Jura and Savoie wines with Susan

On Friday, we’re traveling to the Jura and Savoie wine regions of eastern France and opening some crazy cool wine and cheese. The Jura wine region is rather small and located the foothills of the Alps not far from the Swiss border, running parallel to its eastern neighbor, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. A hub of the Jura is Arbois, a town known for some of the best, most obscure Jura wines including vin jaune (yellow wine) and vin de Paille (straw wine). Arbois was also the home of the late Louis Pasteur, microbiologist and chemist famous for his discoveries in the fields of pasteurization and fermentation. In the wine and cheese world, we basically owe Pasteur everything. Seriously. Everything.
 
Savoie, also spelled Savoy, is a French department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France with Jura to the North and Switzerland to the east. Savoie is scattered across four AOCs: Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Isère, and Ain. Savoie has under 2000 hectares of vineyards accounting for a mere 0.5% of French wines. These aren’t large producing regions either, but they’re some of the best and super unique.
 
2012 Domaine de la Tournelle, Fleur de Savagnin - AOC: Arbois ($38)
Grape: Savagnin
This is a great introduction to the wines of the Jura. Made from Savagnin, the region's most celebrated varietal, this is clean, fresh, and slightly oxidative, giving it its stunning Jura trait. Winemakers Evelyne and Pascal Clairet are dedicated to biodynamic on their 6-hectare property, using only native yeasts, no new oak, and they limit their use of addition sulfur. This wine is a stunning starter to Jura whites.
 
2015 Domaine des Ardoisières, “Schiste” Vin des Allobroges - AOC: Vin de Savoie ($58)
Grapes:  Jacquère, Roussanne, Pinot Gris, Mondeuse
Domaine des Ardoisieres was planted during Roman times, then became overgrown with forest, until a passionate group of wino-o’s cleared the vineyard in 1998 and began piecing the steep terraces back together to create what Domaine des Ardoisieres is today. Since 2005, Champagne native Brice Omont has taken over the winemaking and tasting Brice’s wines hint the following characteristics: unique, mineral-driven, and crystalline purity. This white blend is unbelievable. In brief words, it’s the schiste.
 
2014 Chateau de L’Étoile Chardonnay - AOC: L'Étoile ($20)
Grape: Chardonnay
Château de L’Étoile owes its name to the star-shaped fossils that lie just beneath the ground surface. The property was purchased by Auguste Vendelle in 1883, and it has stayed within the family ever since. Today, Alexandre Vendelle oversees the wine production and promotes sustainable practices throughout his vineyards, which are located on the slopes of Mont Muz.
 
2014 Chateau de L’Étoile Trousseau - AOC: L'Étoile ($20)
Grape: Trousseau
The Vendelles’ Trousseau is light and quaffable red, and it’s the perfect wine for the changing season from winter to spring.  Think raspberries and a bit of anise and clove spice in the nose, light-bodied, dry, drinkable, BOOM. Trousseau rocks!
 
2015 Domaine Tissot, Poulsard Vieille Vignes - AOC: Arbois ($31)
Grape: Poulsard
Poulsard is another major red varietal grown in the Jura, and Stéphane and Bénédicte Tissot are legends for being some of the most conscientious, passionate and terroir-driven winemakers in the Jura. Located just north of Arbois, Domaine Tissot has vineyards in Arbois, Côtes du Jura, and Château-Chalon AOC areas. The vineyards are cultivated biodynamically, with no synthetic or chemical pesticides or fertilizers used. Tissot's delicate old vine red made from Poulsard is bottled without any added sulfur (sans soufre).