An hour's drive east of Beaune lies the 1450 hectare Jura umbrella
appellation, comprising the Arbois, Arbois-Papillon, Côtes du
Jura, Chateau-Chalon and
L'Etoile viticultural zones. Chateau-Chalon is the smallest at 690
hectares, exclusively producing the prized sweet wine Vin Jaune, that
was first made in the 14th century.
L'Etoile produces a variet of styles, mainly oxidative Chardonnay, as
well as Vin Jaune and Vin de Paille
The area is dramatically beautiful, as much for its sub-alpine landscape as
for its remarkable wines, which draw on an essentially continental climate, a
multi-faceted and varied terroir (limestone crowns over blue, red and grey
marl), and indigenous varietals of Savagnin, Trousseau and
Poulsard, alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In a style not dissimilar to sherry, a flor or voile is encouraged to grow
on all good Savagnins which effectievly start out as a Vin Jaune, before being
pulled after a few years in cask, undisturbed, to be bottled as Cotes du Jura
(often blended with some Chardonay).
Vin Jaune itself requires 6 years and 3 months to graduate, again
non-ouillees (not topped up), before being bottled in the traditional
62cl 'Clavelin', with the Chateau-Chalon
appellation the finest source.
The red Poulsard and Trousseau make fascinating dry wines, yet also are
blended together with Savagnin when making the delicious Vin de Paille,
which demands low yields of 20 hl/ha, at least 6 weeks shrivelling on straw
mats, followed by 3 years in cask before bottling.
Macvin is an appellation mainly for sweet wines, that sources grapes from
all over the Jura region. Macvin wines are produced by stopping the
fermentation with the addition of the local spirit.