Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jura Tasting

(Our host, Lasse)

The wines from the Jura region continuous to intrigue me - and as I still see myself as a novice – I am constantly on the lookout to learn more.

1st of September such an opportunity came by as one of Copenhagen’s newest wine shops; Krone vin - hosted a Jura tasting. Behind Krone vin is Lasse Kruse Rasmussen which I have bumped into before as he was the sommelier @ the first restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen. Today you can still find the “spirit” of Lasse @ the new Geranium – as the wines from Krone vin is widely represented on Geranium’s wine list. Lasse are with 3 other wine pushers @ my local latitudes (Petillant, Rosforth & Rosforth and Lieu-dit) leading they way forward in badass biodynamic and Natural wines.

With this short introduction – I present the wines.


Domaine de L’Octavin “Cremant du Jura Blanc de Blanc”, Arbois

(L’Octavin are run by the couple Alice Bouvot og Charles Dagand and have since 2010 been certified biodynamic producers. Since 2009 – they stopped dosing their wines with sulphur – except this Cremant which they think find better balance with just a pinch)

One of the first notes I wrote was “bio” – which turned out to be correct. It was actually an association to the Champagnes of François Bedel, which had me comparing. It’s this funky tone of overripe fruit, creamy tones of milk-products and wet hay, which I find similar. I am not always a fan of this style as it’s taking some focus away from immediate freshness. However! – It’s without a doubt a wine, which spans widely to food pairing. Taste delivers good clarity; yet again this overripe style is present, which causes loss of springiness. Still a fair wine.

Domaine des Cavarodes “Cremant du Jura Blanc de Blanc”, Côtes du Jura

(Run by young Etienne Thiébaud who are in his mid-twenties and has been making wine since 2007. His philosophy is to make wine with as little intervention as possible. From 2012 he will be certified biodynamic producer. He has 4,5ha of land in the northern part of the Jura region. There are some very old vines here – up to 100 years old and you will even find ungrafted (pre-Phylloxeras) vines here. Terroir is mostly Kimmeridge chalk and clay.

I liked this wine more, as it had better freshness. It holds lovely yellow fruits – especially morello cherries and citrus fruits. On the taste it’s holding on to a marvellous clarity - yet missing some sort of material to posses more layers of complexity. Yet – I find it quite attractive. It does not possess the stuff Champagne are made of – yet still a solid appetizer or a great friend for a picnic.

Domaine Philippe Bornard “Pétillant Natural Tant Mieux”, Arbois Pupillin

(Philippe Bornard has some 27 years of experience in the wine industry by being employed in the big cooperative in Pupillin. During that period he also brushed of his big passion and hobby as a Rock musician. But in 2005 – strongly inspired by his good friend Pierre Overnoy (the Godfather of Natural wines), - he went “solo”. He makes wines from 6ha of land around the town of Pupillin and from 2012 he will be certified biodynamic producer. He makes wine with as little intervention as possible. Sulphur is only added at the bottling process to stabilize the transportation of the wines.)

One of the beauties of Natural wine is their ability to level with its audience. One of the easiest contact forms is humour, self-irony and the feel of an easygoing bohemia lifestyle. I love such wine – and I would categorize this wine to belong here. The “humour” of this wine is associations to a child birthday, with red lemonade and happy atmosphere and playfulness. This Pétillant wine holds delightful juicy tones of strawberries, rhubarb, cranberry and rosehip. Drinking exceptional well with newborn fresh fruit and very moderate alcohol (9.5%). I Imagine serving this wine for friends who expect “serious” big Champagne for a starter and get this…..I can already hear the remark: “What the hell is this”…but shortly after I’ll bet they will applaud it for it’s pleasurable qualities

(Philippe Bornard “Pétillant Natural Tant Mieux”)

Red wines

2009 Domaine des Cavarodes “Poulsard des Gruyéres”, Arbois
(Zero Sulphur)

Here I learned why the grape is sometimes called Poulsard or Ploussard. The latter is only to be used when it comes from Pupillin. So be careful – the producers are very sensitive on this ;-).

When you are attending big tastings you can’t help to be influenced by some of the remarks that goes on around the table. Here a lot of people applauded this wine. I was however a bit hmmmmmmm…. The reason was a fair amount of dry extract. The grape can sometimes be like that – I know, but it’s too stony, dusty and herbal. I missed some clarity. The taste is however really nice – floating, ballerina light and pleasurable. Overall a fair wine – but not something I was ecstatic about.

2008 Domaine Philippe Bornard “La Chamade / Ploussard”, Arbois Pupillin

Ahhhh…here we go. That red juicy appealing fruit – I am such an easy target. Still you have that dusty grape character hanging over the wine, but the companionship of sweet juicy red fruit - mostly raspberry perfumes – but also; moist forest and animal fur, takes it to dreamland. In addition you have a slight fine tuned oxidation and it’s adding to a pretty intimidating sexy touch. Served blind, this wine could easily pas for red Burgundy. The taste holds a magnificent delicious and juicy style. Brilliant wine.

