Reasons to be Cheerful in the Jura
Some bright spots in a sad season.
Back in 2010, when I decided to call my site Not Drinking Poison in Paris, it was partly meant as an oblique joke about one of the reasons we drink wine: to stave off misery.
Since the passing of Jura vigneron Pascal Clairet in early May, there is a void the size of a great vigneron in the center of Arbois. This is to say nothing of the loss of Laurent Vaillé of Grange des Pères in late April, or the very recent departure of the universally-beloved Olivier Lemasson in the Loir-et-Cher. We seem to be in the midst of a crisis of wellbeing in the wine world.
What do we do? There is an instinct not to discuss these things, out of delicacy. But I tend to think everyone should communicate more. Tell your favourite vignerons you love what they do. Ask how they are. Buy them a beer.
I happened to be traveling in the Jura in early May. Vignerons were already reeling from catastrophic frost losses. On May 6th, I made a hasty exit, to give my friends there space to grieve. But before I left, I met a lot of inspiring young people (and some less young people) who are helping make the pastoral wine region the thriving, idyllic place it is today. They’re featured in Issue 3.5.2 It’s called Reasons to Be Cheerful in the Jura.
A profile of Orbagna vigneronne KATIE WOROBECK of MAISON MAENAD, a Ganevat disciple preparing to strike out on her own.
A frank interview with cult Mathenay vigneron FABRICE DODANE of DOMAINE DE SAINT PIERRE, giving voice to the frustrations of many about frost.
An interview with Poligny coffee roaster SIMON BOONE of CAFE CLANDESTIN, the Jura’s favorite artisanal organic forest coffee company. (No paywall on this one.)
An account of apéro hour on bottling day with reclusive south Jura vignerons CHRISTIAN BOULANGER & MATHIEU ALLANTE, who in 2020 produced the region’s first PINEAU D’AUNIS.
A visit with ANTOINE LE COURT & JULIA NAAR, founders of the ultra-chic Arbois guesthouse CASA ANTOLIA and the négoçiant natural wine label LES VALSEUSES.
Many thanks, as always, for reading what I write, and for spreading love for natural wine. Everyone take care. Don’t hesitate to reach out, if you feel like saying hi. Long live Pascal and Olivier.3 And vive le Jura, still a wonderful place to be.
I’m aware it’s also awkward to quote Morrissey in 2021. I disavow pretty much everything he’s ever said outside the context of song lyrics in the 1980s.
Issue 4 will come later this month. It will be a whopper.
I never met Laurent Vaillé, it was a different scene - but long live him, too.