February 18, 2016

A Taste of Franche-Comté at Paris Grocery!

Bonjour Mes Amis,
Just east of Burgundy, in the region known as the Franche-Comté, lies the department of the Jura . The Jura boasts a beautifully diverse landscape of valleys, forests, countryside,  and mountainous terrain. This lends to its rich variety of French delicacies, unique wines, and a wide range of cheeses. At Paris Grocery, we have assembled our favorite products from the region so that you can taste the delicacies of the Franche-Comté!

Cheese of the Jura
Comte $25.99/lb
As a method for storing cheese during long winters in the Jura, farmers produced a hard cow’s milk cheese, which they compressed into impressive wheels ranging 65-120 pounds each. Our Comte is slightly sweet and fruity, with brown butter and hazelnut notes that melt in your mouth.

Morbier $22.99/lb
Named after the village in the Jura, Morbier was traditionally made with a layer of ash running horizontally through the middle to separate the morning milk and the evening milk. While today’s cheese is made from one milking, the characteristic ash remains. A supple, earthy cheese with grassy notes and a delightfully pungent aroma. 

Douceur du Jura $25.99/lb
Translated as Delicacy of the Jura, this washed-rind disc is a reblochon-style cheese made in the Jura mountains. Soft and buttery, with sweet onion and nut notes. A cheese that lives up to its name!

Wines of the Jura

While Franche-Comté is widely acclaimed for its cheeses, the region is far less known for its wines. Located on the eastern fringes of France, in the foothills of the Alps, the wine region of the Jura is somewhat out of the wine mainstream. Yet, its isolation is at least in part responsible for the distinctive and intriguing nature of its wines. The vineyards of Jura, produce one of France’s most curious, sought-after wines, the sherry-like vin jaune, or ‘yellow wine,’ as well as the luscious, sweet vin de paille, ‘straw-wine,’ and dry whites, reds, and sparkling wines from both Burgundian and rare, indigenous grape varieties: Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Pinot Noir, and Trousseau. Newly fashionable, the wines of Jura are being rediscovered by a new generation of wine lovers, and are fast becoming more widely available—a perfect chance to discover them for yourself at the Paris Grocery!

The grape varieties:
Chardonnay, sometimes also known as Melon d’Arbois, this widely-distributed white Burgundy strain has been native to the Jura for some time and accounts for more than half the acreage under vines. Perhaps a touch fruitier than its Burgundian cousin, and is often blended with Savagnin to produce wines that are unique to the Jura region.

Savagnin, the king of the Jura varieties, and the basis for the famous, oxidized vin jaune and the sweetvin de paille. However, since the late 1990s, a new breed of fresh, unoxidized, Savagnin has emerged, and has caused a stir amongst traditionalists, not to mention, wine lovers.

Poulsard, native to the Jura and widely-planted in the northern part of the region. Poulsard makes a delicately-fruited and quaffable red wine, often mistaken for a rosé, due to its light color. The best Poulsard wines come from Pupillin, near Arbois.

Trousseau, another grape that is indigenous to the Jura, but one that has seen a serious decline as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay become ever more popular. It produces powerful, well-structured wines, with ageing potential, and is often blended with Poulsard.

A special mention must be made for Macvin de Jura, a powerful vin de liqueur that is produced by arresting the fermentation of the grape juice by adding local marc, or eau de vie. This sweet but curiosly earthy drink should be served cool as an aperitif or with sweet dishes. It has been made since the 14th century and has been awarded its own appellation, created in 1991.

A sample of Jura wines.

Domaine Labet Chardonnay ‘Fleurs’ 2012 $22.99
A great entry point into the wines of the Jura, this topped-up Chardonnay comes from 20-to-30-year-old vines. It is not oxidative, but it is distinctive. It has bright fruit (green apple, tinged with citrus notes), hints of rose petals, almond, and lovely minerality, all with a touch of honey that makes it a fabulous food wine.  Juicy, bright, with a subtly creamy palate.

Tissot Arbois Savagnin 2011 $42.00
“The 2011 Arbois Savagnin is produced with grapes grown on clay, Triassic soils, from young vines aged under a veil of yeasts for two and a half years. He wants to think about this wine as a Manzanilla Sherry — a wine you can put in the fridge and drink as an aperitif. I quite liked the idea…”
91 points, Wine Advocate

Chateau d’Arlay Cotes du Jura Blanc 2008 $38.00
The Cotes du Jura Blanc is a blend of two thirds Chardonnay and one third Savagnin that were fermented together and then aged for four years. This follows the tradition when the varieties were planted together in the vineyard. It has an aromatic nose with notes of quince, baked apples, some spices and no oak whatsoever. It’s dominated aromatically by the Savagnin, but the palate has more in keeping with the Chardonnay, with nutty flavors on the finish.

Chateau d’Arlay Vin Jaune 2005 $90.00
A dry, powerful wine, with a persistent nose of hazelnuts, walnuts, candied fruit ( figs, raisins ), mushrooms, truffle, and spice. Vin Jaune is made with Savagnin grapes, then matured nearly 7 years in the barrel, and subject to natural evaporation, without racking, topping or the addition of sulfites, under a carpet of yeast. With richness and complexity of flavors, this is not unlike a dry sherry in style and may be drunk as an aperitif.

Chateau d’Arlay Vin de Liqueur Macvin du Jura Rouge  $55.00
The NV Macvin du Jura Rouge is made exclusively with Pinot Noir must, which is then blended with marc and aged for four years (shorter than the white). It has aromas of cherries in liqueur and spices, with a powerful palate and very intense flavors lifted by the alcohol. We also stock the Macvin Blanc.

À plus!
Kelsey and Manuel