Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Vins de Jura - The Wines of the French Jura. Jura Wines on French Menus.

Behind the French menu
Bryan G. Newman
Cotes du Jura 2006
The French department of Jura is set against the Massif du Jura, the Jura mountains, and borders Switzerland’s Canton of Vaud.  The French Jura is beautiful but not often visited in the summer though it is a stunning place to travel through and a magnificent way to enjoy France without hordes of tourists. The French Jura mountains are the backdrop with beautiful lakes in the center, even its Prefecture, its departmental capital, Lons-le-Saunier, has only 20,000 inhabitants.
The Jura in summer.
Lac de Vouglans.
Photograph courtesy of Jura Tourism
The Jura wakes up in the winter when it offers some of the best skiing in France.  The breathtaking mountains and valleys offering excellent resorts for beginners and on up to the Transjurassienne level with competitions reserved for the very best,
The Jura in winter

The French Jura is famous for many unique cheeses, sausages, wines and more.

The Jura’s famous wines include:
Arbois AOP:  Table wines including reds, rosés, and whites and their unique Savagnin Ouillé white wine.
Côtes du Jura AOP: Wines with reds, rosés, whites, vin jaune and their unique Cotes du Jura corail, coral colored wine. 
Crémant du Jura AOP:  These are sparkling whites and rosés mostly aged for at least 12 months and at their best at when two or three years old.
Cremant du Jura
Franche-Comté IGP:  Reds, rosés, whites, and vins mousseux, lightly sparkling wines, also with reds, rosés, and whites. The new IGP regulations replace the wines previously labeled as Vin de Pays de  Franche-Comté

 L'Étoile AOP: A white wine.
Vin Jaune AOP:   The yellow wine made with the Savagnin grape along with its most famous appellation the Vin Jaune de Château-Chalon AOP. 
Vin Jaune de Château-Chalon AOC
Vin de Paille AOP: The so called, straw wine.

Marc de Jura AOP -  A 40% alcohol eau de vie made in a similar manner to Italian grappa using the left over grapes, leaves, and sprigs.

Macvin AOC Liqueur AOP::  A red, rosé and white liquer.
The Jura’s wine road.

When visiting the French department of Jura makes sure you take their Route Touristique des Vins, their wine road.  This wine route identifies much more than the wineries where you may taste the product, it will also show you other agricultural products including its cheeses and sausages as well as covering some of the history and geography of the area. Take a map from a French Government Tourist Information Office in your home country or ask for one via email.
The Jura has an English language website
There is a French language website on the wines of the French Jura which is easily read using Google or Bing translate apps:
The wines and Liquors from the French Jura on the menus:
Vin Jaune AOC   - The yellow wine from the Jura.

The most well-known and certainly the most famous of the yellow wines of France is the  Vin Jaune AOP from the Jura. This is a very aromatic aperitif or dessert wine with a nutty taste similar to a Fino sherry. Despite the taste, and unlike sherry, it is not a fortified wine. Vin Jaune has an alcohol content of 13- 15% and is aged for a minimum of six years and three months in oak barrels; then it is bottled in a uniquely shaped bottle called the Clavelin which holds 62cl of wine. The bottle’s non-standard shape is accepted in the European Union but not in the USA where the wine must be sold in 750 cl and 1lt bottles.

Vin Jaune is usually left to breathe or decanted before being offered as an aperitif or digestif at 14 ºC. If you are visiting the department of Jura during the skiing season, then during the first weekend in February, the first Saturday and Sunday of the month, try not to miss their celebration of the newest Vin Jaune. This festival moves to a different village every year, and the Jura wine website and any Tourist Information Office will tell you where the celebration is this year or next. At these celebrations, apart from tasting the new wine, they also have cooking competitions for professionals and amateurs. This annual festival is called La Percée du Vin Jaune, the piercing of the yellow wine; when they first open the barrels that have been closed for six years and three months.

The group of vintners who organize the piercing has a French language website. Using the Google and Bing translation apps makes it readable in English:

Vin Jaune AOC  and the Vin Jaune de Château-Chalon AOC on French menus:

Mousse de Truite au Vin Jaune - A trout moose prepared with the Jura’s yellow wine.

