Monday, August 24, 2009

2005 Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura

Cotes du Jura Rouge is a blend of Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir that's aged for 3-4 years in oak casks. The website says 'old casks' but it could imply neutral barrels. It's recommended that this wine be decanted for 2-3 hours before enjoying. Agreed. As far as I'm aware, Bourdy's wines are imported by Thomas Calder Selections.

-salty, very nutty, some cumin, serious grip otf*, a touch of barnyard otp. this holds up incredibly well overnight---definitely softens the next day.

*shorthand - on the finish

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jean Bourdy: an ancient (delicious) domaine

Unfortunately, Bourdy's website is seulement en français, so I'm relying on scrappy Google translation. They practice biodynamically and have vineyards in Chateau-Chalon and Cotes du Jura. The Cusin family house was built around 1500.

The domaine has survived the phylloxera outbreak and both World Wars, and in 1939 a partnership between the Cusins and Jean Bourdy was formed. The winemaker is Jean Phillipe Bourdy as of 1996. Because of the age of the domaine, it has accumulated quite a collection of ancient bottles (see pic above).

A totally hearsay quote: "In a recent Jean Bourdy tasting of wines from Jura, a 1865 Jean Bourdy Chateau-Chalon (pre-Phylloxera Savignin[sic]) was opened - to which the current owner proclaimed, 'Who would have known?...we opened it too early...'"

Also, Mitchell Pressman's blog has a great post about Bourdy & Tissot.

Domaine de Montbourgeau

<-----Montbourgeau's Nicole Deviaux Domaine de Montbourgeau (mon-bore-joh), imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, was established in 1920 by Victor Gros, then developed by son Jean, a "gentleman farmer", until 1986 when his daughter Nicole Deviaux took command. Topping out at 8 ha, the domaine practices organically and harvests manually. The majority of their bottlings are chardonnay and savagnin based, but they also have some plantings of trousseau and poulsard. Nicole also produces a Crémant du Jura which probably receives the most press (100% chardonnay and a steal at under $30). There doesn't seem to be a lot about this tiny domaine out there, but I did find this link which gives a little more info on her wines and practices!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

'The Pope of Arbois': Jacques Puffeney

Puffeney dallied in winemaking and the Comté industry as a teenager before eventually becoming 'the Pope of Arbois', one of the top producers in Jura. And you can't get better accolades from Mr. Rosenthal than this: "Most Americans have never been exposed to the joys of wines from the Jura and the quite idiosyncratic characteristics of the Savagnin, Poulsard, and Trousseau grapes. Visiting this terrain through the wines of the great master, Jacques Puffeney, is the preferred way to enter this fascinating part of the world of wine."

2005 Puffeney Arbois Rouge Vieilles Vignes

2005 Puffeney Arbois Rouge Vieilles Vignes*

A blend of pinot noir, poulsard, and trousseau from his oldest vines on the lot. The important note here? This is one of the last vintages of his VV cuvee---Puffeney is actually uprooting some of these vines. 'Too old'.

-a touch nutty, sweet fruit, cherries, almost a little juicy with tight texture---definitely needs some time. big tannic finish. my personal favorite of the Jura-exclusive line-up. Somehow knowing this is one of the last of something wonderful makes it that much more valuable to me...
*vee-yay veen
(prononciation très simple)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2000 Jacques Puffeney Vin Jaune

Sure, you might stumble upon a forgetton Jura wine at the bottom of an expansive wine list while out to dinner, but a whole selection of Jura wines by-the-glass?

Barrel Thief, a Richmond, Virginia wine shop/bar/cafe,* decided to feature a practically never before seen by-the-glass program featuring solely Jura wines. They weren't popular with customers, nor easy to get a hold of. Hence, their existence being challenging and worthwhile. The newest 5+ entries are devoted to featuring those wines. Read on.

Puffeney (pew-feh-nay) is imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants. According to the MadRose website, "Puffeney usually waits 8 1/2 years to make a final determination as to whether the appropriate quality level has been reached" as opposed to the usual 6 1/2.

2000 Jacques Puffeney Vin Jaune
-toasted, honeyed walnuts, lanolin, unexpectedly tannic (heck, this is practically a baby vin jaune), the walnuts really take over otp**
*disclaimer - the author is a former manager of aforementioned BT
**shorthand - on the palate

vin jaune

Vin jaune is the pride and joy of Jura. Crafted from the grape savagnin and using a purposefully oxidizing fermentation process, the closest thing to compare to the final product is a dry sherry.

Savagnin's lineage is difficult to trace, although it's thought to be related to the traminer family. To the dismay of many an Aussie producer, genetic tests recently proved that the albariño they thought they had planted over a decade ago as an investment was, in fact, savagnin.

The process used for fermentation is called sous-voile or 'under the veil', which is very similar to the flor that is essential to sherry production. The yeast forms a tight seal over the wine and allows a certain amount of oxidation under the watchful eye of the winemaker. The voile develops over a period of 2-3 years, and by law is aged 6 years, 3 months.

The result, which is packaged in 500mL clavelins, is complex (and usually pricey) to say the least. Serve at cellar temperature, and if you're lucky enough to come across a bottle of your own, make the effort to explore the classic food pairing with Comté cheese or a poulet de Bresse, if you can get your hands on one.

Totally worth it.

La Percée du Vin Jaune
A festival held in a different town in Jura every year during the first week of February. Despite the cold, (Jura's climate is Burgundian with tougher cold spells), thousands of people come out to celebrate the 'Opening of the Yellow Wine'!

case in point: Jura wines

Wedged between Burgundy (Cotes de Beaune) and the Swiss border, the tiny and obscure region of Jura is a treasure hold of funky and nutty wines (seriously, some taste of walnuts).

Six AOC's: Arbois, Chateau-Chalon, l'Etoile, Cotes du Jura, Cremant du Jura, Macvin du Jura.

Arbois is arguably the most famous region, followed by Cotes du Jura. Chateau-Chalon only produces vin jaune (more on that in the next post). l'Etoile is named for tiny star-shaped fossils in the soil (noted by the red star on the label), and very good méthode traditionelle wines comes from the Cremant AOC. Macvin is the newest AOC (circa 1991).

Varietals range from revered native grapes to classic Burgundy numbers.

Red: Poulsard (Ploussard), Trousseau (Trousseau Gris), Pinot Noir
White: Savagnin, Chardonnay

Major Players: Stéphane (Andre et Mireille) Tissot, Jacques Puffeney, Berthet-Bondet, Julien Labet, Henri Maire (ph)*, Pierre Overnoy (ph)

*shorthand - post-humously

Henri Maire & Louis Pasteur?
Pasteur was actually born in Arbois, and the family vineyard on which he experimented is now owned by the Henri Maire domaine. Maire is widely credited for keeping the Jura wine industry afloat with his cheap, prolific line of 'Vin Fou' or 'crazy wine'. Think Georges Duboeuf, for better or for worse.

Check out Peter Liem and Brooklynguy for more Jura-love.

Also, Ms. Mumu puts on quite a show: she has several in-depth posts starting with this one about the Jura, its producers, AOC restrictions, etc. etc. Très organized and a ton of detail for the über-geek.