Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crazy Whites and the Wine Lover's Favorite Meal

I wasn't the first person to discover the Jura, but it seems to this uneducated observer that its wines enjoyed obscurity until recently when the wine press seized on it like never before. Such attention has the happy result of increasing consumer demand, which means wider availability; however, the region produces precious little juice, which, for you non-economics majors, means higher prices.

So it goes.

I was overjoyed (seriously, overjoyed) recently to discover the first bottle of Domaine de Montbourgeau I've seen in Chicago at Wine Discount Center. Hailing from l'Etoile in the southern reaches of the Jura, this estate, in the hands of Nicole Deriaux, is a benchmark of the region. Made from Chardonnay (not that I ever could have guessed), Edward Behr reports that this basic bottling from 2004 fermented in tank, then spent three years in barrels and large casks.

This wine may shock the uninitiated. Often likened to sherry, certain winemaking practices in the Jura oxidize the wine, giving it sharpness, but also welcome cleanliness and precision, especially for chardonnay. I can therefore add the Jura to my list of places from which I enjoy expressions of chardonnay, bringing the grand total to two.

The oracles call the Jura verdant land of trenchermen. I don't know what that means, but it yields some crazy good whites. I'm a sucker for a hand-sealed wax cap.

If you're interested in the Jura, you must order AoE 72. And if you don't know the joys of AoE, simply subscribe. The high tariff is worth every penny.

What to eat with such a unique beverage? It may not be original, but whenever I'm in doubt about appropriate fare for a particular wine, we usually end up feasting on roast chicken. Everything from mid-weight whites to mid-weight reds show well next to a juicy, properly seasoned bird. It's an important recipe in any wine geek's repertoire.

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