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'I was a bit of a lost soul in school, but learning to make wines [in the Jura] - especially with how different it was than what they were teaching me in Beaune - made me realize that even if you think you've found everything, there's still so much more to unearth…We are always told that the teacher knows everything. But if he teaches you the wrong thing, you might spend your entire life doing something wrong and thinking it's right.’
This sentiment might serve well as a motto for the whole Jura vanguard, a group that has for decades been more forward-thinking and experimental than any you’ll find in France. The region in many ways sums to France's ideological incubator, a place in which experimentation and risk-taking tend to triumph above rigidly traditional thinking.
Each producer on this little list fits snugly under this banner. It’s wonderfully refreshingly that many of them remain inexpensive, in particular the up-and-comers for whom high critical praise and consequent price increases remain in the future. The sprightly wines of Fumey-Chatelain are a good example, little varietal masterclasses with just enough funk on the edges to avoid feeling straightlaced. The Ploussard is one of the best pizza wines I know. Vins Sans Nom wines too are no-brainer values, pure and charming right through their mineral-drenched finishes. They make for superb house wines, equal parts interesting and companionable. Regional icons round out the list.
There are irresistible options from Renaud Bruyère and Adeline Houillon, a full four varietals from Labet, and packed-with-personality rarities from Ganevat and Tissot. Bottle age and strong vintages are themes among them.