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MWG April Jura tastings: report (3/6)

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Having arrived from Burgundy in the Middle Ages, Chardonnay (also known locally as Melon d’Arbois and Gamay Blanc) is the now most widely planted grape variety in the Jura, occupying nearly half the vineyard. It’s made in a range of styles, from light to rich and from fresh to oxidized. The increasing popularity of Chardonnay-based crémants, which can be successfully made from underripe grapes, has had the effect of improving the quality of the region’s still Chardonnays in recent years.

Arbois 2009, Chardonnay, La Cave de la Reine Jeanne ($20.20, 11575723)
Founded in 1997 by Stéphane and Bénédicte Tissot, this négociant firm is named after the magnificent, gothic-arched cellar in which its wines are stored. The wines have become more accomplished over the years.
Grapefruit nose with clover and beeswax scents. Smooth, balanced and elegant on the palate, the flavours evoking lemon, oxidized apple and a faint nuttiness. Lingers long. (Buy again? Sure.)

L’Étoile 2008, Chardonnay, Nos Vendanges, Rolet Père et Fils ($21.70, 11194605)
Candied yellow fruit and sesame. Ripe fruit on the palate. While you wouldn’t call this bone dry, it’s still fresh, lively and balanced. Clean finish. Not remarkably complex but enjoyable enough. (Buy again? Sure.)

Arbois-Pupillin 2010, Jurassique, Domaine de la Renardière ($22.15, 11472628)
Jean-Michel and Laurence Petit created this estate in 1990. Their wines, especially their whites, are notable for their vibrant fruitiness, somewhat in the mould of Stéphane Tissot’s. Prices are reasonable across the board.
Classic nose of yellow fruit (a bit candied), corn silage and sour cream. Richly textured. Vivacious ripe fruit. The racy acidity is rounded by a touch of residual sugar. Long, browned apple finish with a faint nutty caramel note. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Côtes du Jura 2006, Chardonnay, Jean Bourdy ($28.00, 6 btls/case, La QV)
Pear, peach, browning apple. Medium-bodied and very dry. Bright acid. Broad and long, with an oxidative note on the finish. Classic and age-worthy. (Buy again? Yes.)

Arbois 2009, Chardonnay, Jacques Puffeney ($28.69, 12 btls/case, Vini-Vins)
Straightforward nose: straw, oats, apple. Clean and flavourful: lemon and light nuts. Medium-bodied with lively acidity. Long, quartzy finish. Becomes more complex, deeper and quite elegant as it breathes. A complete and classy wine. At a recent Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack dinner, this worked beautifully with a wide range of appetizers, including such challenging dishes as a lobster and smoked meat soufflée-omelet. (Buy again? Yes, yes, yes.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Fleur de Marne, La Bardette, Domaine Labet ($37.50, 6 btls/case, oenopole)
Sweat, oxidizing yellow apple, quartz underlay, gaining a smoked ham note. Rich and mouth-filling. The ripe fruit tends to peach. Long, minerally finish. Multi-dimensional and impressively poised. Would make an interesting ringer in a Meursault tasting. (Buy again? Done!)

Côtes du Jura 2006, Chadonnay, En Chalasse – Nature, Julien Labet ($37.50, 6 btls/case, oenopole)
Organically farmed, native yeasts, unsulphured, unfiltered. Cloudy to the eye. Intriguing nose: roast-pork jus, lemon, oats and light oak. Rich. Minerally/chalky flavours combine with lemon and oats. Coursing acidity. A vibrant wine that lost some of its appeal as it warmed and became more fruit- and alcohol-driven. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Written by carswell

May 11, 2012 at 10:16

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