By Jamie Drummond
On Friday the 20th of April, Good Food Revolution hosted a phenomenally successful tasting of the wines of Jura in the three story penthouse suite of the Soho Metropolitan Hotel. Last year’s event at The Spoke Club was so well attended that this year we felt it was essential to accomodate a larger group of invited guests and hence we chose what panned out to be a superb location, if a little strange… it was continually pointed out to me that it looked like the backdrop to many a film from “Le Cinema”.
The wines of Jura are often polarizing, and this has never been hammered home for me quite as much as it was upon that afternoon.
Over 170 tasters swirled, slurped, spat, and swallowed a huge selection of wines from 25 of the region’s producers who were showcasing their whites, reds, crémants, vins jaunes, vins de pailles, and macvins, each with their own unique takes upon the Pinot Noir, Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau, and Chardonnay grape varietals.
The response to the wines was almost unanimously positive, with Sommeliers, Restauranteurs, Wine Importers, and Journalists praising the overall quality of the wines poured, all lamenting the sad fact that we just do not see enough of these wines in the Ontario market.
Many of the wines of the Jura can be challenging, that is for sure, but it is this particular Jura character, a true sense of place, that makes the wines so alluring for those of us who “get” them. In my 20 years in the wine business I have discovered no other region that gives me such a fire in my loins, or should I say no other region that genuinely excites me quite as much, but I am discovering that not everyone shares my passions.
Wine Writer Dean Tudor was extremely critical of the wines, giving them a 3 out of 10 for quality in his review of the tasting. A few days later we spoke of his dislike of the wines on offer, and he stated that he found the greater majority of them to be oxidized and dirty. Whilst I have the greatest of respect for Mr. Tudor, I would certainly beg to differ, but then again I have always understood that the Jura’s wines are certainly not for everyone. Perhaps, as he suggested, my European upbringing has led to me having a much more open mind and palate when it comes to such matters.
Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
In a world awash with industrial, homogenized, cookie-cutter, international-style bottlings I find the idiosyncratic personalities of Jura wines to lift the soul and give me hope for the future of true Vins de Terroir.
The wines of the Jura are truly singular. They could come from no other place on this planet. They are unashamedly Jura. And this is why I love them so.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the wines poured that day.
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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… and he apparently has a “European” palate… what a load of cobblers.