I’ve tried to write as many posts as I could while on holiday in Jura, but I am once again being swamped with so many photos that have been added to my already-overloaded hard drive. One has to have strong willpower to stay sober and focused when good food and wines are always around. That’s what I think whenever I’m in France. I’ve collected so many cheeses and discovered some great local sparkling wine Crémant du Jura and the best Comte shop, which I will share with you in another post.
The Jura wine tasting happened to start at a local market. Jura wines aren’t cheap so I didn’t want to buy whole bottles to try at the risk of disappointment, especially when I’m not a white wine drinker. Luckily, the golden opportunity to taste and learn about Jura wines came and I went to the market.
This farmer’s market rotates around Jura and it was in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine two weeks ago, which you can catch only once a year. I was worried that the market might be called off because of the rain in the morning but luckily it was on and we went straight to a wine stall.
I tried various white wines of L’Étoile, Arbois and Cote du Jura made with famous Savagnin, Chardonnay, Cuvee of both, Vin Jaune, Vin de Paille, and also reds such as Pinot Noir, Poulsard, etc. I was interested in comparing the tastes of Savagnin in different years and really old Vin Jaune. However, the oldest I found at the first stall was 2006, which was good but didn’t live up to my expectations for Savagnin from Cote du Jura, Savagnin 2005, which was a gift from a Lyonnaise friend of mine.
But I tasted something new, called Macvin du Jura, which is a sweet fortified wine unique to Jura and is drunk as apéritif. It has similar aroma characteristics as Vin Jaune, oak, candied fruit and nuts, but it’s more like brandy with about 17-18% alcohol, whereas Vin Jaune is 13-14%. I could imagine how easy and lovely to sip this wine on its own or with sweet desserts. The thing is that Macvin can be made with red grapes as well.
At another stall, I found Arbois wines that are older and oakier. He even opened Vin de Paille, which I didn’t expect to taste because it’s usually expensive.
I personally preferred this Vin Jaune to the previous one because it was less acidic and more rounded with more nutty flavours. I don’t want to go too technical about the wine making, not right in this post at least, but you can feed your curiosity about Savagnin on Talk-A-Vino and Vin Jaune and Jura wines on the linked websites at the end of the post.
I didn’t know much about Jura wines before I came here, and since then, I’ve learned a lot more about Jura wines. Funnily enough, I have been drinking Jura whites happily, which is a contrast to the attitude I had towards white wines during my Cote d’Or tour. And I think Comte cheese plays a big part in the conspiracy. I get confused whether I drink vin jaune because of Comte or Comte drinks vin jaune, but anyway, after 3 weeks in Jura, now I know why Comte and Vin Jaune are inseparable.
Hey, hello, bonjour! Who’s here? At the market, a good friend of Cyrille, Bernadette, was by a colourful stall adorned with pretty packets of delicious biscuits, sweet and savoury. I tried the samples and among them were biscuits made with Comte and Chevre cheese.
They were too pretty to unwrap and tasted amazing. She is very talented and passionate about what she does, which is cooking and baking. It sounded just like me.
As always, like-minded people attract each other, and when it involves food, it’s more so. Thanks to Cyrille, I was able to visit her dream cafe, Papilles en Fête, where she pours her passion into creating all things delicious. I felt so honoured to be in such an amazing place full of history and stories, and every corner and every piece in her cafe had a touch of her passion and her artful taste.
The evening spent in her palace, much bigger than a palace in spiritual sense, was very inspiring for anyone who is following her or his heart and I will write about the evening of cooking with her in another post – yet, another delay, sorry.
How can I pass the cheese stall, huh? Do I need more cheese? I don’t think so. BUT I have a bad addiction of buying new cheese that I haven’t tried.
These are organic cheeses made with sheep milk, so-called Tomme de Brebis (right), and were pretty awesome, and the blue sheep cheese, which I forgot the name of, was superb. The producer is called Gaec Deux Phileo in Bugey, where AOC Bugey wine is made.
After the market, we drove to a birthday luncheon with Cyrille’s family and I will share the food shots from that day soon because I really think non-French people should know of true French gastronomy, which is far from the miniscule food French food is known as outside France. Being a big eater myself, I shy away from the title when I’m eating with the French.
One evening we opened a bottle of Jura wine and drank with the cheese and spelt bread bought at the market. I didn’t know what “spelt” grain was called in French, but guessing from bits of words I heard, I figured it was spelt and I was glad I got it right. It had been a long time since I last had spelt bread so I was very happy.
There are so many more stories to write with so little time, so please forgive me for the rather rushed post. Au revoir till the next story with an exciting recipe!
- The tasting order for Jura wines – indie producers Part 2 (jurawine.co.uk)
- Vin Jaune – Jura Wine (jurawine.co.uk/the-wines/vin-jaune/)
- Vin Jaune (wikipedia.org)