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MWG April Jura tastings: report (5/6)

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Vin jaune? After conventional and malolactic fermentation, Savagnin is transferred to old Burgundy barrels that are only partially filled. The barrels are stored in a well-ventilated “cellar” (which may, in fact, be above ground) subject to temperature fluctuations. A yeasty veil forms, protecting and flavouring the wine. After six years, the wine is racked and bottled in clavelins, squat 620-ml bottles (620 ml said to be the amount left from a litre of wine after six years in a barrel, the rest being lost to evaporation). The vin jaune selection process is rigorous and wine that doesn’t make the grade is often sold as plain Savagnin or blended with Chardonnay.

Vin jaune is made throughout the Jura, though many consider the small, jaune-only appellation of Château-Chalon (after the village of the same name) to be the source of the best.

Arbois 2003, Vin Jaune, Rolet Père et Fils ($57.25, 00880872)
Fresh, complex, pure: nuts, silage, maple sap and caramel. Intense attack. Very present but somehow fleet, largely due to the acidity. Light layers of flavour. Turns milder on the long, nutty finish. Classic. (Buy again? Yes.)

Arbois 2004, Vin Jaune, André et Mireille Tissot ($69.50, 10322581)
Lifting nose of nuts, corn, cheese and a hint of caramel. Complex and deep with a minerally substrate and light, fluid texture. Exquisite balance. Long, faintly sour but remarkably fresh finish. Delicious now but capable of aging for decades. One of the best vin jaunes ever sold at the SAQ. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Château-Chalon 2004, Jean Bourdy (a tail-end graciously provided by La QV)
Relatively closed nose of oxidized apples, nuts, minerals and a whiff of corn silage. Light on the palate yet intensely flavoured. Enduring, nut-scented finish. Lovely. (Buy again? Moot but yes.)

Château-Chalon 1990, Domaine Baud (a c. 1998 importation valise from the cellar)
Based in Le Vernois, a kilometre or so southwest of Château-Chalon, the Baud family has been making wine for eight generations. In Quebec, the estate is represented by Anthocyane.
A not very jaune-like bouquet: relatively little in the way of oxidative aromas yet showing a marked umami scent that one taster likened to shiitake mushrooms. Fluid and delicate on the palate, the fine layers of flavour – including a touch of curry – underpinned by an equally fine acidity. Very dry. A caramel note chimes in on the savoury finish. Fully mature. Just lovely. (Buy again? Moot but yes.)

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Written by carswell

May 14, 2012 at 13:49

One Response

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  1. […] the Mo’ Wine Group’s recent Jura tastings, the vin jaunes were served with old Comté and walnut bread, a classic pairing that brings out the best in the […]


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