The Jura region is situated between Switzerland and Burgundy, on the French side of the eponymous mountain massif. The Savoie countryside stretches from Lake Geneva and Lac d’Annecy to the glaciated peaks of Mont Blanc.
Due to their small size (altogether: 4 000 ha), the two wine regions stand out above all for their variety and the independent characteristics of the produced wines. The wines from Jura and Savoie wine regions are among wine freaks’ special highlights.
Jura – Delightful & Undiscovered
Jura wine region offers a wide variety of wines, ranging from sparkling wines according to the “méthode traditionnelle” to unique Vin Jaune, characterized by yeast gauze.
A popular destination for nature lovers and gourmets.
Jura offers various landscapes and idyllic wine villages.
Here, you can explore two of the most beautiful villages in France, as well as many small towns with a nice flair such as Arbois – the capital of the Jura wines.
Dole, whose official title is “City of Art and History” is worth seeing, as well historical, ancient churches and monasteries, or spectacular waterfalls and natural caves.
Activties you can enjoy with in Upper Jura Regional Nature Park:
Swimming in the saline springs of the Salines-les-Bains
climbing on vertical rock walls
In this picturesque region, the cheese route of the Comtés, which originats here, meets the wine route.
Savoie – Alpine Landscapes, Ski fields and Fresh wines
Savoie wine region offers a magnificent Alpine landscape, ski fields with thirsty winter tourists and light and refreshing wines that taste like the Alps – crispy and herbal.
Savoie wine region mainly produces white still and sparkling wines, which is usually light and fresh. Most of the vineyards are on the banks of the Rhône river. Due to the very different conditions along the course of the Rhône, there are altogether 17 independent communities, so-called “crus”, which actually produce quite different wine styles.
The region is mainly known as a hiking and skiing area and it is real heaven for out-door adventure lovers.
In this charming mountain region, the town of Chambéry is famous for its vermouth and waits to be explored. As well as thermal spa town Aix – Les – Bains, which is known from Roman times.
Character of The Wines in Jura & Savoie Wine Regions
Jura and Savoie wine regions produce characteristically distinctive wines, that takes aromas from Alpine terroir.
Vin Jaune – The Liquid Gold of Jura
The name of the Jura wine region goes hand in hand with the name of the famous wine produced in this region: Vin Jaune – France’s quality and drinkable answer to the Spanish sherry.
The Vin Jaune (yellow wine) takes its name because of its transparent yellow-gold colour. Connoisseurs appreciate its stimulating complex aroma.
Vin Jaune is offered under the 4 AOC appellation, which represent protected appellations:
A fifth comes to the Macvin de Jura, a sixth AOC to the Crémant de Jura.
How do they make Vin Jaune?
The wine is made from the late harvest Savagnin grapes, which goes around six years of maturation in the barrel. During the maturation, no additions, as well as sulfur, are allowed. During this time around 40% of the wine evaporates(they call it angel’s share), which corresponds to what remains of a litre to fill the so-called “Clavelin” type of bottle with 62 cl.
The Vin Jaune is characterised with the distinctive nutty flavours and great complexity and it perfectly pairs with another delicacy of the area, the Comté cheese. And here, the older the Vin Jaune, the longer matured may also be the Comté.
In total, the acreage in the Jura is just under 1,800 hectares – before the phylloxera catastrophe in 1879, it was ten times that size. The grape varieties that survived this plague are Chardonnay, Chardonnay-Savagnin, Trousseau, Pinot Noir, Poulsard.
Savoie – Home of Fresh and Light White Wines
In Savoie two-thirds of the vineyards are classified as AOC Vin de Savoie, with white wine dominating especially from the variety Jacquère.
On the French shore of Lake Geneva prevails Chasselas. But compared to the Chasselas from Switzerland the wines in Savoie are slimmer, fresher and have a higher acidity.
Further south, it gets really exotic. In Seyssel, for example, or on the eastern shore of Lac du Bourget. Altesse – also called Roussette – grows here and produces fine, elegant, at best mineral wines. For the red wines, beside Gamay and Pinot Noir the grape variety Mondeuse is the queen of the local winemaker’s scene. Their wines are not extremely dark, but extremely spicy.
Arbois is home to a growing band of fine wine producers and became a great place for wine and food lovers. The surrounding villages and vineyards are delightful to explore and this is where you’ll find the wineries, but it’s well worth spending some time actually in the charming town of Arbois.
If you want a have an introduction into the wine production of this area you should not miss to explore the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin in Arbois. In this very graceful, castle-like building you will get first-hand information about the winemaking in Jura what is a good preparation before you do a tasting in one of the many vineyards in this wine region.
