Just over a month ago Good Food Revolution, along with our friends Evan Saviolidis (Wine Savvy, Niagara Falls) and The Tuxedo Wine Experience (Quebec) hosted our third Wines of Jura Tasting.

I can still remember our very first tasting around three years ago at Toronto’s Spoke Club. Despite having been huge fans of the wines of the region for years,  we were literally overwhelmed at the turnout. On that extremely warm day in that packed lower gallery we came to the understanding that we were going to require a larger venue for future Jura endeavours… a much larger venue.

The following year we rented the rather odd split-level penthouse suite of the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel for the affair. Although the venue was a devil to find and looked a little like the kind of place where one would shoot adult entertainment, again the response was truly staggering.

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And so to 2014… yet again in anticipation of a larger crowd we hired the 6th floor of Toronto’s historic Burroughes Building, and considering the fact that we had almost 300 of Toronto’s top Sommeliers, Purchasers, Journalists, Wine Students, and Wine Lovers there, I’m extremely glad that we did! The fact that such a small region is capable of generating such a loyal following speaks volumes regarding the love for such wines in our city. While it is often said that the wines of Jura are much more popular in Quebec than Ontario, judging by the response to this year’s show I am wondering if this is still the case.

As always it is the more forward-thinking Toronto wine lists that lead the charge. While so many stagnant Toronto wine lists make me yawn, still favouring the tried and tested, the past few years have seen a sea change in the manner in which smaller lists are being curated. Presently it would be quite rare to see a day when establishments such as Chantecler, Archive, and Splendido do NOT have a Jura offering on by the glass.

Whilst it has been said that Jura wines are not for everyone, there has been a significant change in winemaking styles over the past decade and we are now seeing much fresher, more vibrant wines than ever before, wines that don’t scare the horses. It is these wines I believe are more suitable for a much larger audience, not just a tiny cabal of nerdy Sommeliers and wine geeks, and there was much evidence of this in the wines exhibited at our 2014 show.

Below are some select quotes, overheard comments, and honest feedback from the day’s proceedings:

“How on earth is this guy not represented? (Philippe Bornard) His wines are killer.”

“This is the nerdiest tasting I have ever been to… and that’s a good thing!”

“I wish that more the of these Winemakers spoke English… it would be great to speak with them a little more about their wines”

“Woah! Mr. B and Dean Tudor are back up at the buffet table again!”

“I felt that the standard of the Poulsard and Trosseau wines was higher than ever before… fantastic”

“So are these natural wines? They smell as if they could be natural…”

“Okay, it’s really busy here, but where are all the Wine Agents?”

“Oh, the Wine Agents are here, it’s just that they are younger agents that you probably don’t recognise… not that many of the old school agencies get excited by Jura”

“And there are too many of these young girls, these students and young female Sommeliers… they are getting in the way, it’s like the last one of these Jura tastings, there are just too many of them getting in the way of all us from the Wine Writers’ Circle”

“Are you kidding me?”

“For me it was all about the Chardonnays… the quality is right up there. I’d put some of these in 1er Cru Burgundy territory easily”

“OH MY GOD… that Pinot is so going on my tasting menu, where can I get it from?”

“I love how you organise an academic tasting before the walkaround… it really helped me understand the region”

“Ah, the Jura Tasting. Always my favourite tasting of the year”

“Hold on, are you not supposed to be having a baby today? Why are you here?”

“I want to open a wine bar that only serves Jura wines”

“I think you should have a drink of water”

“Seriously though, it would be fantastic…”

“Here… drink this water…”

“So which Tissot is the best?… I always get confused”

“I like the bald one, he’s my favourite”

“Smell this… is that terroir or brett? I think it’s terroir…”

“Evan Saviolidis’ seminar was the highlight for me. I learned so much from that. Thank you”

“That Winemaker with Nicholas Pearce is the hottest Winemaker I have ever seen… her wines are really good too… I’ve been tasting at that table for the past 30 minutes…”

“There were so many fascinating wines. Thanks for putting on such a varied and interesting tasting in such a great venue”

Out thanks go out to both Anya Spethman and Kerri Henman for their assistance upon the day.

Here’s to the Wines of Jura in 2015!

Jamie DrummondEdinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution
… And that was a smashing tasting.