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As Fall settles in, we find ourselves hankering for Jura wines here at Chambers Street; whites with character and texture, or oxidative expressions that pair so well with root veggies and cheese plates, and lithe reds that excite on their own, and offer perfect pairing potential with harvest time meals. Luckily, we have tasted a bunch of great Jura wines from several producers, known and new to the US market, and we realized we had a pretty fun lineup to highlight!
First off, we are beyond elated to have "la gamme" of Loreline Laborde's offerings frrom Les Granges Paquenesses. After completing her formal studies in viticulture, Loreline left the bustling city of Montpellier to make wine in the undulating foothills of Tourmont, a village near Poligny. She established Les Granges Paquenesses in 2010 with almost 2 hectares planted to Savagnin, Chardonnay, Ploussard, and Trousseau averaging 30 to 60 years-old. Today she has pieced together a total of 3.5 hectares, which she have been certified organic since 2018. Although she is not native to the Jura, her wines convey a deep understanding of the varied soils and climate. Her Savagnins are not to be missed!
In addition to the empicable wines of Les Granges Paquenesses, we're happy to offer more whites and bubbles from a few other exceptional Jura estates and vignerons. Domaine Courbet has been tending vines on treasured slopes for multiple generations, beginning 1869. Damien Courbet meticulously farms the family's 7.5 hectares (a good part of which is located just under Chateau-Chalon). In 2005, the estate took the leap into organics, and is now seeking certification (while using using plenty of biodynamic methods in the vineyards). Non-interventional practices rule the cellar, with reliance on native yeasts and low levels of added sulfur. This is our first time carrying wines from this producer, and we're excited! Clean and focused, there is nothing but pure Jura flavor in these bottles - complexity without anything wacky or difficult. They're sure to be a staple on our shelves! Also, and these wines surely don't need an introduction, is a small cache of Tissot! Just in time for cold weather celebrations, we've stocked up on two sparklings, the Crémant du Jura Extra Brut, as well as the Crémant du Jura Indigène. And don't miss out on the Chardonnay Patchwork 2018, which is showing beautifully after over a year in barrel, and nearly two in bottle!
100% Chardonnay on clay and limestone in Pupillin, vinified for 6 months in large foudres. This is a joyful bottle with a fine mousse bursting with aromas of dry hay, iris, toasted hazelnut, Comté, and baked orchard fruit. The palate has an elegant frame of mineral acidity. Flavors are gently oxidative with floral undertones, ginger, and cherry pit. A delicious bottle to serve with raclette, Peking duck, or on its own! Amanda Bowman
Hand harvested Savagnin from a lieu-dit called "La Pierre." Located in a cool site 400 meters above sea level and planted to clay, limestone and sandy marl soils. Vine age is 30 years old. This was fantastic over the course of 2 days, showing waxy creaminess, and a long, balanced mineral finish. An exceptional bottle of Savagnin, clearly exhibiting the density and length that Savagnin can attain, less expressive of the oxidative notes that can develop. A fine Ouillé Savagnin, and a perfect introduction to the fabulous whites from Loreline Labord.
