The A.O.C. Arbois is perhaps the best known to folks who are familiar with the region. Located in the northern part of the Jura, it is also the largest in size, at approximately 800 hectares. Along with the requisite limestone outcroppings, the area also contains a higher percentage of marls and clays in the sub and topsoils, which lend themselves to the production of red wine. For this reason you’ll find more of the Jura’s tasty reds in the northern part of the territory than in the south.
For a multitude of reasons, the town of Arbois is a must stop if you ever decide to travel to tiny region on the eastern side of France. In addition to tasting some of the regions most exciting wines, there are plenty of other culturally stimulating in which to partake!
Several of my favorites, all located on or a 2 minute walk from the main square include:
–The museum of Louis Pasteur (Who grew up in Arbois. The french chemist and microbiologist known most famously for the creation of the rabies vaccine, the process of “pasteurization”, and an incredible number of discoveries relating to modern germ theory)
– Jean-Paul Jeunet An outstanding 2 star Michelin Restaurant (want a taste of the Jura?)
–les Jardins de St. Vincent –a one stop wine cave just off the main square. The best wines that the region has to offer, all under one (small) roof. Sommelier-Caviste Stéphane Planche (also the sommelier at Jean-Paul Jeunet) will be your expert guide.
– Chocolat Hirsinger (An amazing chocolatier producing edible works of art- located right on the main square)
Incidently, wines produced in the commune of Pupillin are permitted to append its name to the Arbois classification, as exemplified by Emmanuel Houillon’s label above.
In Arbois A.O.C. production of the types of wines are permitted:
Sweet Wine –Vin de Paille
Macvin du Jura
Cremant du Jura
In the Arbiois A.O.C. production of the varietals are permitted:
Red: Trousseau, Pinot Noir, Poulsard
White: Chardonnay, Savagnin, Melon Que Rouge (a most obscure varietal!)
Top producers in the Arbois A.O.C.
-André & Mireille Tissot (Stéphane Tissot)
– Emmanuel Houillon/Pierre Overnoy
-Domaine de la Tournelle
Poultry, like this Cornish game hen with roasted yams that I made the other daywork really well with the often more earthy and robust flavors found in game birds like quail, pigeon or squab.
Wine/Producer: Jacques Puffeney
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Sub-Region/A.O.C. : Arbois
Geology/Soil: Limestone, Blue Marl, Clay.
Importer: Neal Rosenthal
US Retail: $30
Jacques Puffeney’s father was a vineyard worker who owned a modest plot land in the village of Montigny Les Arsures (just around the corner from Arbois). Jacques made his first wine at the age of 17 but, however in order to earn a living, he also worked as a “saleur de Comte”, making the fabled cheese of his region. Petit a petit, Jacques acquired more vineyards throughout the area.
Presently the domaine consists of 7.5 hectares, all in the A.O.C. of Arbois. His skills and dedication in both the vineyards and the cave has earned him the nickname the “the Pope of Arbois”. Puffeney’s Pinot Noir is one of the few familiar wines in the Puffeney lineup, as Pinot Noir is considered an “international varietal” and both Trousseau and Poulsard are exclusive to the Jura.
What a great example of cool climate Pinot Noir! Red berry fruits and high tones of herbs and mouth cleansing acid make this red a great wine for the table, and a great wine for conversation.