Found in eastern France, the Jura wine region is a hidden gem offering a delightful array of unique wines and picturesque landscapes. Despite its relatively small size, the Jura region boasts a rich winemaking history dating back to ancient times. This lesser-known area is gaining recognition among oenophiles worldwide, thanks to its distinctive winemaking techniques and a diverse range of grape varieties that flourish in its diverse microclimates. A great book on the region is Jura Wine (with local food and travel tips) by Wink Lorch.
Geography and Climate
The Jura wine region is located between the larger wine regions of Burgundy and Switzerland, stretching along the Jura Mountains. The vineyards are planted on terraced slopes that offer ideal sun exposure and drainage for the vines. The Jura's climate is continental, but it also experiences influences from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, leading to unique climatic variations across the region. The French wine from this terroir has unique characteristics.
One of the standout features of Jura wines is the use of indigenous grape varieties, some of which are rarely found elsewhere. You can buy wine online from the best wine store California, Bottle Barn. Among the white grapes, Chardonnay is the most widely planted, producing fresh and elegant wines. Savagnin is another notable variety, famous for being used in the production of Vin Jaune, a wine aged under a layer of yeast known as "flor," resulting in a unique nutty and oxidative profile. Trousseau and Poulsard are the prominent red grape varieties grown in the region, each contributing to the creation of light, fruity, and aromatic red wines. In recent years, some winemakers have also experimented with international grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Merlot.
The Jura region is renowned for its traditional winemaking methods, often practiced with a deep respect for heritage. One of the most exceptional techniques used in the production of Vin Jaune involves aging the wine in oak barrels for a minimum of six years and three months. This process allows the wine to develop complex flavors, and the oxidative aging gives it a distinctive character reminiscent of sherry that you will taste when you order wine delivery. Another unique winemaking technique in Jura is the use of the "ouillé" method, where the barrels are regularly topped up to minimize the exposure to oxygen, resulting in fresher, fruitier wines that retain more of their primary aromas.
Styles of Jura Wines
Jura wines offer a diverse range of styles that cater to different preferences and occasions. Vin Jaune, as mentioned earlier, is a true masterpiece, boasting intense aromas of nuts, dried fruits, and spices. Its aging potential is impressive, making it a perfect collector's item for those with a passion for aged wines.
Vin de Paille, or straw wine, is another fascinating style produced in Jura. This sweet wine is made by drying the grapes on straw mats to concentrate their sugars before pressing. The result is a lusciously sweet and complex wine with flavors of honey, dried fruits, and nuts.
For those seeking lighter options, the region's Crémant du Jura offers sparkling wines crafted through traditional methods, providing an excellent alternative to Champagne. The sparkling wines from Jura often exhibit crispness and finesse, ideal for celebrations and gatherings. The Jura wine region also produces delightful still wines, both white and red, that showcase the unique terroir and grape varieties of the area. These wines are known for their purity and distinct character, which sets them apart from wines produced in other regions.
Jura is not only a treat for wine enthusiasts but also for travelers looking to explore a serene and picturesque destination. The vineyards' terraced landscapes, combined with charming villages and historical sites, make for an enchanting experience. Many wineries welcome visitors for tastings and tours, providing insight into their winemaking traditions and offering an opportunity to purchase some of their exquisite creations. In addition to the wineries, the region's cuisine perfectly complements the wines, with local dishes featuring regional ingredients that pair harmoniously with Jura's diverse wine offerings.
In all, France’s Jura wine region is a remarkable place for French wine lovers seeking something distinctive and off the beaten path. With its traditional winemaking techniques, unique grape varieties, and stunning landscapes, Jura has all the elements to captivate the hearts of both seasoned oenophiles and curious explorers alike. Whether you're sipping Vin Jaune or perhaps strolling through the vineyard-dotted hills, Jura promises an unforgettable wine experience that will leave a lasting impression on your palate and your memories.