Romance, Spice & All The Surprises Are Nice

Domaine Philippe Vandelle
Poulsard 2020
Côtes du Jura AOC
100% Poulsard
Jura, France
l’agriculture raisonnée
Winemaker: Philippe Vandelle

Glimmering strawberry cocktail (a little chilled). Those same strawberries are waving hello to my nose along with raspberries, a little blueberries, cherries, and let it open and there’s a pinch of spice with some forest goodness. All those berries are there again but this time they’ve brought cranberries with them, a smidge of citrus zest, and a puff of salty smoke that fades only to gently return. Even with all the fruit, It’s so light, refreshing, crisp and clean.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: bursts of juicy cherry

2nd Vandelle and again you can taste where it’s born, and thank goodness this poulsard has it’s chance in the sun and not blended away. Feels like that spark of first falling in love. It’s kind of like when you meet that special person and it’s all new. There’s romance, spice and all the surprises are nice. Y’all know Valentine’s Day is soon upon us, and I can vouch this bottle would be better than that yearly bon bons default. 🍬

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Brightest Star in the Sky

Clos Santa Ana
Sirios 2016
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 15% Carménère 
organic, biodynamic, native yeasts, unfined & unfiltered
Coluchagua Valley, Chile
Owners: Roberto Ibarra García and Luiz Antonio de Gracia Allegretti

Shiny garnet pour. Scents gently emerge and grow of cherries, wild plums, leather that turns into olives and then cola, throw in a sprig of hay, lavender, and lilacs. Tasting tart and dark cherry, plums, orange zest and a little raspberries start. Next up is a small oak/wooden moment (reminds me of my grandfather’s woodshop) and a little balsamic droplet, tiny hay exhale and a white pepper tingle. Just darn comfortably rustic.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Absolutely NO…BUT is amazing with Picandine’s Pico soft ripened goat cheese. The wine turns into velvet.

Not going to lie, I totally bought this wine due to Sirios (Sirius) the label. Little did I know that it would lead me to one of the coolest animal foster homes in the world. They’ve been known to have around 100 dogs at any given time and that’s not all. You’ll also find cats, horses, geese, goats, sheep, donkeys and the big surprise for me…peacocks! The grounds and the 150 year old hacienda are just gorgeous (check their video). You can even rent a room to spend time with not only the wine and animals, but also too take time to appreciate their art collection. This place is just a little slice of heaven on earth.

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Everybody Wants To Be A Cat

Domaine de Saint Pierre/Fabrice Dodane
Le Dos D’Chat
Trousseau des Corvées 2019
Organic, native yeasts
Mathenay, Jura, France
Winemaker: Fabrice Dodane

Dark shiny garnet. Take a breath and here comes strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and raspberries tumbling out and followed by irises, tiny green shoots, and as it grows there’s raisins, pinch of earth, and a tiny zip of lemon zest. Tip back and dancing on my tongue are cherries, plums…and boy is this smoooooth! Keep going and there’s strawblueraspberry with a little blackberry bite, Valencia orange zest, and an earthy underside that plays back on the fringe with a stray strand of hay (and maybe a little pine needle) that wave hello and hide. Now I’m exhaling just a little white pepper (achoo). Give it day of rest and it’ll embrace you with a little bit darker, deeper oomph.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: more berries and soooooo smooooth

This is one happy smooth jazz cat that makes me smile, laugh, and shimmy around the room. He’s not the Cheshire one but more of a whole other clowder. You know like that exuberant, jumping, grooving scene from “The Aristocats”. I’m sure I drove my parents insane playing that song on repeat because you have to know “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” (Electro Swing Remix by Dave Wave).

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My God, It’s Full of Stars

Domaine Philippe Vandelle
Chainai Ouillée 2018
L’Étoile Blanc AOC
Savagnin 100%
Jura France
l’agriculture raisonnée
Winemaker: Philippe Vandelle

Beautiful shimmering shining straw gold. Inhale and there’s apple, heady flowers like honeysuckle and lily, then melon, and a little smoke. Going in for the sip and there’s fresh apple, melon, again that lovely honeysuckle, a splash of lemon zest, and a lick of salt.

Pairs with Cheez-its: brings out more zest but consistently and gloriously delicious.

Sitting here with my glass and reading about Philippe Vandelle and how he ended up in wine. In his case it’s ingrained in his DNA. Six generations of pure love of the land (l’Étoile) in this family. Passing down grape knowledge such as training, harvesting, the sous voile, and in the case of this particular wine, ouillage. Philippe Vandelle also achieved sustainable agriculture designation by Qualité France SA, which is a lot of hard work. An added treat on their website is a selection of recipes that I bet will pair well with their wines

Let’s start off in l’Etoile, which is said to be named after star shaped fossils (of ancient starfish) that can be found in their limestone-rich land. Oh they are just so beautiful! Way back in the Jurassic Period, this lovely land was covered by the sea. Who knows what other creatures swam above this land.

Off to other parts of Jura…from childhood I have always been fascinated with caves and their inhabitants over the ages, so starting off this travel with the Grotte d’Osselle. They do start in Doubs but continue through Jura. Discovered in the 13th century and people began touring them in the 16th. I wonder what spelunking would be like way back then. Think about the fashion of the times, your feet would probably be killing you. Back to the cave and an early dweller. An ancient bear skeleton was discovered back in 1856, and as the years went on and more were found, it became known as a bear burial place. The stalactites and stalagmites are incredible, and give the caverns a religious moving feeling. Check out the pics on the official site.  Don’t let the bears scare you.

Next dream stop is La Cascade des Tufs. This waterfall looks like something out of a fantasy flick…like you could turn around and find a fairy or Gelfling sideline up behind you. Please take a look at this video, and you will totally get what I’m talking about. The fall is fed by the underground Dard river that flows through the Baume-les-Messieurs cave.

Now for something that’s family friendly fun, in Lons-le-Saunier (Jura’s capital) there’s a special museum for something near and dear to a lot of kids’ hearts, La Maison de la Vache Qui Rit. Yes, there is a museum dedicated to the beloved Laughing Cow. Yep, it’s all about that little cheese and the design/packaging throughout the years. Moooooo!

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