On this night, we drank red wines from Jura. Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir. Three of the bottles (pictured above) came from Jacques Puffeney, “the Pope of Abrois”, who grows 7.5 hectares of grapes, only three of which are red. Unfiltered and not fined, these wines are light, but not delicate, rustic, and complex, with an acidity that soars like a finger lifting a skirt.
Tucked between hills in far-eastern France, Jura has four appellations and only two make red. With grapes grown on hillsides, at 250-400 meters, in a region that’s colder than Burgundy to its west, Jura produces red wines that pair beautifully with most any vegetarian dish. It’s the colder temps that lead to later harvests, high acidity, and light bodied wines. Here, blood orange is the closest you’ll get to a fruit bomb. Terroir, yes. But it’s also the two varietals that are native to the area, so loyally sequestered from the modern, new world.
I haven’t been. But I yearn for such a trip. I would happily drink these wines daily, and never tire. The range made available from such a limited region (only 1,600 ha en mass), is a star-bright lesson to any craftsman who cherishes her craft. From our three bottles of Poulsard, one Pinot, one Côtes du Jura, and one Trousseau, we might as well have travelled the heavens and back.
Puffeney‘s Trousseau, Cuvée les Berangeres 2008 is simultaneously puckering and dusty, with cranberry, and blood orange rind and juice. There’s a light woodsy floral note, so natural, this wine is most everyone’s favorite.
Puffeney‘s Poulsard M 2007 is a cloudy, thin garnet. With fruit leather and black pepper, and slightly charred talc, its acidy is all dark citrus and delicious.
Octavin Dorabella Poulsard 2008, by far the funkiest wine of the night. Jennifer described it as “Gowanus in the summer,” but Ellen and I LOVED it. Super stinky with notes of cranberry/grapefruit infused compost, it’s slightly effervescent. And though the elements of stink do subside, the acidity here is a little softer, the wine a little cloudier, and the blood orange aromas are slightly medicinal. Yum.
To pair with the wines, I prepared this Roasted Vegetable and Wheat Berry Salad, using beets, carrots, celery root, and parsnips, by David Lebovitz. The dirty, earthy roots complimented the same said notes found in the wines, and the dried cranberries added acidity to the dish, mirroring some of the fruit notes that we sipped. I would have topped the salad with the juice of a blood orange, but they’re not yet in season, and so, none could be found.
Puffeney’s Pinot Noir, 2008, was my least favorite, though its praises were sung around the table. Here, there is an odd fruit plasticity, with an acidity so dominant that it reduces the potential for any complexity in the wine. And I love acidity, because it compliments the earthy tones found in most vegetarian winter fare.
Arbois Pupillin Ploussard la Chamade 2006, draws acidity from stone. Super minerally and silky with a talc-like acidity, the la Chamade is earthy, with blood orange, and a black pepper finish.
We ended the evening with a blend– Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Arlay 2005–of all three red grapes. Biodynamic, unfiltered, and aged in cask for five years, it’s a beautiful wine that’s representative of the region’s musty fruit notes, with earthy acidity and woodsy spice fragrance.
What I love about these wines is that they appeal to all of my sensibilities–they’re lean and muscular with not an ounce of fat. They’re thoughtful and complex, and beautiful in their natural sense of decay, like the architecture and landscapes I seek when I traveling, yet so vibrant and fresh.