars and signing/selling my books too. It will be organised by Mandarin Communications and more details will emerge soon. So, please save the date and I look forward to seeing you there.

I should be coming to Hamburg at the end of April/early May to conduct a Jura tasting and if possible I would like to link this with a tasting and book signing in Copenhagen (get in touch if you can help). Amsterdam in early June is possible too. More details as they emerge.

See you soon for a taste of Jura wine and thank you for your support! In the meantime, here is an amateur video I shot when I received the colour proofs of the book…

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

Only one word to describe the 2013 vintage

You won’t usually hear wine public relations or marketing people use the word ‘catastrophe’ either in English or French, but I am beginning to wonder whether the meaning is subtly different in contemporary French. In the past few weeks I have heard the word used by the smallest and the largest, and by both the most insular and the most worldly of Jura producers to describe the 2013 vintage. They are usually pretty honest with me, but this seems extreme.

Saint Vernier

Saint Vernier, patron saint of Jura vignerons, must have taken time off in 2013 ©Wink Lorch

‘Cata’ is short for ‘catastrophe’, and when pronounced in French either ‘CaTa’ or ‘catastroff’ with the emphasis on the ‘stroff’ it comes over with some impact. This shocking word was used by Stéphane Tissot when I spoke to him on his mobile phone on his last day of harvest this year on 14 October. Then last Monday I heard it several times from organic producers, both established and relatively new, in Paris for Le Nez dans le Vert trade tasting, even though they all wore a brave little smile. Then I spoke on the phone to the director of the large négociant Maison du Vigneron (part of Grands Chais de France) and tentatively asked about the harvest, couching it with ‘I know quantity is low and it hasn’t been easy, but how was….?’ And yet again ‘catastrophe’ was the answer. To be fair, a few bright souls gamely admitted that Jura was at least lucky to be spared the horrific hail storms that nearby Burgundy suffered. So, what went wrong?

A shortage?
This is not about quality but about quantity. As debates continue in the world of wine about a worldwide shortage of wine (is there or isn’t there?), amongst the most successful producers of the Jura wine world there will be a shortage of certain wines, no doubt. There have now been two seriously small harvests in a row, 2012 and 2013, which for some producers added together hardly equate to a normal harvest level. The 2011 vintage was generous, 2010 not very big, and so it goes on, with vintages more and more like a yo-yo in terms of quantity.

A very late spring
The winter 2012-2013 was long with unusual amounts of snow and spring was slow to start. At first producers were upbeat as they knew that this meant less risk of dangerous spring frost. However, when the cold continued into May, they began to get worried as the vines were hardly starting to grow. Towards the end of that month it was not only still wet, but seriously cold for the time of year.

And then the Savagnin ‘did a runner’!

I was perplexed when vignerons with a wry smile told me ‘les Savagnins ont filé’ as although I vaguely understood the verb ‘filer’ I did not know the expression ‘filer à l’Anglaise’ and I just could not relate it to vines. It turns out that ‘filer à l’Anglaise’ means the same as ‘to take French leave’ or to do a runner. Before actual flowering, the small clusters that had formed on many Savagnin vines simply fell off because of the cold. It also happened to a lesser extent with some Poulsard and Trousseau vines. Some Savagnin vines were left with no flower clusters at all (so no grapes) and others with just one or two remaining. Just a few protected or warmer vineyards escaped the problem completely.

Poulsard Jura

A reasonable crop of Poulsard at Domaine Lambert’s vineyard in Toulouse-le-Château ©Brett Jones

Eventually flowering began at the end of June/early July depending on variety, about four weeks later than in most recent years, but the weather was still not very kind and there was much coulure, and as in 2012 once again it was worst for Poulsard. With the low quantity, producers were resigned to keeping their fingers crossed that at least there would be good summer weather, and indeed there was warmth and sunshine for almost two months in July and August. Upbeat, the growers did not mind a little rain in early September, as that gives the vines a drink and increases the volumes a little, but they did need more ripening time, forecasting harvest would be spread along the whole of October.

Fête du Biou in Pupillin

The mid-September rainy Fête du Biou procession in Pupillin ©Brett Jones

Very hasty harvest
The ban de vendanges (the permission to start picking) was set for 23 September for grapes for Crémant, and a week later for still wines. Most good producers were prepared to sit it out for much longer, but then bad weather was forecast. The whole harvest was stop-start, dodging not just rain showers, but heavy downpours at times. Suddenly grey rot started appearing and looked ready to become rampant. The vignerons rushed to get the grapes in as quickly as possible, even the Savagnins that are usually hardy enough to be left for much longer had to be brought in rapidly. Most finished picking by 12 October or soon after, and of course they had to be selective too, but there was so little quantity to pick, at least they could do it quickly.

