Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Some rare wines of Jura, France

"Jacques Puffeney of Montigny-les-Arsures is among the Jura’s most prestigious, engaging, and (thanks to the rotund amplitude of both his torso and white-bearded visage) easily recognized vignerons, and crafts wines no less distinctive – if much less massive – than their author. With the exceptions of Pinot Noir, vin jaune, and his few sweet wines – all of which are matured in older barriques – Puffeney relies on ancient foudres, of which I have not seen such a collection as his outside of Alsace or Chateauneuf-du-Pape; and he is favorably inclined to long elevage even for non-oxidative lots, which can themselves thus come off as if influenced by flor or other living denizens of the cask. Puffeney’s reds, too – often cited as among the region’s best – are bottled significantly later than the regional norm. He farms roughly 6 acres of Chardonnay, much of it melon a queue rouge; 5 acres of Savagnin; and 7.5 acres of reds, and says that his father – who actively selected and planted at a young age – is to thank for the 50-year average age of vine Puffeney fils now enjoys." -- The Wine Advocate

2004 Puffeney Arbois Vin Jaune...$86.99
Tasted from cask just before bottling – from a second floor “cellar” whose barred windows look onto the street and assure something approaching outdoor temperatures – Puffeney’s 2004 Arbois Vin Jaune displays fascinating scents and flavors of toasted walnut, green olive, sea breeze, lemon and zest all driven by penetratingly high-toned volatile esters. Firmer but also juicier than its 2003 counterpart, it evinces undertones of stone and mouthwatering salinity allied to alkalinity, its finish vibrantly interactive and persistently piquant. This ought to be worth following for more than a quarter century. 
Rated 92-93/100 The Wine Advocate

"Savagnin is the only grape permitted to be used in making the unique and exquisite Vin Jaune. To make a great wine of this type the Savagnin must be both high in sugar and high in acid. Special parcels within the village of Montigny Les Arsures ("Champs Mody", "Les Sauvagny", & "Les Loges") have the potential to produce this hard-to-obtain combination. The Vin Jaune is not made every year. The Savagnin destined for the Vin Jaune must age in foudre at least 6 1/2 years but Puffeney usually waits 8 1/2 years to make a final determination as to whether the appropriate quality level has been reached. Those barrels that have not developed as Puffeney wishes are sometimes bottled as special cuvées of Savagnin, thus preserving only the very best and most promising barrels for later bottling as “Jaune”. NOTE: the Vin Jaune is a dry wine! A meal constructed around the great “Jaune” from Puffeney is a special treat. In our experience, rare is the wine that has the persistence of flavor and ability to enrich and complement food as does a fine Vin Jaune from Jacques Puffeney – use this wine in preparing the cuisine as well – you will not regret it." -- Neal Rosenthal

2009 Puffeney Arbois Savagnin....$34.99
"The Savagnin finds its true home in the Jura. It is speculated that the origin of this grape is the Traminer from northeastern Italy but, to us, the Savagnin of the Jura is a one-of-a-kind grape with the capacity to perform miracles. It is a fickle grape, not easy to ripen, that does best in poor soils infused with marne. Often harvested in mid-to-late October or often into November, Puffeney’s Savagnin is fermented in both steel cuve and wooden foudre; afterwards, the wine is racked into smaller oak barrels for aging, often for two or three year … and sometimes special cuvées are produced that can age for six or more years before release. [These sometimes are the result of a selection process during the aging of the Vin Jaune when Puffeney determines a wine might not have precisely what is needed to qualify as a “Jaune”)" - Neal Rosenthal 

Don't buy this wine if you are planning on it tasting like a classic Chardonnay.  This wine is delicious with many levels of flavors, but it does not taste like classic Chardonnay.
2011 Puffeney Arbois Chardonnay...$23.99
Fermentation is done in cuve; then, the malolactic fermentation occurs in foudre, where the wine spends 18 to 24 months prior to bottling. The wine is not topped-off during the elevage. This classic Jura version of Chardonnay transforms this grape into an entirely different and compelling experience than what one experiences with white Burgundy. The concentration of all elements is exceptional with brisk acidity married to a honeyed-texture and notes of hazelnut, beeswax and the fresh mountain air that infuses the great wines of this region.

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