The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary


A petite and relatively obscure wine region in eastern France, between Burgundy and the Swiss border. Its geographical isolation has helped it to remain a rare bastion of traditional winemaking techniques, and today it produces some of the most distinctive wines in the world. Reds from the Jura are often light-bodied, earthy, berried, and reminiscent of the village wines of Burgundy (though here they are made of local grapes like Poulsard and Trousseau). The true specialty of the region, however, is the Vin Jaune (“yellow wine”) made from the white Savagnin grape. Cloudy, difficult Vin Jaune is made only in the best vintages, and must be aged for at least six years before being released. As it ages under a layer of yeast, known locally as “voile,” the wine slowly oxidizes, leading to complex aromas and flavors that range from walnut skin to sultana to spices and truffles.
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