One of my biggest surprises was the excellent quality of the sparkling wines, called Crémant du Jura, which are made by the same traditional method used in Champagne.
The best one was this vivid, floral-and-almond-scented non-vintage Domaine André et Mireille Tissot Crémant du Jura, with its crispy bubbles, polished style, creamy texture and earthy minerality. It’s much better than many basic non-vintage Champagnes, but costs a whole lot less.
The domaine in the tiny village of Montigny-les-Arsures, near the Jura’s central town, Arbois, is now run by Stephane Tissot, son of the founders. He’s one of the region’s young turks, growing grapes biodynamically, harvesting by hand, and using very little sulfur. Just about everything he makes — 35 wines, plus 15 in his négociant business, Les Caves de la Reine Jeanne — is at least interesting. This wine is much more than that.
Crémant du Jura is one of two style appellations in the Jura, and the wines account for about 16 percent of the region’s production. All are sparkling, and unless they’re rosés, contain at least 50 percent chardonnay. While some light, delicate Crémants are all-chardonnay, Tissot’s is a deeper and more complex blend.
The Jura is very much off-the-beaten-track, a small region that many wine lovers — and retailers — are only just discovering. The number of producers practicing organic or biodynamic viticulture is skyrocketing, and this year 24 of them banded together for their first local Le Nez Dans Le Vert tasting.
Tissot’s Crémant is a good way to begin exploring — and get an affordable dose of celebratory bubbles.
Zester Daily contributor Elin McCoy is a wine and spirits columnist and author of “The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste.”