Volaille De Bresse Aux Morilles Sauce Château Chalon - The exceptional AOP chicken from Bresse prepared with wild morel mushrooms and a Château Chalon Sauce made from the yellow wine from the Château-Chalon AOP.

Dos de Cabillaud En Croûte d'Écrevisses et Vin Jaune - A thick cut from the back of a cod, the fish, cooked in a covering of shrimps and flavored with the Jura’s yellow wine

Demi-Poire Pochée au Vin Jaune Farcie a la Chèvre Fraîche – Half a pear poached in yellow wine and stuffed with fresh goat’s cheese.
Vin de Paille – Straw wine
Vin de Paille may translate as straw wine; however, that is not how this wine will taste.  The name comes from the way the grapes are prepared. At harvest time the vintners pick the best bunches of grapes and lay them on beds of straw in well-ventilated rooms.  The grapes are left until December when the grape juice and its flavor will have concentrated. The sweet, concentrated, grape juice is used to make the wine which is aged in oak barrels for at least three years to produce a sweet dessert wine with a 15 –18% alcohol content. The Vin de Paille may be on the wine list as a dessert wine, but it is just as likely to be in the kitchen flavoring a sauce.

There are other wines made in a similar manner in other parts of France, and they are also called a Vins de Paille but; the most well-known is this Vin de Paille from the departement of Jura.   Vin de Paille  from the Jura acquires its distinctive taste from the Savagnin grape

Vin de Paille from the Jura on French menus:

Barbue Meunière, Fondue de Choux Pack-Choï, Fumet au Vin de Paille Brill, the fish, cooked in a meunier sauce served with bok choy Chinese cabbage cooked to a pulp and flavored with a fish stock made together with the vin de paille. Sauce Meunier is one of the simplest and best sauces for white fish. The name translates as a sauce prepared in the manner of a miller’s wife. In French cuisine, there are many traditional names like this that have no direct connection to a particular dish. The sauce is made with clarified butter, lemon juice, and parsley and often the Maître D’ will prepare this sauce at the table.

Vin de Paille grapes ready to be made into wine.

Ris De Veau Rôti, Sauce au Vin de Paille Mousseline de Carottes Jaunes – Roasted veal sweetbreads served with a sauce made with the vin de paille and accompanied by young carrots prepared as a very light moose.  (The word mousseline comes from the original use of muslin fabric to make fine purees before the arrival of very thin metal sieves).
Velouté De Courge au Vin de Paille –A velvety pumpkin soup flavored with vin de paille.

Escalope de Foie Gras Chaud, Jus au Vin de Paille A lightly cooked slice of fattened duck liver served hot with a sauce made from the natural cooking juices and vin de paille wine,

Macvin de Jura AOC - Not a wine but a liqueur.

Macvin de Jura AOC is a grape liquor produced in the Jura from an ancient tradition; however, when you check on the tradition's history it is apparently so old that no one seems to be very clear about when it began!   Nevertheless, to produce the liqueur the Savagnin wine and its must, the grape juice, are reduced in quantity by heating.  Then in a manner similar to Pineau de Charente from Cognac, Pommeau from Calvados and  Floc de Gascogne from Armagnac an eau-de vie, a young brandy, is mixed with the fermenting wine to stop the fermentation and that leaves a liqueur with 16% alcohol. Macvin reds and rosés are made with the pinot noir grape.  A Macvin is drunk cold as an aperitif or as a dessert wine.  The Macvin used in the kitchen is usually the white Macvin; when the red or rosé is used it will usually be noted on the menu listing,
Macvin Du Jura label.
Photograph courtesy of Fruitière Vinicole de Pupillin

Macvin AOC on French Menus:

Millefeuille Melon Et Pastèque En Gelée De Macvin Blanc Interleaved slices of melon and watermelon served with a dessert jelly flavored with white Macvin.

Foie De Veau Poêlé Au Macvin Calves’ liver lightly fried in Macvin.

