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Jacques Puffeney is known in the wine world as the The Pope of Arbois; and his wine is a wonder.

I first blogged on the Arbois region and the Trousseau grape after tasting the remarkable Le Ginglet from Philippe Bornard. Bornard is a budding talent with a gift, but Puffeney is certainly the master.

Screen shot 2010-04-24 at 7.39.27 PMArbois is an obscure, tucked away corner of the world on the Eastern border of France. The Puffeney vineyard sits in the village of Montagney-les-Asures down a tiny winding road and at the top of hill.

Rural. Timeless. Pastoral and steeped in a sense of quiet history with buildings and squares dating from the 1300s.

Puffeney is a first generation winemaker, son of a vineyard worker who began making wine at 17 but supported himself originally as a cheese maker. He is held in esteem as the preeminent vigneron in Arbois. The definition of a vigneron is a winemaker who focuses on the importance of the land and vineyard over the craft of the cave. This fits Jacques Puffeney perfectly although he is known as a master of both.

This wine is a pleasure to drink. Easy. Deep cherry in flavor. Weightless, elegant but full and rich. Mineral and slightly austere. Soft tannins and a lingering finish.

Puffeney and this remarkable bottle of incomparable red wine are an open door to this terroir. An entry point into this unusual part of France, an obscure grape and a dreamier, accessible understanding of wine as a natural part of life and unique taste to discover and relish.

This bottle is difficult to find. Check with Chambers Street Wines in TriBeCa. They had a few for $29.99.

If you can’t find it, try some others from Arbois and get to know this area and this delicate and inspiring approach to wine.