Brett happens

All wine, most of the time


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Six years ago almost to the day, the Mo’ Wine Group, then five months old, held its first tasting of the sometimes odd and often wonderful wines of the Jura. Of the 14 bottles opened, only three came from the SAQ; as I recall and leaving aside the ignorable wines from Henri Maire, they constituted the monopoly’s entire offer. The 11 others required a real effort to assemble, and the only way I could put my hands on an oxidized Savagnin was to buy it – at a 100% markup – off a restaurant wine list.

How the situation has changed. For reasons not entirely clear to me, Quebec has gone gaga for Jura wines. Nearly every agency offers them; private imports from cult producers are allocated only to a lucky few; Jura wines are found on most of the province’s better wine lists; and at any given point the SAQ has around 40 in its catalogue (compare that with the LCBO’s grand total of two). At the same time, the MWG’s interest in the Jura has, if anything, increased. Demand for seats at last Thursday’s tasting was so high that we organized a second tasting for Friday and still had a waiting list.

In the coming days as work permits, I’ll be posting notes on the 31 wines tasted. In the meantime, a story.

On Wednesday, I dropped by my neighbourhood SAQ outlet to pick up a bottle of Tissot’s 2004 vin jaune for one of the tastings. When the outlet’s senior wine advisor saw the flask in my hand, he told me to wait, went to the back of the store and emerged holding a glass and a stoppered bottle of Rolet’s 2003 vin jaune with maybe an inch’s worth of wine left in it.

“We opened this for a staff tasting,” he explained. “Sorry it’s at room temperature. We didn’t gas or pump it, just stuck the cork back in and set it on the counter. Still, I think you’ll find it interesting.” Indeed I did: a classic vin jaune, oxidized yet fresh and balanced, full of flavour yet light on the palate.

“Guess how long the bottle’s been open,” he said.

“Two or three days?” I ventured.

“We decided to conduct an experiment,” he replied. “We opened this bottle in September – that’s what, eight months ago? – and it’s been sitting on the counter ever since.”

Jura wines. You gotta love ’em.

Written by carswell

April 22, 2012 at 11:28

Posted in Commentary

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One Response

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  1. […] last time he said that, he came back with a glass of 2009 Sassicaia. The time before, a glass of delicious vin jaune from a bottle that had been open several months. So you might say I’m expecting a […]

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