Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: savagnin

Wine of the Week

Tradition from Jura

As the rain set in on the rugged coast we wanted a bold wine for the cheeseboard. Luckily this Côtes du Jura was offered by the local store.

Domaine Maire is one of the largest producers of Jura covering 234 hectares of vines, and they sell their wines at affordable prices. The word tradition on the label here refers to a typical blend of the local white grapes varieties ahardonnay and savagnin. Maire’s cuvée comprises around 80% chardonnay and 20% savagnin.

Chardonnay, originating from Burgundy but cultivated in Jura since the 10th Century, has become a native, and is especially well suited on limestone and light soils. The savagnin is typical to Jura and matures slowly on grey marl soils. It’s the ideal grape variety for an oxydative maturing process under a veil of “flor”, referred to locally as “sous voile”. Most of the chardonnay was aged in stainless steel tanks for 2-3 months, the rest on fine lees in wooden vats for the same period of time. A part of the savagnin juices were matured in oak barrels under flor for 8 to 12 months.

Grand Héritage Tradition 2017 (Dom. Maire)

Yellow with green hints; apples and flowers (from chardonnay), flor, butter, roasted almonds and nuts (from the savagnin ageing); full in the mouth, good and persistent acidity, meaty.

Price: Medium

Food: Comté or blue cheeses, tapas, shellfish, paté, charcuterie

Leave a Comment

Wine of the Week

Bourdy’s Château-Chalon

Château-Chalon is, despite the name, an appellation in Jura. The only grape variety used to make it is the savagnin, just like the other vins jaunes, wines matured under a veil of yeast. This producer owns 10 hectares and farms them biodynamically. This includes a half hectare in Château-Chalon AOC. Caves Jean Bourdy uses barrels up to 80 years old for fermentation and aging of the wines. They are known for their extensive back-catalogue of old wines, with château-chalon back to1865.

Château-Chalon 2012 (J. Bourdy)

Yellow with greenish hints. Complex aroma with walnuts, honey and mature cheese. Smooth, nice acidity, long and dry aftertaste.

Price: High

Leave a Comment

Wine of the Week

Tissot Amphore from Jura

The Tissot wines are classics in Jura. Labelled as André & Mireille (Stéphane’s parents), today Bénédicte and Stéphane are in charge, and the Tissot family is among a handful of producers who carry the torch for the whole region.

These are emotional wines, if we dear to use such an expression: If not the wines themselves are, they can at least create emotions. They are made with a deep passion for wine and environment, and it’s nothing industrial or mass-produced about them. The vines are cultivated in a biodynamic way, Demeter certified, it’s all completely natural, free of artificial chemicals, Tissot works with natural yeasts, and -needless to say- the sulphur levels are kept down to an absolute minimum. Because of the diversity of terroir they have decided to make many wines (around 30 different ones) in small quantities, to maintain their individuality.


Bénédicte and Stéphane Tissot

This week’s wines was tasted in our local wine club on Monday this week, along with other exceptional wines from Jura, several of them from Tissot, including a crémant, a late harvest dessert wine and the fortified “Macvin”. The choices could have been many, their Vin Jaune is also exceptional, but in the end I chose to highlight the Amphore.

The Savagnin Amphore is, as you might imagine, made from the savagnin grape variety and aged in amphora. The 20-25 year old vines were grown in soil with a high clay content, the maceration was made in amphoras where it also aged for 6 months, before pressing and maturing for 3 months, then bottled without filtration and without the use of sulphur.

Some words about the savagnin (blanc) is maybe justified: This is a grape from the sub-alpine regions of eastern France. It’s most famous for being the grape used in the typical “yellow wine” (vin jaune) aged under a blanket of flor yeast, just like in the sherry area (hence some similar aromas). But it’s used for a lot more, and over in the high-altitude vineyards of the Swiss Valais region it goes by the name heida, where it makes fresh and crisp dry white wines. There have been many attempts to link it to other varieties such as albariño and gewürztraminer, but all we know by now is that it has some association with (no, not the sauvignon, but…) the traminer varieties, and that it’s part of a whole family of savagnins.


Savagnin Amphore 2014 (Tissot)

Deep orange-brown, somewhat cloudy. Loads of skin contact character in aroma, mostly orange-peel, some nuts, mature apples, spices, some “wild” aromas on the same path as a good lambic. Good concentration, smooth in texture, and with smoky notes in the mouth and aftertaste.

Price: High (but still good value)

Food: Comté, other hard cheeses (such as gruyère), light meat, several types of Asian…

Leave a Comment