Rolet - Changing of the Guard in Jura

Fully ripe grapes, brilliantly judged use of wood, and delicate use, too, of controlled oxidation to create what Guy calls ‘une petite inflection noisette’ (a little hazelnut note) are all hallmarks of the domaine’s wines, the consistency of which is impressive for such a cool-climate vineyard region.’ ANDREW JEFFORD, The New France

The eccentric wines of Jura are originals in the wine world. Their haute couture cloaks are worn like a badge of honour. NY Times critic Eric Asimov once said ‘In a world of smooth, rounded, velvet-lined wines, the wines of Jura stand out as jagged and resolute…’. These are borne from a tradition that is alive and well today.

Though let’s not fool ourselves as Jura’s reputation and airtime far outweigh its production. These wines are hard to find. Jura represents a minuscule .2% of France’s output. And nearly all are drunk within the region. Incredibly they’ve garnered a huge following recently, especially in the wine bars of Paris and New York.

The Jura is a narrow valley wedged between Burgundy and Switzerland, this is countryside filled with limestone cliffs and hillocks upon which the best vines are planted. These wines are tangy, complex, pure and delicious.

One of Jura’s finest is Domaine Rolet.  Established in 1942 it built up a stellar reputation as one of the largest family-owned wineries. The four Rolet siblings were the second generation to run the estate, acquiring prime vineyards along the way. In 2018 with no heir apparent the domain was sold. Now at the helm is winemaker Cedric Ducot from the Burgundian estate Domaines Devillard. He has added freshness and fineness to some of the wines, but in general, the style remains rooted in the Jurassic soils of the region.

With holdings across Arbois, Côtes du Jura, l’Etoile and Château-Chalon the wines on offer represent an array of styles and grape varieties from the Jura.

The vineyards are under organic conversion, no synthetics are used. These are wines that are shaped more by their origins than by their variety. They exude cool climate typicity of this mountainous region through their perky acidities, mineral undertones and subtle mountain fresh spice.

On offer today we have a mix of wines and vintages. There’s a rich yet saline Cremant du Jura bubbles, two chardonnays;  one fresh and finer boned from l’Etoile and the other from Cotes du Jura is savoury and deep. A lithely framed savagnin and a Tradition chardonnay savagnin style which has seen flor influence and bottle age. For the reds there is one of the finest trousseaus we have tasted, it’s sinewy, earthy and fleshy and to finish the eccentric and original Vin Jaune. Minerality is a recurrent theme, threading the wines together.

These are very limited and offer a glimpse into the wines and styles of Jura. So grab a wedge of Comte, roast a chicken and a splash of Jura chardonnay savagnin to the morel sauce – and open a bottle or two of these. We’ve sharpened the prices for two weeks, and if you’re not sure what to buy then we’ve put together a Rolet Jura Sample 6 Pack for $300.