Oh Vin Jaune.
You bring out the drunk in every Frenchman.
Have I ever mentioned my love of French decor?
La Percée du Vin Jaune, is a festival held annually in the region of Jura. It celebrates the opening of casks of white wine that have been aging for 6 years and four months. As it sits it reduces by about 40% and stays safe from oxidation under a layer of yeast.
We found ourselves at this year’s celebration because it was held in the village of Voiteur, where Vincent’s family have had a house for many years. So eight of us traveled north to drink the wine of Jura.
It’s a pretty big event, about 40,000 people show up to walk around to taste wines from 83 different vineyards. Most people buy bottles and walk around in weird hats drinking all day. It was odd, I had never seen so many drunk French people before, especially before noon. Java described it best “I feel like the most sober person at a really great party, and I’m just not sure what to do with myself”. I also felt this way, it was an unfamiliar feeling to say the least. To match the masses of people there are an equal amount of police to keep order.
If you ever find yourself at la Percée du Vin Jaune, I would suggest you get out to taste as soon as possible, the lines get terrible after 2 pm. I would also suggest buying a bottle or two to drink while you wait in line, or have lunch, or just walk around.
There are great musical acts that walk all around the village doing inpromptu performances.
The different wine makers set up shop in the caves that seem to belong to almost every home in the village. One of my favorite Jura wine makers are the Courbet family. Jean-Marie Courbet actually first taught Vincent how to make wine.
Jean-Marie wears great hats. His wine is delicious, a regional craft at it’s finest.
While I was walking around I got a great sandwich. An andouillette sausage cooked with caremalized onions cooked in the wine of Jura, it was served inside of a baugette that had a healthy schmear of Dijon. Andouillette is made of a mixture of pork and veal tripe, before you turn your nose up or go running for the door, have a bite. As our friend Vincent says you have to ask your butcher for ones that “don’t taste like shit”.
They are delicious.
On Sunday morning they do the official tapping of the kegs. About 10,000 people filter into a large area to watch the dignitaries fill the first bottles and sing the official Vin Jaune song.
Then they have people with bottles of the stuff filling up glasses for 10,000 thirsty people.
Oh and this happens at 11:30 in the morning.