Arbois is the appellation d’Origin Contrôlée for the wine region around the town of Arbois in Jura. Red and white wines are made in the appellation. 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 red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.