Did you know that Louis Pasteur was born in Arbois, one of the four AOC wine making regions in Jura? Or that beyond his work with milk, he helped further the perfection of wine and beer fermentation? A question about wine- and beer-making prompted Pasteur's research into fermentation. Using a microscope he found that properly aged wine contains small spherical globules of yeast cells, whereas sour wine contains elongated yeast cells, leading him to the discovery that to produce the correct type of fermentation it is necessary to use the correct type of yeast.
Pasteur lived in Arbois all his life. I tour his house, which has been turned into a museum. It is a thrill to walk through his hallways and rooms, and to peer out the window and see the same village he must himself have seen every day (in the Jura, little changes from year to year, decade to decade, century to century). Afterward, I taste wine from his vineyards, now owned by Henri Marie. As I drink the Recolte 1983 I am overwhelmed by its freshness and delicious taste, very elegant and balanced, with sophisticated strawberry jam flavors.
Next up is a tasting in the cellars of Jacques Tissot in Arbois, with winemakers from the region. In addition to current vintages for sale, a few producers break out dust-covered bottles of 1969 and 1989, both banner years. Which brings us to that dinner with the producers at the abovementioned Jean-Paul Jeunet, which, with its two Michelin stars, is a destination for wealthy people who like good wine and food. It is a very busy place and the cheese cart looks fantastic.
Today’s tour of the Arbois AOC, from the sepia photographs at Desire Petit to the nineteenth century home of Louis Pasteur and the bustling Jean-Paul Jeunnet restaurant, demonstrated how historically important yet vibrant this area really is.