Jura is France’s smallest wine region, with about 4,000 acres of vineyards, and one of its least well-known. Nestled into the foothills of the Jura Mountain range on the far eastern side of central France near Switzerland, the region includes four geographic appellations. They are Arbois, Côtes du Jura, Etoile and Château-Chalon. There are also two appellations that pertain to the style of wine made, Crémant du Jura and Macvin, which is a liqueur. Jura grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, like its neighbor Burgundy, but is especially admired among cognoscenti for its distinctive regional grapes, which are the white grape Savagnin and the red grape Ploussard. Savagnin is the grape used for the region’s famous Vin Jaune, made from late harvest grapes and vinified somewhat in the manner of Jerez Sherry. The end result is a yellowish, somewhat nutty wine. Savagnin, known locally as Naturé, is also often blended with Chardonnay, known in Jura as Melon d’Arbois. The red grape Trousseau is also grown in Jura.
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.