This is a small region stretching north-south close to the border with Switzerland and Germany. Production is small and the wines are consumed mostly locally. If there is not a wonderfully unique white wine (vin jaune or yellow wine) in existence Jura would probably not be as well-known. There are 12 appellations in Jura. The key ones are:
Côtes-du-Jura and AOC Arbois: The majority of production of both red and white is similar in style to its western Burgundy neighbour, made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Some reds are made from 2 indigenous grapes, Trousseau and Poulsard.
Chateau-Chalon: This appellation produces only Vin Jaune (yellow wine). Yellow wine does not conform to any norm of wine making in France. The wine is made entirely of a local white grape called Savagnin and is vinified like other white wines. But the fermentation process is deliberately kept slow and long to eliminate all sugar content to render it extra dry. Then the wine is transferred into oak barrels and stored in cool dry cellars for 6 years and 3 months before it is bottled in a strange stubby wide-shouldered bottle of 63cl.(instead of the normal bottle of 75cl.) The resulting wine is very dry, deep yellow in colour and has a rich mellow subtle flavour. The total production area is 45 hectares (smaller than a medium-sized Chateau in Bordeaux) therefore the wine is hard to come by and expensive but well worth the effort.
L’Etoile: This appellation is larger than Chateau-Chalon and produces some yellow wine along with a special aromatic dry white wine blended from Chardonnay, Savagnin and Poulsard. Another special Jura wine is produced here -‘vin de paille’ - straw wine. This wine is sweet but the grapes are not late-harvested or noble-rotted. They are simply left to dry for about 3 months spread on straw mats to concentrate the sugar content in a cool cellar before the wine making process begins.
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