Why Jura, you may ask? Because it’s one of the unheralded wine destinations of the world. OK, it’s not sexy, nor is it well known so people won’t get excited when you tell them you went to Jura. But let me assure you that you won’t regret a visit and you will be amply rewarded.
We started our tour in Besançon and we saw very few tourists. What a pity! It’s a beautiful historical city with a lot of charm. Our hotel in the old town put us steps from everything. It was the hometown of Victor Hugo and the Ampere Brothers, to name a few. We had an invigorating guided walking tour followed by dinner at le Manège, a gem of a restaurant.
Our next day brought us to Arbois, the nexus for Jura wines. It’s a sleepy town of 2000 people but it has a two star Michelin restaurant, JP Jeunet, where we had lunch. It’s also home to the Best Sommelier of France, Philippe Troussard, and the Best Chocolatier of
France, Edouard Hirsinger where we had a private tour by Edouard himself, a very moving and educational experience. (Would you like some of his recipes?) We also had a great lunch at Les Caudalies where France’s Best Sommelier selected our wines.
Arbois is also Louis Pasteur’s hometown and we had a chance to visit his home and lab where he did most of his experiments.
We also had our first winery visit with Frederic Lornet, who specializes in a modern version of the savagnin. This is an indigenous grape that is waiting to be discovered by wine lovers. But beware: there are 2 versions: the modern and the traditional oxidized which requires an acquired taste. We tasted his Blanc Naturé (savagnin non oxidated); Blanc Chardonnay/Savagnin blend; Trousseau des Dames (my favorite red Jura wine because of its fruitiness and body); Arbois Vin Jaune; and the Vin de Paille, a sweet dessert wine made from raisinated grapes left to dry on a bed of straw.