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tasting notes
Jura and Savoie

(Prices and stockists in the UK are listed in brackets; as a rough guide £1 = US$1.50. Date of tasting is indicated by month/year at the end of the note.)

Stéphane Tissot ‘Les Bruyères’ Chardonnay 2004 Arbois, Jura, France
The proprietor asked whether we knew this wine when we selected it – it was a warning that it isn’t the sort of thing to everyone’s taste. But I think it’s fantastic. Remarkable nose with smoky, minerally, flinty notes as well as the toastiness and richness you might expect from ripe Chardonnay. The palate is rich but bone dry, with more of those reductive notes and lovely minerality. Fantastic stuff. 93/100 04/08

Domaine Belluard Les Alpes Gringet 2004 Vin de Savoie, France
A really interesting mountain white made from the Gringet variety. The nose combines a savoury nuttiness with a bright, floral, subtly herbal character. The palate is lemony fresh but has a richer, deeper, tangy nutty quality. A thought-provoking savoury style that's quite light in its personality. Very good+ 89/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene) 12/06 

Phillippe Butin Vin de Paille 1999 Côtes du Jura, France
This is a profound wine from the wonderful Jura region. Quite deep coloured, this has a complex, expressive herby, undergrowthy nose with some subtle cheesy notes. The palate is fresh and open with lovely refreshing acidity. It’s in a rich-textured savoury style, but at the same time its very sweet and fantastically rich. Hard to describe, but with great length. Very good/excellent 94/100 (Berry Bros & Rudd £17.95/half bottle) 05/05

Philippe Butin Cuvée Speciale 1999 Côtes de Jura, France
Now for something weird but wonderful. This white wine has a powerful, pungent sherried, spicy nose with nice savoury intensity. The palate is thick and, once more, slightly sherried with a tangy, almost salty character. It's long, full and delicious - a perfect match for Comte, I suspect. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£13.95 Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com) 10/05 

Domaine Lupin Frangy Roussette de Savoie 2005
This is a lovely fresh, full flavoured, appley wine with a nice tang to it. It’s almost Chablis-like, but a bit fresher and more transparent, with some minerality, too. Initially a bit spritzy on opening it is quite delicious and pure: a really lovely, authentic wine. Very good+ 89/100
(Les Caves de Pyrene £6.35) 10/06

Frederic Lornet Arbois Naturé 1999 Jura, France
Normally Arbois (the region) Savagnin (grape variety) is either made as vin jaune (under a flor, like fino Sherry), or it is rather oxidised from old fashioned winemaking. This is fresh and characterful, made in a clean modern style but still retaining personality. It has a beguiling fresh herby nose with some lemony notes. Concentrated, dense and rich on the palate with fresh fruit. Delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100 10/03

Pierre Boniface Domaine de l’Ancolie ‘Abymes’ 2001 Vin de Savoie
Made from the Jacquère grape. Slightly spritzy fresh, bright nose with subtle apple fruit and a touch of icing sugar character. The palate is quite light, waxy and fruity. A well made easy drinking summer white. Very good 08/02

Amédée Taillefin Chardonnay 1999 Côtes du Jura
Tiny trace of mustiness from the agglomerate cork. If you can get past this, this bargain-priced wine (purchased from Auchan in France) offers lots of nutty, lemony fruit with a smoky minerally edge. Nice acidity and a good texture. Very good 11/02

Château Monterminod ‘Les Bartavelles’ 1999 Roussette de Savoie
(Tasted blind, note as written) Slightly nutty, waxy nose is a little bit shy, with a touch of citrus fruit lurking. Lean, nutty palate shows good acidity and some honey and mineral notes. Quite savoury and very old world, this is a restrained cool climate white a bit like an unoaked Chablis in character. Very good 07/01

Jacques Puffeney Poulsard 1996, Arbois, Jura
Arbois is the largest specific AC in the Jura, and this unusual wine is made from a rare red grape variety, Poulsard. A pale red/brown colour (almost a rosé), the nose shows slightly sweet fruit, with notes of herbs, tobacco leaf and undergrowth. The rounded palate has hardly any detectable tannins, showing strawberry fruit with a herby character, a touch of spice and an acidic zing. Rounded and balanced, this has some interest but is perhaps just a little overpriced at £10. Lovely packaging, though, with an elegantly shaped bottle and a wax capsule. Very good+ (La Vigneronne) 4/01

Jean Rijckaert Côtes de Jura Les Sarres 2000
Fresh lemony nose is very clean and modern, with crisp, clean fruit on the palate. Attractive stuff. Very good (£6.27 John Armit) 01/02

Jean Rijckaert Arbois Pré Leveron 2000
Deeper coloured, with a crisp, modern, savoury nose. Quite rich, ripe palate shows some spicy notes and a citrus edge. Nicely textured. Very good (John Armit £7.44) 01/02

(Franck Pelliot) Montagnieu Roussette de Bugey Altesse ‘Cuvée Buster’ 1999, France
A special cuvee made for the US importer of Pelliot’s wines, Joe Dressner. It’s quite a deep yellow/gold colour and immediately on opening the nose is quite tight and very minerally with some subtle lemony fruit. After a while it opens out with some smoky, minerally complexity. The palate is rich and very savoury, showing a lovely texture with lemony, honeyed fruit and delicate minerality. Harmonious and integrated, with good concentration, this is a profound dry white wine. Excellent (hand-imported gift) 01/02