2008 Domaine Philippe Bornard “Aide Memorie / Pinot Noir”, Arbois Pupillin
(Vines from 1950’ties)

Here the fruit is a fraction shyer and primary. It turns it a bit into “violet fruit”, which later turns to plums. Yet – at the last sip, the fruit had contracted again, revealing dryer components and dust. Taste is however nice – really pure with great mineral bite and a touch of the dried fruit. I would cellar this wine 2 years more.

2007 Domaine de L’Octavin “Don Giovani / Pinot Noir”, Arbois

More straightforward wine….almost classic, with divine tones of orange blossoms and dried red fruit elements. Taste is pretty tight, yet highly elegant. It doesn’t stretches itself fully – and uses too much time in the front of the mouth. Overall – still a good wine.

2010 Les Dolomies “Les Cabane / Pinot Noir”, Côtes du Jura

(Les Dolomies is a rising star, emerging from the southern part of Jura in the town of Passenans. Run by the couple Céline og Steve Gormally – but it’s Céline who is the winemaker. First vintage from was 2008 and they make wine from 4ha. of land – divided on 4 parcels in Passenans and Frontenay. From the beginning they have worked biodynamic and will be certified at the end of 2011. Be warned the allocation here in Denmark is almost nothing – so hunt like demons).

Outrageous deliciousness of the most juicy and freshly pressed red raspberry fruit explodes from the glass. It’s so sexy with newborn sweet sensorial fruit, which is like the violins in an orchestra and in behind you have the bass pumping notes of bicycle tubes to the rhythm. The taste is incredible fine, subtle, juicy again and it’s such a beautiful wine. WOW!!!

2010 Domaine de L’Octavin “Corvée de Trousseau, Les Corvées”, Arbois
(Zero Sulphur)

I believe it’s the first time I taste wine made from the “Trousseau” grape. It’s has a quite different character and somewhat disturbing compared to Les Cabane from Les Dolomies”. A very tight tone of nail polish, cherries, and red bell peppers makes it a bit angular. Taste is a bit better – very fine and mouth coating, but again teasing my senses again with this angular style as it doesn’t stretches fully. I am not sure I sort of understood this wine. Could be interesting to taste with some age.

2010 Les Dolomies “En Rollion / Trosseau”, Côtes du Jura

Second wine from “Les Dolomies” and I already sense, I am about to engage in a love affair. I can’t get enough of that sweet fresh fruit, which is here and with just a touch of oxidation, providing spectacular dancing weightlessness. The taste is soooooooo appetite, with that insane fresh and juicy fruit. Stunning wine.

2010 Domaine de La Cibellyne, “Les Orobanches” / Ploussard + Trosseau, Arbois

(This Domaine is run by Benoît Royer, which after some years of employment at Domaine de la Pinte started making wine in 2004. He has 4ha of land, but they are fairly widespread over the towns of Molamboz in northwest, Arbois to Buvilly and Poligny in the south of Jura. Though production is very limited, as he only yields around 20 hl/ha. Everything is done with as little intervention as possible and all wines are made ’ouillé’ (without oxidation), as Benoît feels the terroir is more genuine with this method).

Again some elements of nail polish (like the first time with the Trosseau grape), but this time it’s not as primary and with air takes more the shape of lacquer. There are a lot of “red” elements of fruit, but they are extremely tight (no doubt the note of lacquer also keeps it tight) and shapes into the note of rosehip. The taste continues this profile with notes of green bell peppers, which together with this very tight style provides a sophisticated spice window. Overall – this type of wine, is not my style – but I have to say I still felt curious and I think it has good potential.

(2010 Les Dolomies “Les Cabane / Pinot Noir”)

2010 Domaine de La Cibellyne, “Les Plosses” / Ploussard + Pinot Noir, Arbois

Very light coloured wine and another of these specimens with the red fruit elements (raspberry and bicycle tubes) – but it’s not bursting out of the glass like we saw it with Les Dolomies. Here it’s more refined – still juicy, but holding a little bit back. That actually provides some curiosity and it’s oddly (hard to describe) adding to the elegance of the wine. Taste has magnificent weightlessness and it’s just so gorgeous.

Then Lasse served us a solid rustic meal of Boeuf bourguignon, before we continued with the white wines.


2010 Domaine de L’Octavin “Cul rond la Cuisse rosé / Poulsard”, Arbois
(Zero Sulphur)

A wine I never really found myself attracted to. It’s however not a bad wine and it has notes of citrus, overripe yellow fruit and popcorn. Taste has a slight sparkle on the tongue but its overall dilemma is lack of nerve and it never really unfolds on the palate.

2009 Domaine des Cavarodes, Chardonnay, Arbois

Really funky stuff with a good portion of oxidation. Nose oozes of groovy yeast aromas, creamy cheesecake and vanilla. The taste is complete opposite – dry, subtle, chalky, and flirts with Vin Jaune. I liked it - but I don’t know if I am willing to fill my cellar with it – but could easily find a good spot for such a wine in a fun tasting event.

