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02 Oct 2021 | Samantha Dugan


I dropped a torn bit of perfectly crusty bread onto my plate, stabbed it with my fork and drug it slowly, and deliberately, through a luscious puddle of intensely creamy, sauce that was perfumed with intensely aromatic white wine and earthy mushrooms. Once the morsel of bread was so impregnated with sauce that it couldn’t possibly absorb anymore, I brought the fork to my mouth, and the mere inhaling taunting my palate, fork to my lips, saturated nubbin of bread plunked upon my palate. You know those moments when you are rendered utterly speechless by a dish leaving you sounding like a caveman, just grunts and groans, yeah it was one of those moments.

We were sitting at a tiny table, in a tiny café, in the Jura. We had spent the late afternoon visiting Xavier Reverchon, dashing out to see the vineyards between massive rain dumps, both to show us his vines, and so the nervous vigneron could access if there was any damage.

Xavier pointed out several vineyards that had been pretty much abandoned by farmers that weren’t up to the task of working so hard to make so little wine, and wines that most the world doesn’t even know and that many don’t understand.

France’s Jura is tucked between Burgundy and Switzerland and known for their stunningly beautiful views, mountain cheeses and for making some of the most unique wines in all of France. Cold weather, rain and hail, merciless soils and indigenous varieties all part of the scaffolding that make the wines truly unlike any other, and I think that’s pretty damn cool.

How does one describe the wines of Jura? To taste the wines is the only real way to understand them.  It is.  I can do my best to give you an idea, but my feeble verbiage will not be able to truly do them justice, but maybe I can get your curiosity flickering.

 Vin Jaune, or “Yellow wine” is Jura’s most elite wine, and it is an intentionally oxidized white wine made from local grape variety, Savagnin.  The wines are aged, without topping off, a minimum of 6 years and three months, sous voil or “under a veil,” which is a layer of yeast that forms and provides a sort of cap which lets the wine become oxidized while protecting its freshness.  These wines are rare and highly coveted.  That said, they can be challenging for the uninitiated.

Jura producers also make varietal Savagnin and Chardonnay that can also be sous voile, or topped off not oxidized.  Those wines don’t need to age as long and tend to be a little less severe while still expressing the region’s unique terroir.  

Growers in Jura harvest red wines as well, made from local Trousseau and Poulsard, along with some Pinot Noir.  The reds tend to be lighter in body but still packed with distinctive Jura character.  They also have high acidity that makes them come off almost crunchy and perfect for the rich, creamy, often cheesy foods of the area.

It was one of those dishes, a famous regional dish called Poulet Au Vin Jaune De Jura, that reduced to a satiated, wine, cream and mushroom soaked puddle. I knew I had to recreate the dish at home and share the delights of France’s Jura with my own little village here in Long Beach.

The official French name for this dish is in fact Poulet Au Vin Jaune de Jura, but for us here at home, I call it “Drunken Yard Bird” and here is my rendition. Be adventurous and be sure to get some Jura white wine to serve with it!  

Drunken Yard Bird

1 Chicken Cut Into 8 Pieces or 8 Chicken Thighs

1 Large Shallot Diced

2 Cloves of Garlic Minced

5-6 Springs of Thyme

1 oz Dried Morel Mushrooms

1 Cup Boiling Water

¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour

4 Tablespoons Butter (Use the good stuff)

8 oz Crème Fraiche

2 Cups Jura White Wine (Traditional/Oxidized)

Salt & Pepper

Crusty Bread/Pasta/Rice (For sopping up the rich, decadent sauce)

Toss chicken pieces in a large bowl and season, well, with salt & pepper. Sprinkle ¼ cup flour over chicken pieces and toss to coat completely.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy bottom pot. Working in batches brown the chicken until deeply golden. Transfer pieces to a platter.

Sautee shallots and garlic until soft. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of Jura White Wine, scrapping up any and all bits at the bottom of the pan.

Add strained mushroom liquid, thyme sprigs and return chicken to pan with any juices accumulated on the platter. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, partially covered for 40-50 minutes. Halfway through adjust the chicken pieces so everyone gets a swim in the winey pool.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon flour together to make a paste. Remove chicken to another platter, taste sauce and adjust seasoning if needed (It will need it) and whisk paste into sauce, simmer until it begins to thicken, 3-5 minutes.

Lower the heat to low, whisk in crème fraise and ¼ cup of wine. Add chicken back to pan and cook another 10 minutes until everything is nicely coated and thickened.

Remove chicken a final time and arrange on platter (if you are using pasta or rice place chicken atop that on the platter) discard thyme sprigs and add final ¼ cup of wine and cook 1 minute, you want a strong wine flavor and punch here. Pour sauce over chicken and serve. I used big hunks of grilled bread in place of pasta or rice, something indulgent and satisfying about dunking the bread in that supple, rich, savory sauce.

Enjoy & Cheers,

Samantha, admitted food nerd

Suggested wines

2018 Jean-Claude Credoz Melon Cotes Du Jura $34.99

2018 Jean-Claude Credoz Cotes Du Jura $42.99

2015 Xavier Reverchon Saint Savin Chardonnay $28.99

2017 Domaine Courbet Cotes Du Jura Tradition $24.99

And if you really want to treat yourself

2012 Domaine Credoz Chateau-Chalon (the top wines of the region)  $97.99


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