The Jura wines have buzz amongst a certain sort who love to find a rare grape. Savagnin is hot but also high on the Geek Radar are Ploussard (the new Pineau D'aunis!) and Trousseau (which actually tastes a lot like Pineau d'Aunis). Alongside with the stars of the area, Overnoy and Brignot should be this new guy, the Mr. Roman Polanski look-a-like.
In a slow methodic manner-- each movement seemed punctuated-- he poured Melon de Jura. A cousin of Chardonnay, he explained. To me it seemed like celery seeds in a mineral wash. Speaking of Chardonnay, le Blanc de la Rouge (Chard) was done in a slightly sweet demi-sec, mineral in honey. Fascinating. His Savagnin Les Marnes showed another side of the winemaker, which was in a gently oxidative style, characteristic of the region. Usually when wines go into barrel to age thereís evaporation. Standard wine wisdom is to keep barrels topped up, safe from the ravages of oxygen. Here, however, oxygen isnít considered damaging. It's encouraged. It is the style that marks traditional white wines of the area. Evaporation is allowed. Yeasts form over the wineís surface, referred to as 'la voile,' the veil. (I also am sure I heard 'Roman' called it le poil ---the fur?). These wines aren't for everyone and it sure is fun to watch someone drink one for the first time. A restaurant client of mine tasted one I put on his list, he called me in a panic. "Alice, there is something really wrong with this wine, it's spoiled."
It took some convincing to tell him that the wine was supposed to taste like sherry. I have no idea why the style became popular here in the Jura, but I can conjecture self-defense (from what, though) had something to do with it. Pouring the wine for me, "Roman" brought out some Comte-Extra, shaved off a chunk of nutty cheese, and furnished me with a zingy cheese and wine combos. The cheese made the wine sweeter and the cheese even more complex.
Most overrated wine of the day award? I would give this one to Bruno Duchne who is a bit of a wine star from Collioure. I had just been back to Le Chateaubriand in Paris and the dimwitted waiter was trying to steer us to his wines. "Excellent winemaker," the waiter said.
When I met Bruno, dark and sharp featured, sure is cute, I realized I do know his wines, tasted them last year and didn't like them. Well-made for sure, but
way too new woody. They felt like a going nowhere conversation.
At 8pm I was delirious. My recently cleaned and polished teeth gave way to fuzz and stains. Shawn Mead and I thought about skipping the after party and going in search of pizza. But we gave in to our baser instincts and headed to Party Central--at the Casino of all places where everyone looked out of place. In years past there was nothing conventional about the Dive. Sigh. However we had a very good time rating the cute/handsome level of the day's vignerons.