I have to admit that while my heart belongs to Burgundy, this week, I have strayed east and become enamored with the wines from Jura (a cool climate region located between Burgundy and Switzerland), especially the wines of Jacques Puffeney, or the “Pope of Arbois,” as he is known to colleagues and friends who know him well.
Puffeney’s father was a vineyard worker who owned a small parcel of land and Jacques worked in the local cheese cooperative to supplement the family income. He produced his first wine at 17 and with time expanded the family domaine to 7.5 hectares all in the Arbois appellation.
Puffeney produces some of the best wines in the region in a traditional style. The reds are fermented in cuve and aged at least two years in barrel and the white are left to age in barrel to develop characteristics that define the best of the classic Jura wines.
Ever since he first began half a century ago, Puffeney has always been very respectful of both terroir and the indigenous grapes of the Jura:
The Poulsard grape, for example, is a native and makes light colored wine with a distinctive grey hue. Puffeney’s Arbois Rouge Poulsard “M” 2011 is quite intense.
The Trousseau, also a native from the Montigny region of Arbois, and Puffeney’s ruby red Arbois Rouge Trousseau 2011 sets the standard.
And of course, there is the Vin Jaune, the most famous of the Jura wines. Puffeney’s Vin Jaune 2005, considered one of France’s best wines, is made only when his Savagnin grapes from certain parcels reach very high sugar and acidity levels, to give it that sherry-like taste.
So, what would I pair all this up with?
The Poulsard with some charcuterie, the Trousseau with game, especially grouse (if you happen to know a hunter or a butcher who knows one) or a ribeye and the Vin Jaune with cheese like Comte that can match its intensity or a good hearty chicken dish.
All Puffeney’s wines are intense and mineral and share a finesse and elegance. They should age nicely.
But mostly, they are simply delicious.
2011 Arbois Rouge Poulsard “M”
2011 Arbois Rouge Trousseau
2005 Vin Jaune