Hi all, in response to abby d’s recent request on the prior thread (http://www.chowhound.com/post/good-fo...), and now that DCM has resurfaced and recently graced that thread, I’m encouraged to post this belated report (sans detail about dishes, dommage) concerning our Jura dining in February 2016.
When we arrived by TVG at Dole we were in a rush to disembark before the train rolled on to Lausanne. Pulling our bags in the tunnel under the tracks heading to the car rental counter, I patted my front pocket. No iPhone. Short version: Seven hours later, after walking around lovely old town Dole, we were sitting in a nearly empty hotel restaurant, Moulin des Ecores (http://www.hotel-restaurant-dole-jura... ) when Madame proprietor walked to our table and, with a smile, delivered it back to me. Vive SNCF! Ecores is an old mill right on the river Doubs. It has a Swiss/Scandinavian modern feel. The dining was solid. We think it, and the connected bistro, would be a lively place in the summer.
Off the next morning (pat, pat my pocket) to Arbois and environs just north for pre-arranged cellar tastings at Domaine Pelican and later at Dugois (http://www.vins-danieldugois.com/ ). In between those appointments we returned to light and welcoming Le Bistronome in Arbois (see prior thread) for a lovely fresh fish lunch at a floor-to-ceiling window table above the swollen, churning and gorgeously green/grey Le Cuisance river. This place impressed us more than on the prior visit in Sept 2015; the cooking is bright and fresh. Madame proprietor is lovely and the demi of aged (2002) Tournelle Arbois Terre de Gryphées chardonnay was a treat on the otherwise thin list.
We stayed again at Closerie les Capucines (see prior thread), and got to know even better stylish and engaging Patricia. We recommend this place very highly -- but as other friends recently discovered, you must reserve well in advance; the 5 rooms book quickly.
Arbois is s a compact town, and all three dinners were again within easy walking distance -- if anything, too close. We like long walks before and after.
Our first night was the opening of what was formerly Jean-Paul Jeunet (**). It’s now totally remodeled, taken over by his former second, Steven Naessens, and renamed Maison Jeunet (http://www.maison-jeunet.com/fr/). They were making last minute carpentry changes to the entry and front door just two hours earlier when we took a pre-dinner hike. Haute cuisine, with a regional twist. The welcome was a bit flamboyant. Overall I liked it more that than before; my wife Mo may have preferred the original. There was a significant service glitch (they started to bring a cheese course before we had our plats), but then again, it was the first night. Great wine list, as before. We had a fine decanted 2010 Ganevat cuvee prestige (savagnin).
Second dinner: Les Caudalies, http://www.lescaudalies.fr/fr/index.php . This is clearly a family run place. Watching the floor team you can easily identify dad, young son, daughter and her husband. It was a pleasure to observe their mostly smooth choreography, signaling to each other with a discrete gesture or nod. The youngest man in particular has a sense of elegance and grace on his feet. The room feels a bit early 90s, as does the cooking, but it was quite good. The bonus here is a fine wine list -- we had a decanted 2011 Puffeney Arbois savagnin.
Third dinner: Aux Docks. http://www.aux-docks.com/ This is the new place at the town square -- a modern and bright brasserie/ restaurant with, again a very good regional wine list, beautifully constructed and presented, with fine descriptions, by British wine author Wink Lorch (see the prior thread). But if we’d not known to ask for that list, we’d probably not have seen it -- they apparently don’t promote it. The regular list is rather simple, and not especially regional. The service was otherwise good. Some dishes were bright and fresh; others were rustic and traditional; it was an appealing combination. We had an older Dugois savagnin (notice a trend?)
Other lunches: After a Sunday drive over the low mountain to lovely Salin-les Bains (nice museum of salt) and then south through the snowing foothills we found ourselves back in Poligny at lunchtime, so we returned to La Sergenterie (see prior thread) where we are lucky to be seated (last table in bustling the underground vaulted cellars) for the same dishes we had before -- trout in a light vin jaune sauce; and perch in vin jaune with morels. Pas mal!
But the most memorable lunch of the trip was one that would be nearly impossible to replicate. On a Saturday morning we drove south below Lons le Saunier (where we planned to attend the 20th annual two day “Percée du Vin Jaune” with about 40,000 others) for a planned 10:30 visit with former Parisian Henri Le Roy of l’Aigle à Deux Têtes (http://www.domaine-aigleadeuxtetes.com/ ) in the sleepy village of Vincelles. What a sharp, friendly, brilliant and generous man. At his suggestion we drove with him and his SO (with her, we had to speak our poor French) to walk in his two vineyards, then back down to his ancient black moldy cellars -- one for blanc, the other for rouge -- to taste his 15s in barrel; then upstairs to taste some of his older bottled wines. At that point he asked us where we intended to have lunch, and when we said, “we’ll find a stand at the Percée,” he responded, “that will not do; I will make you pancakes.”
We drove to his house where his SO and five cats were waiting in the kitchen. He fired up the wood burning stove, whipped up batter for and made savory crepes, folding in eggs and comté grated from a hunk. These were served with his wines (in Zalto glasses no less) accompanied by garden greens, pungent morbier, fresh saucisson, baked escargot in pastry shells, and the most amazing pear with, like the tops of his wines, a wax button on the stem. At 15:00, reluctant to end the fascinating and wide-ranging conversations we were having, we finally said our thanks and au revoirs and headed to the Percée, where parking was almost but not quite impossible. It was on the cusp of closing for the day. But we’d not have traded lunch with Henri. It’s because of experiences like this that we love our travels into the deep countryside.
PS: In our checked bags when we returned home (after a few extra days in Paris) we pulled out physical memories from the Jura: 19 bottles of vin jaune (8 from an impromptu visit with Jean-Claude Credoz in Chateau Chalon); and some costy but great chocolate bars from Hirsinger.
Note: In the US one can buy Henri’s wines --- all of which are made in the “ouillé” (fresh/topped up) style, rather than the oxidative style (we love both) -- at or online through K&L in LA/San Francisco (they are the West coast importer). K&L also is the importer for Dugois, which makes nice wines in the more traditional/rustic, and sometimes sous voile style. -- Jake