Purple Pager Wink Lorch of www.winetravelguides.com is right. The Jura is a delightfully bucolic region about which I will be writing in more detail but wanted to make two specific recommendations, and to alert Brits to a new flight service to Dole which may also be of use to those planning to visit Burgundy (see below).
Over the last 10 days I have eaten extensively and stayed in all sorts of establishments in Spain, Switzerland and other parts of France while Nick celebrated his 60th birthday, his return to form and gathered material for his resumption of restaurant reviewing duties on 7 July (see how we have been filling the gap), but two places in the Jura of particular interest to wine lovers stood out.
And it is worth remembering that, thanks to the delightful French habit of continuing to invest in its network of autoroutes, it takes only an hour to drive from Nuits-St-Georges in Burgundy to Arbois in the Jura. Next time you plan a trip to Burgundy, you may wish to wind down in the Jura afterwards – en route to Geneva airport perhaps, as Burgundy is not close to any really useful air hub?
We have been concentrating on the Jura's northern cluster of winemaking talent so have not visited the delightful likes of Ganevat, but here are two strong recommendations.
La Balance in Arbois is a really generous, local, wine-minded restaurant on the main street. Thierry Moyne and his team do everything to make you feel welcome and add far more than they need to the experience of eating in a comfortable local auberge. The signature dish is Coq au vin jaune and comes in a large casserole with top-quality bread and masses of unexpected bits before and after. They take trouble to source everything, including some excellent coffee from Guadeloupe, with care. It's certainly not glamorous – we sat on plastic chairs on the terrace outside – but we could not have enjoyed our €57 lunch for two more. It's closed Wednesdays, and Tuesday evenings except in July and August, and is the favourite haunt of leading winemaker Stéphane Tissot of Montigny.
We stayed in an extremely tasteful new bed and breakfast on the main street in Poligny run by natural wine producer Ludwig Bindernagel of Les Chais du Vieux Bourg and his wife Nathalie Eigenschenk. Les Jardins sur Glantine is in an old hôtel particulier, once home to a family with eight children, with a beautiful small garden and courtyard where we shared Nathalie's superior and beautifully presented cuisine with fellow guests, all interested in wine. As I write I can hear nothing but birdsong and the stream that flows noisily at the bottom of Nathalie's rose-garlanded terraces (with sun loungers).
Ludwig was an architect before turning to wine. All is extremely easy on the eye and very comfortable. Wink reports that not all rooms have their own bathrooms. Our high-ceilinged accommodation included a large bedroom, a sitting room with room for two or three more to sleep, a very modern bathroom and modest kitchen facilities. The rate for two people is €150 a night including a massive breakfast with every home-made delight you could think of. Altogether, a most relaxing place, as recommended by Tim Johnston of Juveniles wine bar in Paris. Good-quality chocolates in the room – but be warned that they don't take credit cards.
In July and August twice-weekly flights between Cambridge(!) and Dole are planned by Danube Wings. Could be useful for Burgundy too. More information here.