Tag Archives: Jura Wines

Adventurous summer red: Jura Pinot Noir

20 May

Frédéric Puffeney 2011 Pinot Noir, Arbois Contrôlée, Jura, France. 12.5% ABV; SRP ≃ 9€; Purchased several years ago for $25/bottle.

 

A wine to confuse your senses!

 

Color is a pale, delicate garnet. The nose offers rich, dark notes of eucalyptus, earth, black plum, and dried cranberry. On the palate this wine defies my every expectation: blackberry and cassis, bold tannins on the front palate, massive notes of soil and vegetation across the mid palate. So pastoral and rural in style, it is bound to challenge you, too! The wine confounds my brain with full-bodied notes from a mid-bodied mouthfeel; how I’d love to see how many Somms would match this wine correctly in a blind tasting!

 

 

I had prepared a meal of comfort food for my spouse: Italian bruschetta, chicken teriyaki, steamed broccoli, and a Mediterranean cucumber-tomato salad in balsamic vinegar. The high acidity in the wine would be an easy match; while I feared the dark flavors of the wine would be too much for the lighter fare, I was wrong. The wine played well off the vinegar and tomato from the bruschetta; it calmed and contrasted the teriyaki on the chicken; it felt full against the broccoli, and held well against the salad. This wine has enough oomph and body to pair with steak or even a cold weather stew, but Puffeney himself suggests terrine or cheese- obviously comté is the perfect cheese for any wine from the Jura, but I can attest that goat cheese, a creamy blue, and Dutch gouda all are delightful matches with this unusual-yet-delightful pinot noir.

 

The Jura continues to be a delightful, favorite region to me- what unusual wine region do you love to taste or  collect? Let us know!

WIYG? 

 

à votre santé!

 

Related Articles from JvB UnCorked on the Jura: 

http://bit.ly/FPTrousseau

https://jvbuncorked.com/2016/07/19/now-i-am-alone-puffeney-arbois-vin-jaune-08/

https://jvbuncorked.com/2016/01/13/in-appreciation-jacques-puffeney-winemaker/

“Now, I Am Alone.” Puffeney Arbois Vin Jaune ’08

19 Jul

Writers create in a bubble (no, not bubbly. Sorry Jeff!) Sure, those bubbles may differ. Some work in quiet, others with blasting music in their ears, but all require some level of solitude.

So I found it funny, in a sort of ‘funny wistful’, and not ‘funny ha-ha’ fashion, that this month’s #MWWC26 theme is Solitude, as it shifts from many of the common themes The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge has had to point towards a very real truth. We have a great deal of solitude. We are born alone, we die alone. We may drink together, but we taste only what we taste, and then we can discuss that with others around a table. Or we can type those notes into a tablet, phone, or other I-thingy and share them with a greater audience. I think The Traveling Wine Chick Beth’s subconscious realizes exactly how lonely the road can be on her many myriad travels, hence her choice of themes.

As someone who also travels alone regularly for work,  I can sympathize.

 

wine-stain1-3

 

Writers need an audience, even if it is only themselves again at a later date. Let us be practical for a moment, and consider the following:  For whom did you really think people who journal are journalling for?

Let that one sink in for a moment.

Conversely, those of us who write about wine are NOT doing it for ourselves. Some do it for money, some might do it for the occasional free wine. Personally, I do it for the untold teeming masses- sure I have some friends and family who read my blog, but it is largely for the people I don’t know who subscribe to my blog and for the people who stumble upon it by accident. As I have begun to enjoy the benefits of blogging, I attend tastings more often to educate myself on wines rather than to attempt to write reviews- which is a difficult challenge if one tries to review every wine served in a large tasting. Often a tasting leads me to several wines I want to try again, and make it part of my repertoire and knowledge base to share with others.

We all spend much of our time in solitude.

When alone (In Solitude), we often speak our thoughts aloud. When acted out, these are referred to as monologues or soliloquies.

Some of the most famous words we know are soliloquies, monologues from plays like Hamlet, MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet. Or from films like The Godfather, On the Waterfront, Caddyshack and Taxi Driver.  And recently, Frank Underwood from House of Cards.

When I was young I enjoyed acting. An actor spends a great deal of time learning lines, developing a character, and then joining other actors to create a performance for an audience. As an actor, I learned to take a moment as the stage cleared and to begin a monologue by saying in my mind, only to myself, these words: “Now, I am alone.” At this point, a character can then address themselves, no one, or the entire world. In this way, one actor alone controls the audience, holding them rapt and on edge, or boring them to look away and check their watches or phones.

It is much the same with a wine, or a wine review. I bring home a wine, I study it, contemplate it, and then share it with the world… for better, or for worse. It is like performing a monologue.