Another great Savagnin from Les Granges Paquenesses' winemaker, Loreline Laborde. The color here is a darker lemon. On the nose, aromas of lemon and chamomile mix with spicy black pepper and earl grey tea. Behind this are heartier smells of apricot, papaya, and dried grass. The palate is rich, with weighty flavors of herbs, grilled citrus, yellow and orange stone fruits, and smoke. The generous structure has a playful swish and bright acidity, creating a fantastic finish. The wine ends with an elegant bitterness, along with a final spark of salt. So much is going on in this bottle and it will surely develop well over the next few years. Drink now or hold! David Hatzopoulos
"Mamette" is 100% Chardonnay from 30 year-old organic vines planted in clay and limestone soils in Pupillin. Incredibly mineral and beautifully textured, this is a complex wine at a fantastic value. If drinking now, allow some time for the aromas to open up and you will be rewarded with vibrant notes of lemon pith, salty Comté cheese, hazelnuts and stone. The body is rich with fresh flavors of ripe, yellow fruits, nectarine, and salt on the mid-palate. The finish is intensely mineral and gratifying. AB
Les Rondos is a small vineyard site (0.7 hectare) planted mid-slope with south-western exposure. Vine age is 34 years. The soil here is a mix of Jurassic clay and limestone. All fruit is hand harvested and pressed before being vilified in oak, with 10% being new. The wine is aged for 18 months in barrel. Although 100% Chardonnay, the smells of dried grass and spice one might expect from Savagnin exist with esquisite lightness in this wine. Sliced pear, white pepper, smoke and almond skin add complexity to the nose. On the palate, orchard fruit creates a rich platform for salt and lemon peel, and the intense mineral drive brings on a finish that is grassy and herbaceous, culminating in a bitter snap. This is an amazing example of Jura white, and a great bottle for anyone new to the region. It really has it all! David Hatzopoulos
This bottle is 75% Chardonnay and 25% Savagnin. The grapes are vinified separately, and aren't married until one month prior to bottling. The Savagnin comes from calcareous-clay soils with grey marl, on slopes that are south and southwestern facing. The Chardonnay comes from chalky soils, on slopes of southwestern exposure. All fruit is hand harvested. The Savagnin is fermented in tank and aged sous voile for 8-15 months. The Chardonnay is topped up in oak barrels. As you might expect from this origin story, there is great complexity in this wine! Yellow cherry, green tea, smoke, brown sugar, and orange peel waft in layers from the glass. In between these more powerful smells, a floral aroma is a wonderful, soft constant. The palate has the tang of crisp green and yellow apples, with dashes of salt and lively fresh herbs. Healthy acidity is held firm within the wine's semi-lush fruit and it's whisper of tannin. Mouthwatering! David Hatzopoulos
A serious Crémant made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Poulsard, and Trousseau, all fermented with indigenous yeasts. Stéphane will always point out that he is the only one in the Jura who uses their Vin de Paille to spark the second fermentation (instead of the typical Champagne yeast). This is truly a special detail, and adds to the richness and complexity of the wine. He adds in the Vin de Paille in small amounts, daily, over 1-2 months, allowing complex flavors and textures to develop. Clearly, it's a time-consuming process, but Stéphane is very proud of the quality of the wine, and we're always in awe. With a little aeration, the nose shows honeysuckle, orange zest, and orchard fruit. The palate offers crisp minerality, flavors of tangy citrus, toasted nuts, dried honey, and sea salt on the long finish. -AB
An abiding staff favorite from Stéphane Tissot's biodynamic estate in Arbois, this crémant is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 5% Poulsard and Trousseau. The interplay between the dry, mineral complexity and rich generosity make this an incredible Champagne-alternative. Opulent aromas of raw honey and baked red apple lead to flavors of tangy yellow fruit, crisp apple, toasted almond, and quince on the persistent finish. With this recent batch Stéphane elevates the quality of the wine with a portion aged in barrel. He tries to increase the barrel fermentation on the Cremant each year, and this batch sees 40% barrel fermentation. Unfiltered. 10mg SO2 total.
This is a dazzling Savagnin from Loreline Laborde of Les Granges Paquenesses. The color is a clear, brilliant lemon. On the nose, there are rich aromas of seagrass, lemon and tea leaves, which float above bolder smells of sliced yellow cherries and dried pineapple. The palate is spicy, with yellow apple and pear, green herbs and a dash of white pepper. A core of strong minerality contributes a refreshing, zingy middle. Exhilarating acidity adds striking form to an otherwise tender mouthfeel. The wine's long finish ends with a hint of sweet lemon. A truly exceptional wine! This is the first wine I've ever tasted from Loreline, and I can't get enough of it's lively tone and dynamic fruit. David Hatzopoulos
"Patchwork" is made from 100% Chardonnay (from clonal and massale seection vines) picked from various clay and limestone parcels in Tissot's estate. He typically raises this cuvée for 12 months in both neutral and 10% new oak barrels, which are topped up to give a fresher, more Burgundian style to the Chardonnay. As 2018 was a bit bigger of a vintage for Stéphane, the wine was aged longer, and bottled in January of 2020. A truly complex wine from one of the Jura's best producers. Allow some time for the aromas to develop - delicious from the first to last glass!