So what makes the Jura region so special? Why is this the place where Poulsard grapes grow, or where the Vin Jaune, among other wines, has such a distinct taste and flavor? In short, it's the unique soil and continental climate of the Jura region. The region is set in the foothills of the Jura Mountains and the diversity of the landscapes, from mountains and foothills to vast valleys and basins, affects the type of grapes that are cultivated and how those grapes will taste.
The region has a mild and moderate northern climate that gives the region exposure to sun, snow and rain. The clay-limestone soils, which include marl outcrops and well-preserved fossils, similarly provide a unique variety of nutrients in the region's soils. Depending on the elevation and landscape, the concentrations of these minerals and nutrients can vary [source: French Wines].
Due to the variation in landscape, soil, elevation and rainfall in the Jura region, it can be split up into four smaller districts: Arbois, Cotes du Jura, Etoile and Chateau-Chalon. Just about any of the wine grapes in the region can be successfully cultivated in the Arbois and Cotes du Jura districts, while Etoile is predominantly known for its ability to produce fine white wine grapes. The Chateau-Chalon district, on the other hand, is used exclusively for the production of Vin Jaune because of the district's many caves, which are essential in Vin Jaune's special fermentation process [source: Lorch].