Fabulous French Passion Jura Wines

IMG_6757In the eastern region of France are 200 estates producing Jura wines. They account for less than 1% of national wine production from all of France’s wine regions, yet this area is known as “the grandest of the small wine regions.” With 5 distinct varietals there is an ideal wine to enjoy as an aperitif to digestif. The varieties include – Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ploussard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir grapes.

I had the opportunity to taste several wines from 20 different estates at Hinoki and the Bird in Century City on April 19, thanks to my friend Allison Levine from Please the Palate.

The event Passion Jura event started with a Jura wine seminar with wine educator DJ Kearney. Afterwards there was a walk around wine-tasting at various tables set up by the following participating wineries:  Cellier des Tiercelines; Château d’Arlay; Domaine André et Mireille Tissot; Domaine Baud; Domaine Benoit Badoz; Domaine Berthet-Bondet; Domaine Cédric Joly; Domaine Désiré Petit; Domaine Dugois; Domaine de la Pinte; Domaine de la Touraize; Domaine des Ronces; Domaine Grand;Domaine Jean-Louis Tissot; Domaine Pierre Richard; Domaine Rijckaert; Domaine Rolet; Fruitière Vinicole d’Arbois; Juravinum and Domaine Wicky.

(PASSION JURA Tasting - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(PASSION JURA Tasting – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Levine welcomed me, handed me a wine glass and guided me to begin tasting Passion Jura wines. I recognized some of LA’s finest sommeliers, including Sommelier Emanuele Rizzo of Pizza Romana on La Brea in Mid-City. This handsome Italian man knows how to pair wine with pizza, meat, and pasta better than most. Read my review of how he became a sommelier – http://beverlypress.com/2016/03/pizza-romana-when-the-moon-hits-your-eye-like-a-big-pizza-pie-thats-amore. I also recognized a few restaurateurs, importers and journalists at this event.

Here’s what I tasted and learned at the PASSION JURA Los Angeles – Annual Grand Tasting –

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

DOMAINE ANDRE ET MIREILLE TISSOT – Stephane Tissot created wine in 1962. Later this vineyard became a biodynamic viticulture with grapes untouched by chemicals. Natural yeast is used in the fermentation process. They have 24 people working year-round to produce 35 different cuvees. Their sparkling is 50% Chardonnay and made with natural yeast. Their Arbois Chardonnay Patchwork is grown in limestone, while the Chardonnay Les Graviers offers a spicy finish.

Hinoki and the Bird spread (Photo by Jill Weinlein)
Hinoki and the Bird spread (Photo by Jill Weinlein)

When attending these enlightening wine events, I do take a sip and swallow each wine presented, instead of spitting it into a silver spittoon, unless it is awful. There is always plenty of bottled water and food, so no one walks out too tipsy. The food buffet at Hinoki & the Bird offered an array of beautiful cheeses, meats, nuts and breads. The platters were adorned with tiny pansy flowers.

(Beautiful AOC Arbois Ploussard - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Beautiful AOC Arbois Ploussard – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

The AOC Arbois Ploussard offered a lovely orange-red color with a light musky smell to the nose and aromas of red berries. On the palate it offered a fruitiness with well-balanced tannins. There was an earthy, almost pine essense. The Arbois Chardonnay is from big barrels offering aromas of citronella, honey and white flowers with a salty essence. It’s great with fondue and seafood.

(Each wine is unique - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Each wine is unique – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

The Cotes du Jura Tradition offered almonds and hazelnuts to the nose and a fruity and spicy finish.

(Domaine Des Ronces makes a great sparkling wine - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Domaine Rijckaert wines- Photo by Jill Weinlein)

DOMAINE RIJCKAERT – Created in 1998 by Jean Rijckaert and Florent Rouve to focus on purity and freshness. Their handpicked harvest, slow pressings and indigenous yeast offers some really great wines that are served at some of the finest tables in France. Visitors can stay overnight at the more than 100-year-old home, built in the middle of the vineyards at Leynes, in the south of Burgundy. The outbuildings store wine and the vat rooms house  casks where the white wines such as the Chardonnay – Arbois – En Paradis matures.

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(Domaine Des Ronces – Kevin Mazier – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

At the Domaine Des Ronces, founded in 1950 by George Mazier, it’s a family enterprise. In 2010, Mazier’s son Michael started managing the winery. By 2010, Michael Mazier and his son Kevin practiced organic farming and focused on biodynamics with a range of diversity from white to white floral wines and red Poulssard. The Trousseau is more of an orange tint in color due to staying one more year in the cask. Their Cremant Du Jura is 100% Chardonnay.

(My favorite red wine  - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(My favorite red wine – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

One of my favorite wine pour was from DOMAINE DE LA TOURAIZE. Eight generations have made wine since 1704 with Etienne Morin making the first bottle. There were five tastes with three whites and two reds. My favorite was a good summer wine with notes of Rose’, yet its a brilliant red wine, the Ploussard La Cabane.

(Domaine De La Touraize - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Domaine De La Touraize – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Walking to the Domaine Rolet table, I sipped a sparkling Du Jura Blanc Brut made with 70% Chardonnay. This would make a fine wedding toast bubbly wine. Pierre Rolet and Franny Breuil have worked 70 years making their unique wines that also include Arbois Pouldard Vielles Vignes made with Poulsard and Pinot Noir. It was one of the few tables that had a female representative.

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If you are in New York, there will be a Passion Jura seminar and tasting from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Studio 450 – 450 West 31st Street – New York, NY 10001 RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/passion-jura-new-york-annual-grand-tasting-april-21th-2016-tickets-22182931746

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