Wine Guide
Jura fine wine
Probably the most exciting wine region in France, Jura fine wines are up and coming, ready for action and something to write home about. All clichés aside, France’s smallest wine producing region is capable of much bigger things than the market gives it credit for. Squeezed in beside Burgundy and Switzerland, Jura houses just 2,000-hectares of vineyard.

This, however, was not always the case: Jura wines (which include regions Cotes de Jura, Arbois, L’Etoile and Chateau-Chalon) were the people’s choice in the 19th century, producing huge amounts of wine for national consumption. But it never rains but it pours (and we’re not just talking about the foul Jurassic weather) and disaster struck in the way of three things: phylloxera, the First World War and the expansion of the railway system, which all but bypassed the region. By 1960, Jura had just 1,000 hectares under vine.

However, small is beautiful in many cases and Jura is no exception. The region is capable of producing some of France’s quirkiest and most distinctive wines. While today the region has five main grapes (three reds and two whites); in the past, this number would have been around 40. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are of course the mainstays, with lesser known Poulsrad, Trousseau and Savagnin Blanc bringing up the rear.

Many critics argue that the region has far greater variety (and potential) than neighbouring Burgundy. Because of the region’s under-the-radar reputation, winemakers here can indulge in a little folly; while the Burgundians and the Bordelaise were hell-bent on producing a high-priced, easily marketable winner, the Jurrasiens were enjoying themselves, making the fruitier, flirtier, Chardonnay that was the international recipe for much of the late 20th century.

The vin jaunes are of course Jura’s calling card. Bottled in the distinctive squat bottle, vin jaune is made from 100% Savagnin and have a high alcohol content – usually between 13 and 15%. Once picked (usually very late in the season, as mentioned, Jura is not a region blessed with good weather) the wine is transferred into 228-litre barrels and left to mature for six years and three months, without being topped up. Approximately 40% of the wine will have evaporated upon opening, romantically called “la part des anges” – the angels’ share. The wine that is left is a highly concentrated wine, similar to Sherry.

Investors are still suspicious of Jura potential as a fine wine region and are watching the wines of producers such as Stephane Tissot with interest. However, we all know that wine investment is a waiting game and with quality growing as well popularity, we firmly believe it is only a matter of time before Jura is back on the fine wine map.