You know, those dinners, everything is perfect; the food, wine, company, and atmosphere. You wish it could go on; you want to linger longer and enjoy this moment. Channel your inner French and pour a few after-dinner sips and maybe a few nibbles to pair alongside. Macvin du Jura and Vin de France Passerille are two after-dinner wines worth seeking. And those pairing nibbles, a Pain d’ Epices (French Spice Loaf), Macvin Pears, and Roquefort will keep the night’s memories alive.
This month the French Winophiles are pouring wines from the French Jura, a mountainous wine-growing region located in eastern France between Switzerland and Bourgogne. While this wine-growing region is small, vineyards extend only 48 miles from north to south and covers about 5000 acres, the average quality is high, and only about 10% of an already small production is exported. (I ordered my wines from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant)
The 5 Authorized Grapes of Jura
- Chardonnay (white)
Majority of Jura’s white wines are made from this grape
- Savagnin (white)
Native to northeast France and southwest Germany
Produces wines with high acidity and alcohol
Used to craft Jura’s “vin jaune”
- Poulsard (red)
Native to Jura
Used to craft pale-colored reds, rosés, Crémant du Jura Rosé, and also part of the blend in Vin de Paille
- Pinot Noir (red)
Red wines, Macvin du Jura, and Crémant du Jura, are produced from this grape variety
- Trousseau (red)
Believed to be native to Jura, it is also the same grape as Portugal’s Bastardo
Produces tannic and intensely pigmented wines
Jura’s Wine Styles
The Jura winegrowing region produces dry white and red, crémant, Macvin, Vin Jaune, and Vin de Paille.
This liqueur dates back to the 14th century. It is made from unfermented grape must and blended with one-third Marc du Jura. It is aged for at least ten months. The final alcohol by volume is between 16-20%. It is mainly crafted from Chardonnay; however, all five authorized grape varieties may be used. Look for notes of raisins, caramel, honey, and spices. Red and rosés may also show cherries and blackberries.
Vin Jaune (yellow wine)
This wine gets its name from its golden yellow color. It is native to the Château-Chalon AOC where only Savagnin may be used. The wine undergoes an aging process in wooden barrels that are not topped up. This process exposes the wine to oxygen and develops a film of yeast known as “voile” or veil. The wine is left untouched in the barrel for five years and may not be bottled for six years, three months from its harvest date. On the palate, this wine may display notes of walnuts, apples, dried fruits, and ginger.
Vin de Paille(straw wine)
This sweet wine is made from Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard and/or Trousseau. The grapes are harvested and dried for at least 6 weeks in plastic or wooden crates. The dehydrated grapes are usually pressed around January. After a slow fermentation, the wine does not ferment to complete dryness but is naturally sweet with a final 14-15% alcohol by volume. The wine is aged for at least 18 months in barrels and may not be released until three years after the vintage. It is sold exclusively in half bottles (375 ml). This wine develops notes of candied fruits, honey, caramel, and marmalade.
Sources Used: Wine Scholar Guild and Jura Wines
My Tasting Notes
2010 Francois Rousset-Martin Vin de France Chardonnay “La Chaux Passerille,” Côtes du Jura
10% abv | $87.00 Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant | Chardonnay
The Chardonnay grapes for this dessert wine come from organically farmed 30-year vines in the Côte de Jura. The soils are limestone, gray, and white marl. The grapes are dried for several months in wooden crates and then pressed and aged for 6.5 years in barrels without topping up. This wine is similar to the Jura region’s “Vin de Paille,” but made in a sweeter style with lower alcohol and therefore is labeled “Vin de France.”
Pale amber in color. Aromas of caramel, orange blossoms, and honey. On the palate, sweet with balanced acidity and medium(+) body. The texture is smooth like honey and flavor notes of honey, caramel, apricot, and candied orange peel. A delicious wine that keeps you sipping, well balanced, with a lingering finish.
2014 Francois Rousset-Martin Macvin du Jura Chardonnay “5 ans d’age”
17% abv | $90.00 Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant | 100% Chardonnay
The Macvin is made from unfermented Chardonnay must blended with one-third Marc du Jura (obtained from distilling Jura wine pomace). The wine is then aged for five years in barrels.
Deep golden in color. Spicy aromas leap out of the glass. On the palate, sweet with balanced acidity, complex exotic flavors of spices, candied dried oranges, honey, pears, baked apples, and toast. An alluring wine that lingers in my mouth and memory.
My Food Pairing Notes
Emphasizing the flavor notes in both wines, I paired them with a French Pain d’ Epices and pears sautéd in a little Macvin. To complete the after-dinner plate, a slice of Roquefort cheese was the perfect contrasting texture of creaminess against the acidity in the wines – and salty meets sweet.
Pain d' Epices
- 1 9 X 5- inch loaf pan
- 5½ + tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + more for the pan
- 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/3 cup natural almond flour - super fine I used Bob's Red Mill
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 large egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with butter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Mix in the honey, melted butter, and egg yolk. Mix well to combine.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then unmold and let cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Also good the next day.
- 5 Barlett Pears, just ripe
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup fine white sugar
- 1/2 vanilla pod, sliced open lengthwise
- 1 large strip organic lemon peel
- 3½ tablespoons Jura Macvin
- 3½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Peel and core the pears and slice into 2/3-inch slices.
- In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat, once the pan is hot, add the pear slices without overlapping. Sear them for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden in color. Transfer the sautéd pears to a plate.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, add the sugar, vanilla pod, and lemon peel. Stir and mix together. Add the pears back to the pan and stir coating them gently with the mixture, cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add the Macvin, lemon juice, and salt to the pan, reduce for about 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat. The sauce should be thickened but not caramelized. Serve along side the Pain d' Epices.
Discover more wines from the Jura wine region with the French Winophiles
• Camilla at Culinary Cam shares “Lamb Sausage-Stuffed Ravioli + Domaine Rolet Arbois Vieilles Vignes Poulsard 2018”
• Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Crémant du Jura: A traditional yet different sort of bubbly”
• Lynn at Savor the Harvest shares “Change your 2023 Wine Routine, Reach for the Jura!”
• Jane at Always Ravenous shares “After Dinner Sips From the French Jura to Linger Over”
• Gwendolyn at Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley shares “Enjoying Jura’s Wine and Cuisine: Biodynamic Champ Divin Crémant du Jura Brut Zéro + Seared Scallops”
• Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Crémant du Jura & Rösti – blurring the borders and blending French and Swiss culture”
• Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Caves Jean Bourdy and Comté Cheese: Jura Classics“