Brett happens

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MWG April Jura tastings: report (2/6)

with 2 comments

Poulsard and Trousseau are the Jura’s traditional red (some would say dark pink) varieties, though Pinot Noir has been gaining ground in recent years. Poulsard wines are traditionally paired with the local charcuterie and smoked meats, Trousseau wines with game.

Arbois 2007, Trousseau, Nos Vendanges, Rolet Père et Fils ($21.95, 11194592)
Founded in the 1940s, Rolet is one of the largest producers of Jura wine, second only to Henri Maire. Makes wines from every appellation except Château Chalon, and the quality is high across the board. One of the trail-blazing producers of mono-varietals, Rolet continues to focus primarily on single-grape-variety wines.
Wild strawberry, cranberry, spice. Light-bodied, dry, acid bright, quite tannic and not very fruity. Minerals there are, though, and a sweet, grainy flavour (barley sugar?). Strawberry-scented finish. Refreshing. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2007, Jean Bourdy ($22.70, 11195747)
Jean-François Bourdy refers to this as his PPT (Poulsard, Pinot, Trousseau). The wine is matured three to four years in old oak barrels before bottling. The estate says good vintages can age up to 50 or 60 years; seeing as how they were pouring a still-vibrant wines from the ’50s and ’60s (the SAQ Signature outlets are currently stocking the 1964) at various Jura events a few weeks ago, it’s not an empty claim. Jean-François also suggests carafing the wine for two or three hours before serving, advice our bottle indicated you should follow.
Wild cherry, quartz, lily of the valley, hints of stable and wood shavings. Smooth, fluid, light. Silky attack. The sweet, spicy fruit gives way to fine astringent tannins. Got even better – fuller, richer, deeper – as it breathed. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes du Jura 2009, Pinot Noir, Domaine Labet  ($26.85, 11555108)
My latest information, which dates from a couple of years ago, is that Domaine Labet is a practionner of lutte raisonnée. Aside from an early spring herbicide and moderate sulphuring post-fermentation, extraneous chemicals are avoided.
Spicy, strawberry, slightly herbaceous/minty and flowery. Richer than the non-Pinots but still a welterweight. Satiny texture. Fresh and sprightly, with fine, supple tannins and very pure fruit. A bit light on the finish. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Poulsard, En Billat, Julien Labet ($28.00, oenopole, NLA)
Though still connected with the eponymous family domaine, Julien also makes wines under his own name. As befits his age and rocker reputation, he’s more open to experimenting. He’s been farming organically for a while and is in the process of obtaining official certification.
Complex nose, mainly red berries and forest floor. Light yet richly flavoured. Tart, ripe fruit. Tingly acid and, on the finish, tannins. Lingering woodsy note. Textbook Poulsard, with everything in proportion. (Buy again? Already did.)

Arbois 2009, Poulsard, Jacques Puffeney ($30.64, 12 btls/case, Vini-Vins)
Puffeney is one of the Jura’s legendary winemakers and one of the handful who are equally accomplished with reds and whites. A traditionalist in the best sense of the term, he farms organically and uses only ambient yeasts.
Delicate cranberry/lingonberry nose. Lean and very dry, bordering on austere. Light, fine tannins. One taster perceptively described the combination of flavours and astringency as “fruit tea.” Penetrating finish with a hint of earth and spice. Will benefit from a couple of years in the bottle. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Pinot Noir, En Barberon, André et Mireille Tissot ($32.00, 10269661)
This forward-looking estate is now run by André and Mireille’s son, the affable Stéphane. The house style tends toward modern, vibrant, more fruit-driven wines, albeit ones that sacrifice none of the their jurassien character. Organic since the late 1990s, biodynamic since the mid-naughts.
Ça pinote: red berries, crushed leaves, wet shale, hints of game. Smooth, light tannins grow stronger on finish. Fruity yet dry and astringent. An intriguing combination of lightness and intensity. Not quite as seductive as the 2006 but not without appeal. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2009, Poulsard, En Billat, Julien Labet ($34.25, oenopole, NLA)
What a difference a year makes. Smells and tastes riper than the 2008. Nose of sweet cherry and a combination of eucalyptus and barnyard that one taster called “koala fart.” Medium-bodied, smooth and pure, the fruit and minerals in equilibrium. Structured with sweet, round tannins. Turns drier on the long finish. An atypically rich expression of the grape. (Buy again? Sure but the 2008’s more my style.)

Arbois 2009, Trousseau, Jacques Puffeney ($37.31, 12 btls/case, Vini-Vins)
Red fruit with an earthy, gamy edge to it. Again light-bodied but conveying an impression of richness, due largely to the juicy, tart fruit. Quite tannic. The long, tangy finish dissolves into minerals. Hard to imagine a better Trousseau. A couple of weeks before the tasting, this paired beautifully with the tourtière, duck and pork dishes at the Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

Written by carswell

May 9, 2012 at 20:17

2 Responses

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  1. And to think that Trousseau, known in Portugal as bastardo, is one of the main porto grapes… Wonderful tasting, thanks for sharing all your notes.


    May 15, 2012 at 12:31

    • I’d forgotten about Trousseau’s Portuguese connection. While the Oxford Companion is somewhat fence-straddling on the question, the French Wikipedia article claims that DNA testing has established Trousseau as a cross of Petit Verdot, whose roots are in Bordeaux or the Pyrenees, and Duras, which is thought to have originated in the Tarn valley, near Toulouse. This would indicate that the grape’s native land is the French sud-oeust, from whence it travelled in opposite directions to Portugal and Franche-Comté.

      Surprising that some enterprising winemaker in Portugal or Spain (where it’s also grown) hasn’t bottled a cheap varietal Bastardo with the variety name in huge type on the label. Seems like it’d be a surefire attention-grabber. (That said, I have seen wines from the Il Bastardo estate in Tuscany, and it looks like there’s a Bastardo rosé, which contains not a drop of Bastardo juice.)


      May 17, 2012 at 19:39

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