L’Étoile AOC is a white wine AOC dating from 1937, the smallest AOC in the Jura region of eastern France. It covers four communes listed below. L’Étoile occupies five hills surrounding the eponymous township.
Communes: L’Étoile. | Plainoiseau. | Quintigny. | Saint-Didier.
The name: Étoile means star in French, and in this case refers specifically to the five edged, flower or star-shaped remains of fossils (marine invertebrates called echinoderms) found in the area’s limestone soils.
Wines: The wines can be both still or sparkling, with the still wines also made as Vin de Paille and Vin Jaune (see below for more detail). They are made mainly from Chardonnay plus optional minor additions of Savagnin and even Poulsard, a red grape whose thin skin is so low in polyphenolics (tannin and colouring matter) that it barely taints the clear juice with any colour.
Wine production: 1988 50ha produced 3,333hl (Clive Coates MW: 1990, p.343). | 2002 55ha produced 2,718hl (Guide Hachette des Vins 2004, p.689).
L’Étoile AOC Blanc
L’Étoile AOC Vin de Paille: L’Étoile vin de paille is a white dessert wine made from bunches of grapes dried for upto two months by laying them on mats or mesh in warmed huts. The fermentation is long and the resulting wine spends upto 4 years in wood. The rich, dried apricot aftertaste is long lasting. L’Étoile vin de Paille is rarely seen, but in outstanding years such as 1990, 1988 and to a lesser extent 1986 is one of France’s little known gems.
L’Étoile AOC Vin Jaune: L’Étoile vin jaune is more usually based on Savagnin than Chardonnay.
Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p115.
Tom Stevenson, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia 5th Edition (Dorling Kindersley, 2011).
Wink Lorch, Jura Wine (Wine Travel Media 2014).