Vin de Paille

Only a very few boxes of grapes were drying for Vin de Paille at Domaine Bourdy ©Brett Jones

The final tally is usually given as an average yield per hectare. An average yield for the co-operatives and large producers would be 55-60 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha), sometimes more than this for those who pick a lot of grapes for Crémant du Jura where yields may be higher. Both the  Fruitière des Vignerons d’Arbois (co-operative) and the Maison du Vigneron averaged somewhere between 30 and 35hl/ha taking into account Crémant. As for most of the organic and other producers who aim to achieve more flavour concentration through lower yields, practicing shorter pruning and bud-rubbing, they ended up with between 10 and 25hl/ha but most were well below 20hl/ha.

Quality is fine, just hardly any wine
Because there was relatively little mildew this year, the quality has ended up as fairly good overall – most producers are saying it was better for reds, but Chardonnay suffered with some rot, and there was so little Savagnin it hardly counts (5hl/ha for some vineyards).

Especially for the many small, quality-minded young producers who have set up in the past five years, this situation is really hard. Many have found keen customers both at home and on export markets eager to buy their wines, but they now can offer no follow-on for certain cuvées. It has to be said that this is exacerbated by the current Jura trend to offer a huge range of cuvées (several producers have upwards of 20 different wines even owning just 5ha of vineyards or less), but that is part of the joy of Jura.

There is absolutely nothing they can do except make the best quality wines they can manage, and hope that financially they can make it through the next few months. Nature usually regularizes things and after particularly small vintages, the vine is ready to produce a bumper crop the following year. Many vignerons thought that this would be the case after the small 2012 vintage, but in fact 2013 was worse – they simply cannot afford to have another poor vintage in terms of quantity, or indeed quality. To avoid an even bigger catastrophe we have to all think positive thoughts for 2014.

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International Jura wine news for early spring 2013

Hampered so often by either snowy or very wet weather these first months of the year, if only they could finish the pruning the Jura producers would surely have a spring in their step. Positive news stories abound especially for those who export. Looking at statistics for year ending July 2012, exports had reached 7 per cent, the highest ever figure.

Marquis d'Angerville

Marquis Guillaume d’Angerville and oenologist François Duvivier ©Wink Lorch

Burgundians create Domaine du Pélican
Last month I was among the first outsiders to taste from barrel the future Domaine du Pélican wines from Montigny-les-Arsures in the Arbois AOC. This is the new venture from the highly respected Volnay estate Domaine Marquis d’Angerville who purchased ten hectares of vines last year. Its first wines are therefore from 2012, mostly Chardonnay and Savagnin, but with some reds too. The quality is looking really good and I was able to share the news with subscribers to Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages. Here is a link to the PDF of the article headed “A (famous) new name in Jura” where you can read all about the background to the purchase and prospects for the estate.

First Jura wine tasting for professionals in London
On the 14th May the first ever Jura tasting will be held for wine trade and press in Central London, the venue will be confirmed soon. Hosted by the CIVJ, the regional wine promotion organisation of Jura, there will be 25 producers attending. These range from a couple of very large producers with no current UK importers, through to some well-known names imported in a small way, overall a good selection of excellent estates big and small. On the provisional list, I can count at least ten producers who work organically or are in conversion. I will be there, conducting a masterclass during the event and will post more details on a page here, when details shape up.

Nez dans le Vert logoThird edition of Le Nez dans le Vert
Back in the region, the organic wine producers’ fair Le Nez dans le Vert will be taking place again at Domaine de la Pinte just outside Arbois on Sunday 23rd March (consumers) and Monday 24th March (trade). This year the fair has 34 producers, including some newcomers, and some who are newly converting to organic viticulture, a pre-requisite for showing wines at the fair. Amongst the new converts are two Pupillin growers who I’m delighted to see there, Jean-Michel Petit of Domaine de la Renardière and Julien Mareschal of Domaine de la Borde, who I wrote about, highlighting him as a new young grower in the region, for Wine Report, way back in the 2006 edition. Details of all the producers  and the event are shown on the official Nez dans le Vert website.

Discover Jura Wine – The Book
Just a reassurance here that I’m working hard on my Jura book, which will be named Discover Jura Wine, with a sub-title still to be finalised. I will be launching a Kickstarter project in the next couple of weeks to raise funds for a really professional publishing job, and this will serve also to create more awareness and provide even stronger motivation for me too. I am currently juggling with writing the book, some other much-needed work, and writing all too occasional blog posts, which of course also benefit the book. Do take a look at  the wine information pages on this site – I have recently added one on Crémant du Jura. I would love your support in spreading the word about my future book and raising funds for it too – the link above goes to my Kickstarter profile.

And finally… the 1774 turns up in London!
I discovered by chance that the bottle of 1774 Arbois Vin Jaune, auctioned by Christie’s last year (or it could be the other one, but I doubt it… still to be confirmed) is alive, well and awaiting a buyer in the locked vault of Hedonism Wines. This very new shop in Mayfair, London opened last year and appears from reports to be the ultimate expensive wine store. The centuries-old Jura wine is yours for just £72,000. My advice: yes, it will be an extraordinary, hedonistic experience, but honestly you could consider pledging just over 1% of that to my Kickstarter project, and receive a personalized tasting from me plus my book of course, as a ‘reward’. Watch this space for details.

Categories: Events and Tastings, News | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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