Rare Back-Vintage Jura: Loye Arbois Rouge Cuvee St. Paul 1988 & 1989

Posted by Joe Salamone

Back-Vintage Jura Rarity
1988 & 1989 Camille Loye
Arbois Rouge Cuvée St. Paul

Today, Camille Loye is in his nineties. He's been retired for decades, but in his day he was one of the great, old-fashioned Jura producers.

And lucky for us, he has a deep cellar of older vintages.

For Loye, standard practice was to release vintages when they were at peak maturity. Today, we're the benefactors of this old-school practice with two perfectly stored older vintages.

Even now, with Loye's number retired and the absolute quantities of his wines declining every day, the prices are still very fair. Both bottlings, from two top vintages, are under $60. For any devotee of the Jura - these are beautiful time capsules from a very special place.

I first tasted Loye's wines during my first trip to Jura some years ago at what's arguably Jura' best restaurant, the Michelin two-star Jean-Paul Jeunet. The experience was enough to have me picking up some more bottles the next day to bring home.

"Greatness" isn't the right word; indeed, these wines (even when young) are not at all about body or plushness or size or fruit - they are complex and very detailed, yet rustic. They are honest and clear, and their vocabulary is so unique. (That said, greatness does lurk here: a bottle of 89 Loye Arbois Chardonnay remains one of the best Jura wines I've tasted.)

I've been searching for more Loye for a long time; finally, a few weeks ago, I landed a small parcel. It's an old boring story, but the size of the parcel is so small that this offer is only going out to people who have supported our esoteric offerings. Membership to the "wine geek" club has its privileges.

Both 88 & 89 were very strong vintages in the Jura. They were both vintages that supplied the balance between ripeness and fresh acidity that mark the best Jura vintages. 89 may have slightly more power, while 88 is more about vigor and finesse.

Loye's St. Paul bottling is based on Trousseau, Jura's longest lived red grape. There's no mistaking that both bottles on offer today are Jura reds at their peak maturity - you have been warned! These are not wines about fruit and power - they are about delicacy. In fact, the color is a pale red (almost rosé) with some wild berry fruit remaining and plenty of secondary notes of earth, river rocks and gentle undertones of medicinal roots.

In recent years, interest in the Jura has exploded. The Wine Advocate's recent coverage of the region may show best the importance that this erstwhile outlier region has assumed. Despite its recent popularity, older examples remain exceedingly rare, especially the region's red wines. We're happy to remedy this somewhat today

Both the 88 and 89 offer a rare opportunity to experience an old Jura red with perfect provenance. The only catch is that quantities are limited. Give us your maximum order and we'll allocate accordingly.

To order, please email us offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits