|Vineyards of Jura|
First recognized in 1936, today there are six(6) AOC designations for the more than 200 winegrowers in the Jura. The broad Cotes de Jura AOC is the regional appellation applied to still wines from any of the regions approved (5) grapes. Cre'mant du Jura AOC is designated to any traditional method sparkling wine produced within the region from any of the Jura's grapes. And, Marcvin(vin de liqueur) du Jura AOC is the fortified wine produced from, again, any of the regions approved grapes. In the center of the region, L'Etoile earned its white wine AOC in 1937, and today produces still wines and the other specialties from Chardonnay plus the same regional grapes.
North of L'Etoile is Chateau Chalon AOC, which most notably produces sherry-like Vin Jaune exclusively from the late-harvested Savagnin grape. This 'yellow wine' is allowed to evaporate under a veil of yeast(voile) during its 6 years in barrel prior to bottling in the traditional clavelin. Go north and historic Arbois AOC, the home of Louis Pasteur, produces some of the regions best wines, including Vin Jaune, and the sweet vin de Paille, a rare, highly regulated blended product of regional grapes which are air dried to meet a minimum alcohol level of 14.5!
|Vin Jaune with voile|
In the west of the region, above the southerly flow of the Rhone River, sits Seyssel AOC. Regulated in 1942, it is a fine white wine appellation of Altesse and neutral Molette wine grapes. Roussette de Savoie AOC is the broader appellation here which permits Chardonnay in its white wine blends, and covers much of the western region. Cre'py AOC sits in the extreeme north of the region on the southside of Lake Geneva, and produces light wines from the widely planted white grape, Chasselas(whose synonyms take up a full page). The all encompassing Vin de Savoie AOC is a catch-all for permitted grape variety wines from anywhere in the region. As in Jura, the technique of adding sugar to un-fermented grape must to boost its alcohol, called chaptalization, is allowed and utilized in the Savoie.
Summers around France's largest lake, Luc du Bourget, and winters in the resorts of Albertville or Grenoble produce thirsty markets for these local specialties. In the Jura it is small production of its rare wines and their lofty cost that limit their export market. Savoie's production from its aging vines is generally not transported because the market traditionally migrates here into their mountain enclaves. Should that rare opportunity present itself, the quality wines of Jura and Savoie are certainly worth seeking out. I've put them on my list of wines to seek out, if only because the specialties of these isolated regions continue to be as uniquely different as are mountain people.