2009 Les Dolomies, “Les Combes” / Chardonnay”, Côtes du Jura

In complete contrast to the previous wine from Domaine des Cavarodes. Nothing but oxidized – but tight like an oyster shell. The minerals penetrate the entire wine with high profiled sour citrus notes, frozen steel and corn. Taste is rock hard with insane acidity (not for weak souls) and it’s not exactly charming at this stage. However it has tons of potential. Really interesting.

2010 Domaine de L’Octavin “Le Mailloche, Pamina; Arbois
(Zero Sulphur)

Bright wine, with crystal clear citrus and flowery elements. Very floating specimen, but also very shy. Taste…ahhhrrrr….I find something is missing here. Could have used more time with this wine.

(2010 Domaine de La Cibellyne, “Les Plosses”)

2007 Domaine Philippe Bornard, “Le Blanc de la Rouge / Chardonnay”, Arbois Pupillin

Good wine for sure, with tight blossom character and a taste with a pure mineral feel. However it’s very young and rather shy. I missed some sort of edge here – but hard to judge at this stage.

2008 Domaine Philippe Bornard, “Le Rouge Queue / Melon”, Arbois Pupillin

I am not that familiar with the Melon grape. What we have here is a more approachable wine –simply richer and fruit is more open, flirting towards exotic with primary notes of ripe peaches. Taste is solid anchored with a lovely rich feel and edge coming from secondary some spicy elements. Good wine.

2006 Domaine Philippe Bornard, “Les Chassagnes (*Ouille) / Savagnin”, Côtes du Jura
(*Filling of the barrel to prevent oxidation)

Intense stuff with notes flying in all kinds of directions. I sensed caraway, cheese whey and white pepper. Taste surprised me, as it shaped like a Riesling with freaking high acidity and mineral feeling of slate. I am not easily attracted to this type of wine, but I am slowly beginning to understand them. Overall….I marked it as interesting stuff.

2006 Domaine Philippe Bornard, “Les Marnes / Savagnin”, Côtes du Jura
(Zero Sulphur)

So not a Vin Jaune, as such a “thing” would need to cellar 7 years before release. But it’s close to Vin Jaune, yet also different, which turned out to be a supplement for the wine. The oxidation is of course rather apparent – yet it floats with a more delicate and vinous style, which I liked. You are almost begging for a Comté cheese to balance out that extremely dry and salty taste. Again – Vin Jaune and Sherry, will never be me – I don’t understand it….well, I thought, but I am slowly beginning to understand it, even though the process is slow…oh dear oh dear.

(2009 Les Dolomies, “Les Combes”)

Short conclusion:

Despite having clear favourites of the above wines, all of them delivered characters of subtleness and wines, which plays with genuine characters and high drinking pleasure. The Poulsard / Ploussard grape has hardly any tannins, so you get a lot of light weighted wines – miles away for some of the wines presented at the previous tasting on this blog. We also have to look at prices. At the previous tasting some of the wines reaches soaring prices in the range of 200 <> 450€. At this tasting we never came above 35€ and yet, it’s from this tasting I look forward to buy and taste some of the wines again.

It proves two things for me. 1) My palate has shifted dramatically and 2) Jura has now confirmed my curious excitement and I can’t wait to explore more.



Anonymous said...

Jura is not for me too thin fruit too keep up with the alcohol, Thomas is this like your german periode?


Thomas said...

Hi Bent.

I know what you mean about ”thin” ….but that’s exactly why I am so interested in Jura and why I reacted so negative vs some of the wines @ your tasting. To me they are not “thin” – they are elegant and pure.

Hehe…German period. I made a mistake buying too many Spätlese, which I rarely found the occasion to drink with food. But in fact German was the region that setoff the hunt for cooler and elegant wines. Today I can really enjoy a Spätlese – but for sure, it rarely happens I open a bottle. On the other hand – I am not looking to sell them, like many other wines I have got rid of. When looking back – I think we all had our "period". Just look at how many wines we are now selling to buy something completely different.

Jura will never be similar to my love for Champagne – that is still my biggest passion.

But I am always curious.

Next time I will host a Natural wine tasting…… then the debate will take off…that will be fun ;-).


Kier said...

Excellent article and great TN. I look forward to trying out some Jura wines and form my own opinion.

TWG said...

Just wondering if you have any interest in Sherry? It seems like the Jura whites and sherries have a similar barrier to entry.

Thomas said...

@Mikkel – thank you. Do share your thoughts – Jura is so different and would love to hear what people think.

@ TWG – there are similarities to Sherry if we are talking Vin Jaune. I have never understood Sherry. I have tried it a number of times @ restaurants – typically on a wine menu. I can always see what the sommelier is trying to mathc, but I simply don’t understand it…or should I have said “Understood it”….BECAUSE!!!....I may be more interested…it’s definitely the key to matching this salty taste with cheese I find very nice, when it comes to Vin Jaune.

I doubt if it will be a major passion – but small steps and using it for dinners…sure, why not. ;-).

Best from,