The First of Many

The First of Many

Posted by Connor Kennedy on May 11 2022 2:54pm

I have big shoes to fill. Veronika's done a fantastic job writing this blog, and we'll all be missing her keen insights. She's the sort of person you wanna share a cool, unique bottle with. My name is Connor, and I'm just some guy who likes wine. I don't have a favorite grapes, regions, or styles of wine; if it's well-made and paired well, I dig it. 

There is nothing quite like a wine from Jura. Straddled between Burgundy and Switzerland, this tiny wine region produces some of the most distinctive wines in the world. Some of the white wines are deliberately exposed to oxygen during the winemaking process in a style called sous voile, imparting upon the wine with nutty flavors reminiscent of a sherry. Though many producers now emulate the wines from Australia to California, sometimes it is best to go to the source of it all. This wine, “Savagnin Les Budes” from Domaine de Montbourgeau, is not made in the sous voile style, but in the ouillé method, meaning “topped off”.  Instead of leaving the wine partially exposed to air in the barrel, the ouillé involves filling the barrel with the wine to limit such exposure. The result is an elegant and supple expression of the Savagnin grape, one of the hallmark varietals of the Jura region and a varietal that rarely ceases to surprise me. 

Jura wines have always been fascinating to me, by and large for their individuality and their commitment to ancient traditions. They have long been overlooked, especially relative to the attention their neighbors in Burgundy receive. But there has been an upsurge in international interest in the wines in the past decade or so, resulting in more and more fascinating bottles finding their way to the United States. The more the merrier! Domaine de Montbourgeau produces some of the best of these bottles being one of the most renowned Jura estates, with its vineyards first being planted back in 1920 by Victor Gros. His granddaughter Nicole Deriaux runs the domaine now, and is responsible for gorgeous wines like this “Savagnin Les Budes”. They sit in a tiny appellation called l'Etoile, which sits in the southwestern part of Jura. This Domaine is certainly one of the paramount producers from this petite village. 

The limestone-rich soil here is filled with fossils, which is no surprise once you realize the term “Jurassic” was coined by what was found in the region. I’m speculating, but perhaps that’s what gives this Savagnin its unique and persistent minerality, evident right from the nose. Coupled with it was a delicate aroma of white flowers, something that would have been overwhelmed by oxidative qualities if this was made in the sous voile style. In the glass, a rich yellow color shimmered, about what you would expect from a 2018 Savagnin. 

There is a vibrant acidity on the palate, which lends itself well to the round, opulent texture of the mouthfeel. The minerality continues, along with a caramelized nuttyness that makes me wonder if there was some marginal degree of oxidation during the winemaking process. Regardless, the wine was the definition of clean, without restraining on power.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty excited about this bottle, so my friend and I went to get a few cheeses to go along with it. We picked up a 30-month Comté, a cheese made throughout Jura and a classic pairing with the wines. We also got an Austrian Alpine cheese with a rind coated with local flowers. When you have a gorgeous wine and the right cheeses to go with it, it is hard to go wrong. In fact, you can only go right. The gastronomic delight is not fit for words - it belongs to another realm. 

Vines at Domaine Les Montbourgeau