The Shock of the New: The Rise and Rise of Jura Wine
Well, actually, Jura, 'the greatest wine region on planet earth', as Mike Bennie so enthusiastically puts it, is not that new. It’s a tiny French wine region sandwiched between Burgundy and Switzerland, with a long tradition of winemaking and viticulture. What’s new though is its swift ascent to international prominence in the last decade as Sommeliers and Wine Lovers continue to be seduced by its beautiful and occasionally polarising idiosyncratic wines.
Want to try a white wine that subtly (or not) smells and tastes like fino sherry? Try Jura. Want a Chardonnay that rivals some of the best in Burgundy without the wicked price tag? Try Jura. Are you a Pinot Noir addict and looking for different expressions and alternatives? Try Jura. Yes, it’s all here and exploring it is fascinating.
For me the wines of the Jura region are chameleons. Yes, they are wines like any other wine. But they are also living entities that behave much like moving targets in the glass as they transfigure and evolve right in front of your eyes. I remember the first Jura wine I ever tried, a chardonnay made by benchmark producer, Tissot. Every 10 minutes it would change and it had me totally transfixed. What a wine it was!
But there are a few things you need to know. Styles in Jura vary dramatically according to how the wine is made. Is it ‘Ouille' (topped up barrels) or 'Non Ouille’ (ullaged barrels)? Ouille wines are perhaps the best place to start because they express all the pulsating energy, freshness and purity of a Jura Chardonnay or Savagnin without the wildness of a Non Ouille style with it’s occasionally polarising oxidative, funky, fino sherry-like complexities.
It’s a shock to the system the first time you try one of these Non Ouille styles, but mark my word it grows on you the more you drink it, and I’m certainly a massive fan. Perhaps a wine style for more adventurous palates, it will all come down to personal taste.
The Jura red wines are also wonderful. There’s international varieties like Pinot Noir, as well as natives such as Poulsard (aka Ploussard), or Trousseau, all light on their feet, characterful, intriguing and expressing such beautiful fragrance. I warn you they are bloody addictive!
Yes, as I drink more and more Jura, I feel Mike Bennie, who has probably done more than any other wine paparazzi in Australia to promote Jura wines, may well be onto something. Perhaps Jura is indeed the greatest wine region on planet earth!
Click here to explore our slowly expanding range of Jura Wines.
Constantine and the Wine Experience team