Jura’s green appeal
Lepeltier also notes that her customers like the fact most Jura domaines are organically farmed, with a low use of sulphur. In fact, about 15% of the Jura’s vineyards have organic certification, but this accounts for over 25% of Jura wine producers, because many of the small estates who work in this manner. Low use of sulphur is practiced by more and more estates, something easy to do for oxidative wines, and when used with care, often with a partial carbonic maceration technique, can work effectively with the reduction-prone Poulsard reds.
Jura’s bragging rights
Barrett describes an ‘upper echelon’ of Jura customers, who have been buying Jura wines long before they were cool, and who buy them to cellar and drink with fellow collectors. They are always on the lookout for Overnoy and Ganevat and to some extent others. “As the prestige of those growers increases, I’ve certainly observed that there’s an appeal in being able to brag about the Overnoy Ploussard or Ganevat Melon à Queue-Rouge one drank last night, on par with northern Rhône legend Noël Verset, Burgundy legends like Roumier, Rousseau and Truchot, and the Loire’s Clos Rougeard.”
A New York trend or a lasting demand?
The trend for Jura wines in New York and elsewhere in the USA was started by importers with the foresight to see the appeal of these wines, and then galvanized by journalists such as Eric Asimov, Alice Feiring and Levi Dalton writing and speaking about the wines. However, the region itself was able to capitalize on the interest too, obtaining European and regional funds to assist in mounting a three year campaign of trade tastings. This helped to increase numbers of Jura estates with importers and also eased the pressure for retailers and restaurants restricted to small allocations of wine from in-demand estates.
Zev Rovine, who imports from six estates, admits that it is less easy selling the wines than previously because of the greater number of wines available, and many shops only wanting to stock two or three Jura wines if any. However, the producers he works with only have small volumes to sell anyway and he does not believe the appeal of Jura is a passing fad. “I think they have successfully carved a niche here, so I believe their success will persist.” When you observe that the restaurant Gramercy Tavern’s wine list has 11 Jura listings, one less than Alsace, and Rouge Tomate has 17, on a par with Alsace or Austria, it’s hard to see this love of Jura disappearing from New York any time soon.