Trilogie De Crème Brulée (Vanille-Macvin Blanc-Miel Et Noix). A trilogy, a group of three Crème Brulees, one flavored with vanilla and Macvin, the next with honey and the third with walnuts.
A trilogy of Crème Brulees

Le Tournedos de Pintade au Macvin et sa Purée Maison - Breast of Guinea fowl flavored with Macvin and served with the house’s special potato puree.

Glace aux Noix Arrosée au Macvin Ice cream with walnuts sprinkled with Macvin.
Other products from the French Jura
The Jura offers fresh crayfish and fish from its streams, rivers, and lakes as well as poultry and pork products from local farms including their famous smoked sausage, the Saucisse de Morteau AOP.

Also in the menu listings will be the Jura’s many excellent cheeses.
The most famous cheeses from the Jura:
Bleu de Gex AOP- A blue veined cow’s milk AOC cheese.

Comté AOP  The most famous of France’s the hard, yellow, cow’s milk cheeses.

Aging Comte cheeses.

Mont d’Or AOP A mild cow’s milk cheese that is only available for about six months in a year as the cheese is only produced in the winter.
Morbier AOP - A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese,

There are many local fresh cow's milk cheeses that will be offered for breakfast or as a dessert in the Jura. The most popular is Cancoillotte, a  gooey cow’s milk cheese that is served as a dip or a spread.
Jura in France and Jura in Switzerland.
The French department of Jura’s name confuses many first-time visitors as they're set against the Jura Mountains that are shared by Switzerland and France. The French department of Jura borders the Swiss Canton of Vaud not the Swiss Canton of Jura, though it is not far away.

Before 31-12-2015 Jura was  part of the region of  Franche-Comté
On 1-1-2016 France reduced the number of mainland regions from 22 to 13; to cut red tape and taxes. The department of Jura is now part of the super region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Connected Posts:


Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are nearly 400 articles that include over 2,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations. Add the word, words or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google or Bing.
Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2017.
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Chèvre and Chevreau or Cabri – Goat’s Cheese and a Young Goat, a Kid, on Your French Menu.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
White goats.
While the word chèvre does mean an adult goat, on French mainland menus, it will be indicating a goat’s milk cheese. Chevreau or Cabri will be on menu listings for a dish prepared with the meat of a kid, a young goat. (Cabri is the word for goat in Occitan and it will be on menus in the South of France).

The young goats, the kids.

France’s important and very large goat’s cheese industry provides the young males for restaurant menus as they will not grow up to provide milk.  As soon as the young males are weaned, they will be allowed to graze freely until they go to market. Young goats, the kids, from 2 to 6 months old taste much like lamb and will often be prepared with recipes for lamb. In the south of France Easter celebrations often include roast kid.
A nanny goat, a chèvre, with two kids, chevreaux.
Chevreaux is the plural of chevreau.

France has many different goat breeds.  These breeds are known to the cognoscenti not only for the cheeses they produce but also for the quality of their meat.  Many menu listings will clearly give the origin of the goat on the menu and for those who know their goat breeds that may well be the reason they choose a particular dish.

Goats grazing on the leaves in Argan trees in Morroco,
The nuts from these rare trees are the source of Argan oil.
Chevreau on French menus:

Gigot de Chevreau Rôti Accompagné d'un Fricassé de Légumes Printanier Roast leg of kid accompanied by stewed spring vegetables.
Les Fins Ris de Chevreau Poêlés Minute aux Champignons Forestiers - Sauce Crémée Aux Morilles – The delicate sweetbreads of a kid very lightly fried and served with wild mushrooms and a creamy wild morel mushroom sauce.
This breed of goats are called Chevre des Fossés
They will be seen along France's Channel coast.
Chevreau Fermier de l'Aveyron, Aligot ou Légumes – A farm raised kid from the department of Aveyron in the old region of the Midi-Pyrénées now part of the super region of Occitanie. Here it is served with a very tasty, traditional, mashed potato and cheese dish called Aligot accompanied by vegetables.

