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A Jura Savagnin

We spent a few wonderful days with friends in the French countryside in Condal. Last evening we had an opportunity to taste a wine from the Jura wine region of France. We were forewarned about this wine. The aroma immediately reminded me of a sherry. The color was a yellow to dark yellow and assorted nuts on the aroma was evident. Upon further analysis, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts were picked up with a hint of curry. The wine was oxidized and this was done deliberately. The nutty aftertaste lasted a long time and was still picked up a half hour later.

The 1989 Chateau-Chalon was produced from the best vineyards growing Savagnin. The wine was fermented and and then put in the barrel for six years, three months. During that time, the barrel was not topped off. This allowed for the oxidation. However to protect the wine from turning into vinegar, the oxidation process had to be controlled. A yeast strain was used in the fermentation that forms a layer (voile) on the top of the wine. This layer protects the wine below allowing for a slow oxidation over six years.

Unlike the sherries that I have had that were creamy and had some degree of sweetness, 1989 Chateau-Chalon was lighter in body and dry. The long aftertaste was surprising, generally I consider a few minutes as being long; a half-hour is very long. Kathy and I enjoyed the wine while eating a salad. We discussed with our hosts, Melba and Michel the foods that would pair well with the Chateau-Chalon. Fish seemed to be the general suggestion.

If you are adventurous, try wines from the Jura made with the Savagnin grape.


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