By solitude and contemplation, I am able to share wines beyond my immediate table and with the entire world. Here is one that has been haunting me lately:

Jacques Puffeney’s Arbois Vin Jaune 2008, Appelation Arbois, Jura, France. 14%ABV, Street price approx $80/bottle.

From 100% Savagnin grapes, aged in barrels for 6 years, 3 months before bottling. Color is deep gold, while the nose offers heavily oxidized sherry, almond, and a hint of butterscotch. With a neutral palate, bracing acidity will be the initial flavor profile should you taste this incorrectly. Instead, have a piece of Comté cheese, let it gently coat your mouth, and then have a sip. At this point, the palate registers mature lemon, then a hint of almond paste, followed by a mouth-watering tartness and a savory top palate that wafts a delightful sherry aroma back up through your nasal cavity. The last of the Puffeney Vin Jaune. Sold in a 620 ml Clavelin, the shape of the bottle is only one indication that this is not your father’s French white wine.

photo

I have served this wine to friends, asking them to taste it alone to negative, shocked palates, and then again immediately after food. The response is night and day- from an “ugh” to an “Ahhh!” In pairing with food, the power is readily apparent.

With the announcement of his retirement and sale of his vineyards in 2015, Puffeney’s legacy has left behind a throng of dedicated fans. For those who manage to find a bottle, the tough choice is to savor it alone, or share it with close friends. I have and will continue to do both with Vin Jaune, as a rare and unusual wine should be shared and appreciated.

Solitude with this wine allows us to contemplate the dedication of farming, the mystery and brilliance in the winemaking, and the joy of sharing it with others which allows us to celebrate the same.

Even amongst friends, to taste this wine is to know it is the pinnacle of a man’s sole, lifelong goal and crowning achievement; the zenith of his years of solitude as a farmer and winemaker, for the joy of the masses. His soliloquiy, expertly performed, performed for an audience of wine lovers in the gallery.

This, my friends, is the essence great wine, and a strong wine community.

 

à votre santé!

 

Château D’Arlay Vin Jaune

12 May

Château D’Arlay Vin Jaune 2007, AOC Côtes du Jura, France. 

One taste of a jura wine is all you need to know that they are unusual and special wines. I fell in love slowly with vin jaune, but loving the most unusual of historic and traditional French wines can have quite an impact on you. This wine is made entirely from savagnin grapes, matured in barrels for at least 6.5 years without topping off or added sulfite. The wine, left to oxidize, forms a protective covering of natural yeast. There is nothing else like a Jura Vin Jaune, one taste will make you agree.

vin jaune to edit

The ’07 D’Arlay vin jaune is light gold in color with a sherry-like nose of oxidized yeast and subtle tree fruit. In the mouth, it manages to be both rich and delicate. In addition to perfunctory fruit, secondary notes of almond, walnut, mushroom, dried earth, and salt are prominent. This is a wine created to complement food and the high acidity allows it to pair with comté cheese and a piece of bread, a simple fish appetizer, and white meat entrée. But if you love cheese, the meal can end there- vin jaune was made to complement cheese, and that was the catalyst for my love of it, and the reason why you should taste it, at least once in your life. Street price is approximately $60/bottle, but this is something you hoard for yourself or share with friends but don’t just pop open while you’re cooking, unless you live in the Jura.

Vin Jaune

à votre santé!

 

In Appreciation: Jacques Puffeney, Winemaker

13 Jan

Jaques Puffeney’s 2013 Arbois Trousseau Les Bérangères; Jura, France. 13% ABV; approx $37/bottle from Crush Wine & Spirits.

Pale rose in color, with a perfumed nose of young rosebuds and cherries jubilee. Vibrant red raspberry and cherry on the palate, moderate heat, moderate acidity. Balanced and straightforward. Long finish with notes of vanilla, shale, and clay. Red fruit lingers on the top and back palate, a friendly reminder. And I thought 2013 was supposed to have been a terrible vintage for the Jura- perhaps it was simply a small harvest?

Extraordinary (2nd generation) winemaker Jacques Puffeney retired & sold his vineyards in Jura. Somehow I managed to find a couple of single bottles, this being one of them… because I truly enjoy his work. Once this is gone, who knows if I’ll see another.

Here’s to a celebration of a life making excellent wine!

Trousseau Puffeney
Photo Caption: While I adore Puffeney’s classically Jura made, heavily-oxidized whites, this is Trousseau, and the first time I’ve had one of his red wines.  A lovely, delicate young red that drinks similarly to a Beaune. Unbelivable that 2013 is Puffeney’s 51st vintage.

 

I miss him already.

