Côtes du Jura
Regional appellation of Jura, first introduced in 193 and remains the largest appellation in size. Production wise, it is currently second to Arbois with its outputs.
Extending a fair way south, this regional appellation contains all the communes that sit outside of the Arbois and L'Etoile catchments of the north.
Covering 105 communes across 80km from Champagne-sur-Loue to Saint-Amour, the Cotes du Jura wines can be red, white or rose. Hosting around 640 hectares of vines, the appellation also includes the famous vin jaune and vin de paille. As such a wide range of wines are produced in this appellation, the Jurassiens have begun classing their wines by hues rather than simply red and white, including coral and ruby in their descriptions.
The alternative colours reflect the ruling that white wines of Cotes du Jura can have up to 20% red wine grapes within them, and vice versa. With Ploussard having a very light pigment itself, aiding the exact colour of Jura rose wines.
The most bountiful appellation, Arbois, sits in the northern parts of Jura with 800 hectares of vines. While it produces the full range of wine styles, its fame and prestige comes from its red wines, with the town of Arbois being dubbed the regional wine capital. Rightly named, the Celtic origins of Arbois is one meaning 'fertile soil', likely from the rich alluvial soils around the Cuisance river.
Ploussard and Trousseau are championed here, with a small percentage of Pinot Noir also planted. For whites, the Savagnin and Chardonnay grapes are used. Due to the array of grapes, the similar terms for varying hues of wines is used here as well as the regional appellation.
As one of the first appellations introduced in 1936, Arbois claims to be the very first of all AOCs thanks to its alphabetised position. Since this establishment, Arbois has continued to thrive across its 13 communes, growing a reputation with the high quality wines of Pupillin (a small village within the appellation).
Covering only 75 hectares of vines, the appellation of L'Étoile includes the villages of Plainoiseau, Quintigny, Saint-Didier and L'Étoile itself. With such low production output the wine is rarely found in countries other than France.
Quite aptly, the five hills surrounding the village of L'Étoile sit in a shape resembling a star. The wines of the appellation are ones of fresh and minerally driven whites made primarily from Chardonnay. Thanks to the similar climates and soils, these Chardonnay somewhat resemble the fine wines of Chablis in Burgundy.
When not producing Chardonnay wines, Savagnin is also permitted in the L'Étoile appellation, used to produce the traditional Jurassien Vin Jaune. Then blended with Chardonnay, winemakers opt to make sweet vin de paille.
Red wines are not produced in this appellation.
Crémant du Jura
Home of the sparkling wines of Jura, Crémant du Jura was formalised in 1995. Bottles with this title represent the 18th century style sparkling wine originally sold as vin mousseux, under Jura's other appellations.
The appellation is one more in name than in location, as it covers the same areas as the Côtes du Jura appellation, the still wine equivalent. Stretching for almost 80km, over 105 communes, it starts with Champagne-sur-Loue in the north and ends with Saint-Amour in the south. Around 10 hectares of vines produce the sparkling wine of Jura, with its output being roughly 25% of all Jura wines.
The white sparkling must have at least 50% Chardonnay within the blend, the rest is made up of Savagnin. Percentages being up to the discretion of the winemaker. For the rosé sparklings, Ploussard and Pinot Noir must be at least 50% of the encepagement. With the wines made in the méthode traditionelle, aged in bottle with their lees for a minimum of nine months.
Macvin de Jura
A fortified wine appellation, producing late harvest vin du Jura with marc du Jura (brandy). Receiving its AOC status in 1991, it is the newest appellation of the region and only one of three vin de liqueur with such status.
Macvin wines have been made since the 1300s and can be made from all the grape varietals of Jura. In order to get the distinct flavours, the grapes are treated differently to other appellations with the harvest date being much later to increase the sugar content as much as possible. To form this fortified wine, Marc du Jura (pomace-based eau-de-vie) is added to the must towards the end of fermentation to halt the process and leave behind residual sugar. This presents a beautiful aperitif or dessert wine.
Hailing from the village of Château-Chalon, only white wines made from Savagnin grapes can be made here, specifically in the traditional vin jaune style. Known for its long ageing capabilities and dry nature, the vin jaune wines are not always labelled as such in this appellation as it is merely expected as soon as Château-Chalon is on the label.