My Kingdom for a Bresse Chicken – French #Winophiles

France wine map

Look due east from Burgundy to see the Jura in the foothills of the Jura mountains(courtesy of http://www.about-france.com)

French Winophiles Invade the Jura
Have you ever had a wine from the Jura? Do you have any idea where the Jura is? You’re not alone, it’s one of the lesser known winegrowing regions in France. In fact, the wines are so spotty in their distribution, our #winophiles group had another region choice if they came up empty in their search for Jura wines.

The Jura
The Jura is in the foothills of the Jura mountains, east of the Burgundy region and a bit Northeast of Lyon. It really is a backwater area, off major trade routes. There is little industry here, but if you’re an outdoors type of person, the region may suit you just fine. The area definitely has its charms, though.

The esteemed Bresse AOC chicken.

The esteemed Bresse AOC chicken. You’ll know the real thing by the sticker. Plus, blue feet and they leave the head on to show you the quality of the bird.

Comte cheese is from here, as well as the highly regarded Bresse Chicken, which itself has AOC status. This means a true Bresse AOC chicken must be a particular breed and from a very particular region, including the Jura. The classic “Coq au Vin Jaune” includes a local Bresse chicken, morel mushrooms and a unique Jura wine, Vin Jaune.

Chardonnay, Trousseau and Vin Jaune from the Jura

White wines are the powerful, sought after wines from the Jura

Jura Wines
There are several unique characteristics of Jura wines. As the region is quite cool, whites dominate. In fact, the wines are viewed as the powerful wines, and would be served after the reds in an ordered tasting! Don’t discount the reds, though, as they’re delicate and very pretty.

Domaine Rolet Cotes du Jura Rouge

Côtes du Jura Rouge is made from a blend featuring the Poulsard grape

Red Jura Wines
Some Pinot Noir is grown here, but the main grapes are Trousseau and Poulsard. They produce light colored (almost rosé color), aromatic, light bodied red wines. Very nice, and once you taste one you’ll understand why you may sample them first; delicate and fine!

Côtes du Jura Rouge is so pale, almost like a rosé in color

Côtes du Jura Rouge is so pale, almost like a rosé in color

Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Rouge “Les Grandvaux” AOC 2012 ($22 at South Lyndale Liquors, online here)
Eye: Pale, transparent garnet, warm in tone
Nose: Clean, but funky initially, medium intensity. Woodsy, earthy nose with red fruit (raspberries) behind.
Mouth: Bone dry, lean medium- body. Lively acidity and low tannins. Entirely nice, lean food wine.  Not so acidic that it is austere by itself, but definitely enjoys being with food.

Jura Chardonnay

A powerful Chardonnay from the Jura

Jura White Wines
Jura white wines span a range of styles, but traditionally, they don’t top off barrels during aging, so the white wines can be quite oxidized. Made from the Savignin and Chardonnay grapes, the oxidative style is powerfully flavored. In recent years, some winegrowers have strayed from this approach and produced wines in a non-oxidative style.  Even these wines have stronger than usual aromas and flavors due to the climate and geology of the area.

L’Aigle à Deux Têtes Côtes du Jura Chardonnay AOC 2013 ($26 at South Lyndale Liquors, online here)
Eye: Clear, medium gold color
Nose: Clean, smoky/flinty note on the nose. Lemons and honeysuckle emerge with some air.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity. Fresh, medium+ acidity, interesting flavors of butterscotch (but again, dry). Refreshing and medium+ finish.

I like this wine a lot! Nice with coq au vin jaune, also with Mussels dijonnaise as leftover.

Vin Jaune is a Jura white wine which is aged under flor, just like Sherry.

Vin Jaune is a Jura white wine which is aged under flor, just like Sherry.

Domaine Rolet Arbois Vin Jaune AOC 2007 ($38 at France 44, online here)
Eye: Clear, deep gold color. The legs clear quickly, indicating a lighter, non-syrupy texture.
Nose: Immediately recognize the oxidized, flor nature. Butterscotch on the nose, but dry. A bit of astringency, even in the nose.
Mouth: Rich, astringency from the flor. Oxidized, very acidic, dry. Richer than a flor aged sherry, but dry, oxidized and all those same characteristics.
I didn’t care for it personally, although it is authentic and well made. Didn’t care for it as a table wine, even with Coq au Vin Jaune.

As an ingredient in a sauce, Vin Jaune was excellent. Julie doesn’t care for normal Coq au Vin, and she asked to have this one again!

Coq au Vin Jaune served with wines of the Jura

Coq au Vin Jaune served with wines of the Jura

Coq au Vin Jaune
In its most authentic form, this dish would be made with a Bresse AOC chicken, morel mushrooms, and Vin Jaune. Bresse chickens are more expensive, even in their French home. Alas, no Bresse chicken in Minnesota. We have Morel mushrooms in the spring, but they go for $50/lb and $30/ounce dried! And Vin Jaune was $38 for a 375ml bottle. Wow, that might be the most expensive dish I ever made. Oh well, we cheated. We used a local farm raised chicken, dried porcini mushrooms and fresh shiitake mushrooms, and we did use much of the bottle of Vin Jaune. Worth it? Absolutely. It was delicious.  I used a recipe from the NY Times, here. The Chardonnay was the best pairing of the three, followed by the Rouge. I just couldn’t get comfortable with the aromas and flavor of the Vin Jaune.  I’ll have to keep it on my “working on it” list.

coq au vin jaune

Coq au Vin Jaune

#Winophiles and the Jura

We’ll be live on Twitter on Saturday, October 15th at 11am Eastern/ 8am Pacific. Follow along with the hashtag #Winophiles. Come share your favorite food, wine and travel experiences featuring the Jura!

Local Sources

 

embossed vin jaune bottle

 

 

 

Comments
12 Responses to “My Kingdom for a Bresse Chicken – French #Winophiles”
  1. Valeriekq says:

    We did a Bresse chicken when we did the Jura a few years ago. It was amazing! I’ve been making roast chicken in Vin Jaune ever since!

    The Jura is one of my most favorite regions that I’m so excited to explore more. We have big plans in a few years to rent something for a few weeks in Chateau Chalon. I also highly recommend trout with Vin Jaune. Sigh.

    Ciao from the Langhe!

  2. I had the good fortune to have a Vin Jaune ’47 once.

  3. What a delicious version of coq au vin! I’ll have to give the Jura whites another try, sounds like you found some good ones.

  4. Jill Barth says:

    You’ve found an excellent lineup to express local flavors. Such a interesting & deliberate part of France when it comes to food & wine!

  5. We did Coq Au Vin Jaune as well but because I was really fascinated by the Vin Jaune I wasn’t willing to use so much in the cooking of the chicken so we used some Chalk Hill sauv blanc and an inexpensive white as well. We finished it with a splash of the Vin Jaune as described in one of the recipes Sue referenced. Everyone loved the chicken, but the wine not as much. I want to try some other wines from the region now for sure!

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