 

À vôtre santé!

Trois Belles Dames Françaises! (Three Lovely French Ladies)

8 Sep

Les Hauts du Tertre 2004 Margaux, Bordeaux, France. 13%ABV, $45/bottle from Xavier Wine Company.

Color is opaque garnet with purple edging, the nose offers cassis, black plum, menthol, rose bush, and stone.  On the palate, cassis and a touch of black cherry are met with forest floor, notes of eucalyptus, saddle leather, mocha, cedar plank and wet stone on the luxuriously supple and medium finish. The tannins are quite reserved and after decanting for half an hour, this Margaux drank so easily I found it difficult to put down the glass. I was impressed by this nicely-aged bottle, a second label of the fifth growth classification of Chateau du Tertre, and paired it with mild cheese, pasta and a spicy tomato sauce, and sockeye salmon but it would also pair well with red meat. I truly enjoyed it so much just by itself!

 

Tertre

 

 

Jacques Puffeney’s Cuvée Sacha Arbois 2012. ABV 13%, $34/bottle from Crush Wine Company.

Made in a classic Jura style (this is not your mother’s chardonnay), this blend of savagnin and chardonnay features sherry-like oxidation for an intense and very dry white wine. A deep straw color with a nutty almond nose that could be mis-interpreted as being off, one sip quickly proves otherwise to the savvy taster. Features the flavors of dried pear, lemon zest, saline, black walnut, and limestone. This wine, slightly tart and acidic, is best for an advanced palate and begs for fresh fish or shellfish but delights with anything that likes a dry counterpart- mild cheese, salad, cooked vegetables, tapas, etc. After a week of rationing this beauty, I finished the bottle with some grilled peaches. I’m so glad to have managed to snag a few of Puffeney’s remaining bottles, but they disappear oh-so-quickly from my cellar!

 

Cuvee Sacha

 

 

Château de Valmer Vouvray 2012, Loire Valley, France. 11.5%, ⓊP; $16/Bottle from Mayfair Wine & Liquor.

Pale straw with green tinge, the nose offers citrus blend, wildflowers and honeysuckle. In the mouth, fleshy white fruit including red pear, gala apple and quince, a solid sense of minerality, with an off-dry finish. One of the few wines my wife will drink an entire glass of, Vouvray is a wine I buy in late spring and again in late summer when I want a sweet wine that isn’t sweet, that is delightful in the afternoon sun  when the bottle is chilled and that opens up her aromatics after warming to pair perfectly with a summer salads, vegetable medly, fish or white meal entrées. Delightful from opening to empty, I don’t know why I drink so few bottles of this (perhaps the wine is too much a crowd pleaser?) but at this price, I really should have a case in the cellar when I know I like Chenin Blanc but I adore Vouvray and the Loire Valley’s more aromatic, fruitier, slightly sweeter appellation.

Vouvray

 

à votre santé!

Spring Is In My Wallet

26 Mar

As we wind down this winter that refuses to end, I realize I’m suffering from my own version of cabin fever. I keep desiring lighter, fruitier, more delicate flavors from my wines and food. I’ve no desire for savory, and hunger for salads, fish, and fruit – and the lighter wines that pair with them.

Reviewing recent cellar additions, I also notice the wines I’m purchasing for my own personal enjoyment (in opposition to the ones that are sent to me or chosen for review) are matching the anxiousness of my palate being ready for the forthcoming seasons of spring and summer!

Spring is definitely in my wallet this year. Long before there was a warming change in the winter air, I started buying whites and rosés, riesling, grüner veltliner, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and yes, my beloved white burgundy. At restaurants I’ve made similar choices – eating and drinking for the season before it arrived – and having zero regrets about it.

I met a Somm named Ida (pronounced: “Ee-da”) and her manner immediately put me at ease. I asked her which wines on her list were off the beaten track, unusual, or ‘hidden gems’. She introduced me to Jacques Puffeneny’s Cuvée Sacha “Arbois”, a 2012 wine from the Jura region that was made with intentional oxidation and featured a real sense of sherry and age to it! I so enjoyed my meal that I didn’t think to take tasting notes, but it was a satisfying pairing with a serving of raw fish and, in short, I experienced the Puffery “Arbois” as a gentle, dry wine with a dull, off-pink color, a perfumed and sherry nose, and subtle fruit with matching acidity that delighted me to no end.

Puffeney

I wanted to share this unusual wine and my experience with you- asking you to continue to challenge your palate, your preferences, and to take risks with trying new, maybe unusual wines. For everything you find you might not like, you might find something you love! And dear readers, tell me if spring is in YOUR wallet, too? I’m fascinated.

à votre santé!

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