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MWG April Jura tastings: report (4/6)

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Savagnin, the Jura’s flagship grape, is thought to be identical to the Traminer variety (and Alsace’s Gewurztraminer may be a musqué mutation). It’s the only grape used to make vin jaune. Regular Savagnin has traditionally been vinified like vin jaune: aged in barrels and not topped up (“non ouillé“), creating a head space that allows the wine to oxidize and be covered by a veil of flor-like yeast, both of which give it a nutty/corny flavour. Some estates have begun making a new breed of Savagnin wines that are not allowed to oxidize, which preserves their fresh grapey character; these are often labelled fleur, though Stéphane Tissot calls his Traminer. Unoxidized Savagnin should be served chilled; oxidized Savagnin, like vin jaune, is best served at something closer to cool room temperature.

Arbois 2008, Savagnin, La Cave de la Reine Jeanne ($27.55, 10783871)
Spends 24 months in barrels with no topping up. Oxidized nose with notes of hazelnut and curry powder. Round texture with a good balance between fruit and acid. Nuttiness, some spice and a little honey. Dry. Persistent, tangy finish. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2009, Fleur de Savagnin, Domaine Labet ($28.90, 10783248)
Muted nose of lemon and minerals. Lemony acid, stone fruit and spice burst across the palate. Crystalline texture. Racy and long. (Buy again? Yes.)

Arbois 2007, Savagnin, Jacques Tissot ($29.05, 11460686)
Classic oxidized nose: corn, yellow fruit, slight nuttiness. Faintly honeyed fruit and high acidity play against a mineral backdrop. Yellow apple, straw and hazelnut finish. A fine, even elegant wine, perfectly representative of the non-ouillé style, though mild-mannered and lacking the last bit of éclat to make it a truly memorable bottle. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2006, Savagnin, Les Sarres, Domaine Rijckaert ($32.15, 6 btls/case, La QV)
Hailing from Flemish Belgium, Jean Rijckaert makes wine in the Jura and in Burgundy’s Mâcon.
Fresh nose dominated by yellow fruit aromas (pineapple, lemon). Vibrant fruit and acidity, rounded by a honey note, mark the palate. Pink grapefruit and mineral flavours mark the long finish. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Fleur de Savagnin, Julien Labet ($34.25, 6 btls/case, oenopole)
Not particularly expressive nose: stone fruit and a briny note. Full on the palate, the rich fruit cut by bright acidity. Flavours include lemon, spice and “rice.” Strong finish. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes du Jura 2007, Domaine Jean Macle (c. $36 @ Chambers Street Wines)
Another legendary Jura producer, the reclusive Jean Macle is known above all for his Château-Chalon. He also makes crémant and this white Côtes du Jura.
85% Chardonnay, 15% non-ouillé Savagnin. Yellow apple and marzipan. Fine layers of flavour, of which oxidation is only one. Silky texture. Fruit and acid in perfect balance. Long. One of those wines that haunted me for days after tasting it. (Buy again? If only I could…)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Grand Élevage, Domaine Rijckaert ($45.00, 6 btls/case, La QV)
Classy nose of lemon, spice, beeswax, dried apple. Rich, dense but fluid. Structured by fruit and acid. Bracing, pure, lush, present. One of the most impressive wines of either tasting. (Buy again? Def.)

Written by carswell

May 12, 2012 at 13:47

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with , , ,

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