The Jura region is quite small, a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Burgundy and Switzerland. Five grapes predominate. Three are traditional local varieties. Poulsard is a red grape used mostly in dry reds and sparkling rosés. Red Trousseau needs a lot of sunshine to ripen and only grows in the warmest parts of this cool climate region. White Savagnin (called Nature here) is used in all the region’s appellations for the idiosyncratic vin jaune (‘yellow wine’). The other two grapes are the better known Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (called Melon d’Arbois and Gamay Blanc here). They are used to make dry wines in a fresh fruity international style.
Vin Jaune, like dry fino Sherry that is aged with the yeast called flor resting on its surface, is matured in a barrel under a film of yeast, known as the voile. Vin Jaune shares certain aromas with Sherry, but it is not fortified. Jura is also known for its sweet Vin de Paille (straw wine), from grapes that have been dried on mats of straw, thus concentrating the sugars and flavors. Both Vin Jaune and Vin de Paille are made under the Arbois, L’Etoile and Cotes du Jura appellations. The best Vin Jaune is produced under the Chateau Chalon appellation.
The Jura makes sparkling wines under the appellation Crémant du Jura.