This wine is a winner. Jurançon is located in south-western France, on the road from Toulouse to Biarritz, not far north of the Pryénées mountains that divide France and Spain. I am quite familiar with this road, since my wife and I travelled it some years ago without luggage (or, more pertinently, the map that was in our luggage) care of British Airways, and so hard largely no idea where we were going. As always, these are the fondest memories.
The appellation permits only five grape varieties, but gros manseng and petit manseng blends make up the majority of the wines. These grapes are not well known in Australia, but an eclectic mix of wineries are experimenting with petit manseng here – several in the King Valley and a couple of Riverland wineries. If this wine is anything to go by, perseverance is merited.
Chateau Jolys is the largest privately owned winery in the Jurançon appellation, and was established in 1936. The vineyards are situated at altitude (around 340m) and receive quite a lot of rain at 1400mm per year. I say all of this, because this producer seems worth following. The 2010 vintage of Chateau Joly’s Jurançon Sec is a very attractive wine indeed – almost like a better version of a sauvignon blanc. Bright and a pale intensity gold in colour, it opens to a pronounced intensity aroma of grass, gooseberries, lemons, jasmine, with just a slight touch of exotic paw paw fruit. The palate is held together well by its firm acidity, it is dry, with medium body, warming alcohol and pronounced intensity flavours that are similar to its aroma, though more firmly seasoned with spices. The length is between medium and long. At $18.99 a bottle for this good level of quality, this wine deserves to fly off the shelves. 89 points (very good)
Tasted: April 2012