Don’t miss a visit to Fruitière Vinicoled’Arbois! Taste famous Vin Jaune, have bike tour and share a glass of crémant in the heart of the vineyard!
Baumes – Les – Messieurs & Château Chalon
These two villages are the heart of a completely original wine landscape. Baume-Les-Messieurs has its origins in the 6th century when an abbey was established by an Irish monk. The ruins of a later, 13th-century abbey, built on the same location can be seen today.
One of the most beautiful villages in France.
On the edge of the village, the spectacular Baume-Les-Messieurs caves attract visitors from far and wide. Special lighting and music enhance the natural display of dazzling stalactites and stalagmites.
Sublimely located on a ledge, the picturesque village of Château-Chalon invites you to stroll: Romanesque churches from the X century, beautiful winegrower houses and great viewpoints give an exceptional view of viticulture.
The relaxed charm of Dole
The former capital of Franche-Comté is idyllic, quite picturesque, and then again surprisingly modern. Magnificent buildings and elegant townhouses, as well as cafes and shops, line the streets of the city. Especially the tanner quarter is a visit worth.
Here at the canal, you can imagine very well the hustle and bustle that prevailed here in the Middle Ages. It is also recommended a boat trip on the channel to admire the city from a different perspective.
Chambery – Where Two Cultures Meet
Chambery is probably best known as a gateway to the Alps and welcomes thousands of skiers every winter. Since Chambery only became part of France in 1871, the Italian influence is strong. Colourful Savoie townhouses, covered alleyways and the magnificent château of the Dukes of Savoie attract visitors year-round. One of Chambery’s most unusual attractions is the Rotonde Ferroviaire, a circular cast-iron train shed 100 meters in diameter.
Hiking paradise: La Cascade des Tufs
Discover the countless spectacular waterfalls on one of the many possible hikes in this unique natural area. Visit the cascade du Hérisson and let yourself be surprised by the magic of the valley, which since 2002 has been classified as a nature reserve.
Saline – Les – Bains – Healing Waters
On the shore of Lake Bourget is one of France’s most popular thermal spa resorts. For centuries, visitors have flocked to Saline – Les – Bains to take advantage of the water from the hot springs. Once you’re fully relaxed after the spa treatment, the Faure Museum can take care of your spiritual well-being. This gallery display works by Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists such as Cézanne, Degas and Pisarro.
The Caves of Moidons in Molain
The recently discovered (1966) and located in the community Molain Cave Moidons is one of the three caves formed in the Jura. Equipped with good shoes and warm clothes, you can discover their geological features on a 45-minute tour. The visit ends with a sound and light show, which highlights the stalactites and the water surface particularly beautiful.
Hearty and Spicy Mountain Cuisine
Though the Swiss influence is strong, Jura and Savoie also have some distinctive dishes of their own. Cured meat products and artisan cheese are of excellent quality with other recipes based around them. Perhaps surprisingly, honey of the Jura, especially acacia, is highly regarded. In Savoie, potato dishes prevail because historically they were relied upon for nourishment during the long harsh winters.
The cows of the region give so much milk that the surplus is processed to cheese. The most famous is the Comté, a French relative of the pierced Swiss Gruyère.
The Toétché is also called St. Martins cake. It consists of an airy yeast dough with salty cream filling. The cake is often served as an aperitif and enjoyed with a Jura wine or local beer.
In Savoie and Haute Savoie, try the “Tartiflette” – a gratin made with potatoes, bacon and Reblochon cheese – or the “Croziflette” gratin de Crozets with small pieces of dough.
Do you prefer to eat fondue?
Choose the cheese according to whether you want it to be Savoyard style (Beaufort, Emmentaler, and Comté) with charcuterie and bread or fondue like the Auvergne (Cantal, Saint-Nectaire) with only bread.
Potée Comtois – Comtois stew is a rustic one-pot dish often adjusted according to the cook’s budget. The key ingredient is smoked meat which gives it a rich flavour. The stew is filled out with potatoes, cabbage, turnip, and carrots. Traditionally, it would be eaten at breakfast to sustain a hard day on the land.
Thanks to some resourceful winemakers but also chefs such as André Jeunet and Jean-Paul Jeunet, who had established a star kitchen in the small Arbois, made the Jura attractive to gourmets.
Below you will find more information about tourism in the regions :
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Map of Wineries in Jura and Savoie wine region
Discover the long wine tradition of Jura and Savoie and discover some of the best wineries in this region
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