Thursday 2 October 2014

Wink Lorch's Jura

Our love of Jura wine increases slowly but inexorably. At first, it seemed rather repellant but as we always say what you may hate has the potential to become something you love; only indifference is likely to endure.

Jura certainly has a claim to be one of the world's most interesting wine-producing areas. It is small, relatively remote and has tremendously characterful indigenous grape varieties including Savagnin, Melon a queue rouge (a local variant of Chardonnay), Poulsard and Trousseau . There are others however about which growers keep quiet: Argant, Gueuche Noir, Mezy, Enfarine, Petit and Gros Beclan (aka Peloursin), Reze, Sacy Blanc, Peurion and Corbeau are also grown even if they are not indiginous.

Jura has also not been industrialized or even commercialized to any degree.Its wines are not widely available. They need to be sought-out. The people of the region also seem to be characterful, unspoilt and interesting. Besancon was the scene of a terrible massacre after the revolution. The town remained royalist and suffered so badly for it that it has never really recovered. Great Jurassiens have included Pierre-Joseph Prudhon, Victor Hugo, Gustave Courbet, Louis Pasteur (rather important for wine the world over) the Lumiere brothers and in our day, Raymond Blanc who writes a warm forward to this new - ish book by the eminent wine writer Wink Lorch.

The Jura received excellent coverage in Andrew Jefford's 'The New France' but this is the first entire book we know of in English given over to the region and excellent it is too. We have mentioned it already in this blog but were side-tracked by the fact we were to spend the summer in Italy and so have needed to give our attention to Ian D'Agata's no less welcome 'Native Wine Grapes of Italy'. Now we are able to return to 'Jura Wine' and give it our full attention and appreciation.

It is a tremendous achievement of years of research and study. One cannot imagine any stone that has been unturned but Wink Lorch knows one or two and apologizes in the very few instances where her knowledge is not completely authoritative. In short, everything down to the occupations of the Jura winemakers' siblings is included so as to make the book what one imagines is the last word on the subject - at least for the time being. Of course the world of wine is moving very fast these days and we hope that Wink Lorch will have the opportunity to keep this marvelous treasure chest of information up to date in further editions.

We hope so but getting the first edition onto the market was difficult. It was self-published via a Kickstarter campaign to which we were proud to have contributed. It was Chambers Wines of New York in the person of Sophie Barrett who invited those on their mailing list to participate. It has been well worth it from everybody's perspective.

We hope the book will encourage wider appreciation of Jura wine and also others to publish works on wine-growing areas in need of closer attention.This is a model example of how to do it!

Slotovino cash prize competition, 2014.

We were so chuffed with our blend of Solaris and Mueller Thurgau being also found in a respected and serious vineyard such as Sedlescombe (see the two posts below) that we wondered what other home blends might work.

Should we hold another Slotovino competition? The last one in 2012 was for the first person to find out what grapes went into the S. Korean red wine 'Happy Day'.

An American gentleman from Rockville, MD was actually able to tell us that one of the grapes was Campbell Early and we sent him the cash prize of 100 Korean Won. This time we could have entrants suggest hitherto untried blends and choose the most resonant one. Perhaps L'En de l'oeil and Koshu to make a beautifully fragrant white for example or a red from maybe Groppello and Corvina. You see, it doesn't have to be exotic, and now we mention it why hasn't someone blended Groppello with Corvina already?

Look out for the announcement of this 2014 edition; once again there will be a munificent cash prize.

No-spray vines - post scriptum

Can you make out the print on the label, dear Slotovino reader? It is the back label of Sedlescombe's white wine from 2013. What does it say under 'Varieties'? Can you see 'Solaris and Rivaner'?

If you have read our last post (the one just below this one) you might remember in Trento this summer we found lots of Solaris and it was not to our taste being rather too sweet for what was not intended as a dessert wine. We cut it with some disappointingly acidic Mueller Thurgau to make something - to our surprise - quite drinkable. We even recommended this as a  home blend in case by some extreme coincidence anyone found themselves with two opened bottles at the same time: one of Solaris and one of Mueller-Thurgau.

Well, if you haven't already guessed, Rivaner is just another name for Mueller Thurgau. Coincidence of was it great minds thinking alike? What are the chances of that?

Sedlescombe is one of the tiny handful of English Organic wine producers (Demeter certified, no less). We have admired their Regent in the past. Sedlescombe is near Hastings in Sussex.