Colombo de Cabri -  A goat's meat stew made with a blend of spices associated with Tamil Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. This is a dish seen in France’s Caribbean departments and then a mature goat, slowly cooked, may be in the pot. The Colombo spice group includes coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard, cloves, fenugreek, and pepper. The word cabri, meaning goat,  comes from Occitan, the language of d’Oc.   D’Oc or Occitan is the language that lost out in the search for a single language to unite France. Despite losing to out to modern French there are, still today, millions of French citizens who speak Occitan or understand one of its dialects, which includes Provencal, alongside modern French. Occitan was brought to the islands by settlers, probably from Provence. Apart from bringing their language the settlers would have also brought goats as Provence is famous for its many excellent goats’ cheeses and recipes

Three different cuts.

Fricassée De Chevreau Sauce Mijotée Serpolet Et Garniture De Légumes – A stew of kid served with a simmering sauce of wild thyme and garnished with vegetables. The original fricassées were only made with chicken; however, that was originally; today fricassées are often made with veal, other poultry, shellfish, vegetables and occasionally lamb, kid or rabbit.  As a fricassée was traditionally made with white meats, the same dish may also be called a ragoût blanc, a white stew. 
Chevreau Rôti Au Miel D'acacia et au Romarin A kid roasted with honey and rosemary.
Ragoût De Cabri Au Vin – A traditional French stew from Provence here made with a kid and added wine; it will be a dry white wine.  A ragoût holds a prominent place in French cuisine and will be on many menus. Ragoûts may be made with beef, game, lamb, kid, fish, poultry or vegetables.  The recipes call for relatively uniform pieces and require slow cooking in stock, with or without wine.   A ragoût blanc, a white ragout, will be veal, kid, lamb, rabbit, poultry, fish, shellfish or pork.  A ragoût blanc will include cream or crème fraîche as well as white wine and a light stock in the recipe. A fricassee and a blanquette are other names for a ragoût blanc.

The meat of adult male and female goats.   

Many will have heard that adult goat meat is associated with a strong gamey taste along with a stringy texture. When that is the case it is due to the age of the goat followed by the method of cooking.  In mainland France, mature goat meat will be in tasty salami type sausages and slowly cooked dishes such as daubes and other stews where the meat is well marinated before it is cooked. The correct French name for a mature female goat, a she goat, is a chèvre; a mature male goat, a he goat, is a bouc.

France has three closely related wild goat families; the two best-known groups live high in the Alps and the Pyrenees.  The family members in the Alps are called the chamois and those in the Pyrenees are called the izard or isard; none of these goats have ever been farmed. Fully grown the Alpine Chamois reaches 80cms high and have 20 cm horns; they are all legally hunted in a short season. These wild goats do occasionally make the menus of restaurants that specialize in wild game, gibier in French.

The Chamois
The French overseas departments.
France’s overseas departments include the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Antillaise, the French Caribbean, the department of Guyane (just above Brazil in South America) and the Indian Ocean Islands of Mayotte and Réunion. These departments are as much part of France as Paris, but the centerpiece of their cuisine is French Creole with many differences between the French Antillaise cuisine from the Caribbean and that of the Indian Ocean islands. Other, different, French Creole cuisines come from France’s overseas territories and from independent countries such as Haiti that were once ruled by France.

Goat meat is low fat.
For those concerned with the amount of fat in their diet goat meat is the leanest red meat available and has fewer calories and cholesterol than chicken or turkey. 

France is famous for its magnificent goat’s milk cheeses.

There are over one hundred registered French goat's milk cheeses, and close to 20 have an AOP for their consistent quality, taste, and method of production. Among the very best of France’s goat’s cheeses are Banon AOP, Charolaise AOP,  Pelardon des Cévennes AOP,  Rocamadour AOP,  Sainte-Maure de Touraine AOP,  and Valençay AOP. They are all very different, and goat’s milk also has less lactose than cow’s milk. For more about buying cheese in France and taking French cheese home click here.

Connected Posts:



Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are nearly 400 articles that include over 2,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations. Add the word, words or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google or Bing.

Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2017.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman