What do you do when life gives you “lemons”? If you’re a vigneron in France’s Jura region, and destructive weather decimates your vineyards, you make fascinatingly captivating wine with grapes purchased from generous compatriots in Burgundy. Here is where the winemaker’s skilled hand is most evident: accessing local native yeasts and raising wines under the singular conditions of François’s chilly cellar yields creations that are wonderfully and uniquely “Jura.”
Is this Aligoté? Made from the Aligoté grape and sourced from Bouzeron, it shows an exotic panoply of sweet aromas—burnt sugar, crème fraîche, roasted pineapple—balanced with an herbal, almost agave-like smokiness. Akin to the multilayered depth of an intricate garam masala, it would be a perfect match with Indian food or a Oaxacan green mole. Heck, it tastes like Aligoté to me.
One of Rousset-Martin’s flagship cuvées, this Savagnin hails from François’s very own vines in the marl soils of the storied Château-Chalon appellation and was patiently matured in Burgundian barrels. A transformative process must have been at work here, with the dynamic freshness of the ouillé, or topped-up style, yet it still displays hints of caramelization and golden savoriness. It’s racy but rich, umami-driven, and creamy, and could be a compelling marriage with the notoriously difficult-to-pair artichoke, especially with a ramekin of butter alongside. Transcendent!
Starting its “Journey to the End of Nights” in Nuits-Saint-Georges, this ruby-hued beauty of Pinot Noir expresses the hallmarks of its birthplace. Its brambly black fruit and earthy, meaty underbelly are dynamically enlivened by the vibrancy and brightness of juicy Jura reds. Fresh and silky-fine, wild, and spiced, this stunner demands something equally characterful, like a lamb tagine or perfectly ripe Époisses. I don’t know if we have the answer to the age-old question of Nature or Nurture, but let me “drink about it.”
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