Sunday, February 13, 2011

Percée du Vin Jaune- ‘Un jeune homme’ in Jura

Aboard a special 08h53 train in the morning to Arbois with 99.87% of the populace around me comprising French or at least French speakers, I was headed to the place where Louis Pasteur once lived. Yes, the same Louis Pasteur to whom every microbiologist and people in the processed food and beverage industry owe at least a thank you. Or let’s put it this way, if it was not for preventing the wine from souring, the term ‘pasteurisation’ wouldn’t have been coined. But why would I spend a Sunday morning on a train when I could be happily sleeping in my bed just like I always do?
It was the commune of Arbois in the Franche-Comté region that hosted the Percée du Vin Jaune festival this year. An annual event, the festival is a good opportunity for tasting the otherwise not so widely available Savignin grape based wine. So how could I have missed it!
The picturesque town of Arbois and the Cuisance River passing through it
Photo Courtesy: Mr. Saleh
Avoiding a stampede and collecting our tasting glasses we started our sojourn with fresh Comté purchased immediately upon entering. So why make all the efforts to try a jaune wine?Anything other than ordinary? Well, Yes. Bottled 6 years and 3 months post the harvest (which is usually carried out late), it is a wine that develops its ‘jaune’ (French for yellow) characteristic due to long ageing in barrels and exposure to slight oxidation gives it the peculiar or unique nose and taste. Perhaps unique for those who are patrons. With slight resemblance both in appearance and nose to a Sherry, the wine’s appreciation, as just mentioned earlier, could somewhat be an acquired taste. The Comté cheese happily lends its qualities to make for a great food match though only the cheese wouldn't be enough as a meal! 
The barrel being taken for the ceremonial tapping

With upto 10 sample tastings for Vin jaune and Macvin  to Cremant du Jura and wines from the local grapes like Trousseau and Poulsard to Vin de paille, I was a happy wine enthusiast by the day’s end with a few producers winning my vote of confidence-Domaine de Savagny for their good value Cremant, Badoz Benoit for their Vin de paille and Caveau des Byards for the red wine Rubis, a blend of the 3 local red grapes. And as with all the major wine events these days, the piece of news that made this fete unforgettable was the 57000 Euros that a group of wine lovers spent for a 1774 bottle! With the offload of such a hefty amount, one might wonder if it was the hedonism or speculation (even though one of the group members says it is for drinking) governing the decision. Whatever it was, the tasting glass around my neck with hues of red in the inner layer suggested that I had a good time and I shall remember this day for a long time to come. If not, my souvenirs which are nicely placed on the shelf will keep reminding me to go back next year!


  1. Loved the pics dude .... compliment Mr. Saleh for the pic .... By the way i read u had hang a glass around your neck ?? wow ... thats like an awesome piece of accessory to sport .... ;)

  2. Hey Suneet!I forwarded your comment to my friend,he was more than happy to have been acknowledged for his work(good I didn't have to pay him ;)
    Regarding the glass,have a look at the pic again,it is there.It was certainly a cool accessory but with everyone wearing it that day,it seemed more like a trend.. :)