For those in the know, one region in France has recently become the wine world's new "secret handshake."
As a generation of drinkers moves away from the rich, heavy wines that were so popular 10 years ago, the Jura--a sleepy cluster of villages in eastern France--has exploded out of obscurity. Now it's being adopted as the darling of hip sommeliers and savvy insiders across the country.
The elegant reds, based on Pinot Noir and Jura's local varietals like Poulsard and Trousseau, impress with their finesse, mingling purity with bright red fruit--the perfect wine for a roast chicken dinner. And wine geeks especially swoon over the area's unorthodox whites, which are often made in a nutty, oxidative style akin to dry sherry.
By now, the Jura explosion has hit critical mass: Restaurants looking for wine credibility feature at least one bottle on their list. Here are some spots where you can impress your guests (and your sommelier) by ordering the Jura's offerings:
New York In the West Village, Anfora's wine director Joe Campanale has diverged from the exclusively Italian focus of his previous restaurants, showcasing a handful of Jura wines from legendary producer Jacques Puffeney, who's been hailed as the "Pope" of the Jura.
San Francisco Heirloom Café, a wine-centric restaurant in the Mission, always highlights a Jura or two on its small, thoughtful list of artisanal producers. All bottles are also offered by the glass, so diners can experiment easily.
Portland, Oregon At Tabla Mediterranean Bistro, sommelier Michael Garofola favors esoteric picks like the 2005 Chateau D'Arlay Corail rosé (pictured), a blend of the region's signature grapes that drinks more like a light-red than pours in the rosé category.