Ultimate Guide to the Jura Wine Region

Although the Jura region is capable of producing a wide selection of wines, its output is dominated by Chardonnays, a worldwide favorite. See our collection of wine pictures.
©iStockphoto.com/Lucyna Koch



Tired of sticking to the same old merlot you usually buy? Surely, one of the greatest pleasures of wine drinking is tasting new types of wine, where so many distinctions in taste are discernible. Those distinctions can be due as much to where the wine was made as which grapes are used to create it. For the devout enthusiast, soil, temperature and humidity of the region in which the grapes are grown can also play a large role.

The Jura region is one of many regions in eastern France that produces world-class inimitable wines. The region is situated south of Lons le Saunier and north of Arbois, in the western hills of the Jura Mountains. Only 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of another renowned wine region, Burgundy, the Jura Region is France's smallest wine cultivating area, at roughly 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) [source: Lorch].

­The Jura region is capable of producing a wide selection of wines. More than any other style, the Jura region's output is dominated by Chardonnays, a worldwide favorite. However, the region also produces an assortment of sparkling wines, Sauvignons, Trousseaus and Pinot Noirs. Although it isn't produced in as high a volume or frequency as other varieties, the Jura region's most famous wine is the Vin Jaune. [source: French Wines]. This peculiar, bright yellow, sherry-like wine seems to inspire a love it or hate it response. For those who enjoy it, it's described as having a nutty, bold flavor. Those that hate it also describe a bold -- and bad -- nutty flavor, but unfortunately, it's the flavor of spoiled nuts.

In addition to the Vin Jaune, the Jura region is also notorious for the array of colors in its grapes. This color dissimilarity often leads to distinctive wine colors, including white wines that come out any where from green to dark orange. Similarly, the red wines often appear pink or bright red.