The Rise of the Jura

Special Quick Tasting Report of New Jura Wines

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Labet Cotes du Jura “Fleur de Savagnin” French White.
The grape Savagnin looks to be either the great grandfather of Gewurtztraminer or more likely a mutation of Traminer, the less aromatic varietal, but regardless of it’s true history the Savagnin is the main grape of the Jura region of France and makes for a fine array of wines from dry to sweet, sherry like to sparkling. While I personal have not developed a taste for the more oxidized styles from the Jura, I am a big fan of the fresh whites from the region and this wine is a lovely and vibrant expression. Domaine Labet is rather old school, but the wines all show loads of terroir and character making them a great reference point for those just getting started with the Jura, and they are amazing food wines. This 2009 Labet Savagnin is brisk and dry with only a hint of straw going with vigorous citrus, melon, minerals and light pear notes. This crisp white has bright layers that make it perfect for seafood, though it really shines with soft creamy cheeses. Thanks to Charles Neal and his Charles Neal Selections for showing me this wine to me and importing them to the US.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2010 Julien Labet “Metis” Les Vins de Julien, Poulsard, Pinot Noir & Trousseau, Jura Red Blend, France.
Could the Jura be the next big thing? Well, maybe, and if so it just might be the younger generation vigerons like Julien Labet that are pushing the envelope and in his case going for “Natural Wines” with organic farming, small yields, and almost no sulfur while of course using native yeasts and wild fermentations. Like Arianna Occhipinti in Sicily and many other young winemakers, it looks like Julien has hit on something special with this approach and I look forward to see where it goes, especially after trying his 2010 Metis. This beautiful and layered red is a blend of Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau with delicate details and sublime balance, this wine shows a deft touch and while it is really cliche to say, it has a wonderful Burgundy like feel and focus. The nose has spring flowers and violets with a touch of game, truffle and spicy dried rose petals before a silky palate of cherry, raspberry, plum and wild strawberry plus a touch of blueberry. This is a seductive and very sexy wine, and without question a star to watch in the future too. The color is what you’d imagine of a wine of such elegance, with a soft ruby hue and the wine has pretty acidity and lift while still being lush and round with a nice lengthy finish that has just the right amount of fruit, spice and mineral tones that linger on. Charles Neal, again, deserve thanks and credit for finding such fun and interesting wines, though he said he was so far only able to persuade Julien Labet to let 30 cases make the trip to the US to date.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

A Special Thank You to Charles Neal of Charles Neal Selections for his time and for showing me these wines, and for his patience for explaining the details of them to me, I’m very grateful!

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