French Jura Wines : (1) The vinegrapes

« Wine is the most civilized thing in the world. »  Ernest HEMINGWAY (1899-1961)

Displaying an exceptional range of aromas and flavours, Jura wines are made with five different grapes varieties. This five varieties express themselves ever so subtly depending of the lie of the land, the specific microclimate and the delicate blends crafted between them. Each variety of vinestock has its own features: shape of leaves and grape bunches, colour of grapes when ripe, composition of fruit, etc. Variety is one of the main sources of a wine’s characteristics and personality: its taste, aromas and appearance, and the acids, tannins and alcohol it contains. The Jura’s vineyards are home to two white grape varieties (Chardonnay and Savagnin) and three red grape varieties (Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir). Two are typically Jurassian: Savagnin and Poulsard. These six varieties, used both as varietals and in blends, yield a diverse array of wines: red, white, still and sparkling. 


Chardonnay originated in Burgundy but has been grown in the Jura since the 10th  century. It adapts easily, making the most widespread grape variety. Found on light, limestone soils. It produces floral white wines flagrant with citrus fruits, peaches, white flowers, but also roasted hazelnuts or almonds when blended with Savagnin. 

Typical of the Jura region, Savagnin grows on soils of gray marls and ripens slowly. Demanding and patient, it is ideal for oxidative ageing under a film of yeast known as the voile, or veil. It produces powerful whites, with complex aromas of fresh butter, undergrowth, almonds, walnuts and spices. In toppled up barrels, it displays mineral notes of lemon and white flowers.

The ancient native grape variety, also called Poulsard, thrives in strong soils of marl or clay. It’s the second most widespread variety after Chardonnay. Its thin-skinned with white juice produce fresh and pleasant wines with hints of small red fruits and a surprising light ruby colour.

Often used in blends for its gustatory and aging properties, Pinot noir can also be enjoyed on its own. Planted in gravely soils since the 15th century, it’s often the first to ripen. It produces bright red wines with notes of undergrowth, smoked wood, cherry and wild fruit.

A demanding late-harvest grape native of the Comté region, Trousseau requires lighter, gravelly, warm soils. Once vilified, It develops intense peppery, spicy flavours and hints of red fruits.

Next column :   French Jura Wines : (2) The gold of Jura  

More with    Vins du Jura



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