Cooking to the Wine: Two Savagnins from Domaine Daniel Dugois with Coquilles St. Jacques (#Winophiles)

In my last post, we got to know the Jura, a tiny region of France near the Swiss border that has become a wine geek favorite. Today we’re going to zero in and take a closer look at what is arguably its star grape – Savagnin.

Although it might not be that well-known in the wider wine-drinking world, Savagnin has quite a bit of range, as we saw last time. In the Jura, it’s used to make many styles of wine from playing a part in the blend for sparkling wines, to classic still wines, to the region’s dessert vin de pailles, and more. Its claim to fame though is that it’s the star of the region’s unique Vin Jaunes – a style of wine that is made in a way similar to fino sherry and with a lot of flavors in common. Wine casks are not filled all the way up to the top, and the bit of room that’s left open at the top allows for a layer of a local yeast to form on top. This thin layer is almost like a film, so it is referred to as voile, meaning veil. This wine is allowed to oxidize more than Fino Sherries, and so develop a lot of very deep nutty flavors. During this aging process, the wines develop a deep yellow color leading to the name Vin Jaune – literally “yellow wine.”

When not made in this oxidative way, Savagnin will show lots of citrus and delicate floral notes, and lots of acidity. It can also show fruit notes ranging from apples to stone fruits, and even heady tropical flavors. 

If you prefer the brighter, fresher style look for the term “Ouillé” on the bottle. It means ‘topped up,’ referring to the wine barrels being kept filled to the top so as to be closed off from air exposure and does not oxidize or develop voile. On the other hand, if you like the sherry-like notes of Vin Jaune, but can’t afford the hefty price tag those wines tend to have, look for the term “sous voile.” These are like baby Vin Jaunes, because the ‘veil’ is allowed to form, but the wines aren’t aged for as long.

Savagnin is an ancient variety and so has had a very long time to morph and propagate, and it’s been busy through the ages. It’s both a chameleon and rather promiscuous. It can show a lot of different clones and biotypes with variations in berry size, color, bunch shape, leaf shape, etc., which has led to many cases of mistaken identity when it comes to this grape. It has often been mistaken for Albariño, for example.

The combination of the grape being ancient, promiscuous, and with an ability to morph via different clones and biotypes, gives me an image crossing Galadriel from LOTR, with Number Six from Battlestar Gallactica, but perhaps a touch softer with an earth mother vibe, since this grape has also given birth to many others.

The grapes also has several aliases, the most common is Traminer, as it’s known in Germany. Gewürztaminer (“spicy Traminer”) is a mutation. This grape also has a long list of progeny including Sauvignon Blanc (don’t go confusing the two!) and Chenin Blanc, and I think you can see shades of both of these grapes in the flavors.

So, we have a grape that takes many forms and guises, showing a wide range of flavors, that can be made in a broad range of styles. I find that both maddening and incredibly exciting. 


I’d had a bottle of Domaine Daniel Dugois Arbois Auréoline 2011 in “my cellar” (i.e. our second bedroom) for a pretty long time. I’m not sure when I got it, or why hadn’t drunk it yet, but now seemed like the time! No more waiting. However, I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t be in the best state since I hadn’t stored it particularly well and it had moved from NYC with us.

I also thought it would be interesting to compare two Savagnins wines made in two different styles side by side, so I took my anxiety over the bottle (mild though it was) as an excuse to buy a second wine. Lucky for me, K&L  had the Domaine Daniel Dugois Savagnin Sous Voile Arbois  2015, giving me the chance to compare bottles from the same producer.

Image borrowed from the winery's website.

Daniel Dugois bought his estate in 1973 in the village of Les Asures, where he was born. The purchase included the house with wine cellars and 2 hectares of vineyards. Initially, he sold most of his grapes to Henri Marie, a prominent producer in the area at the time. In 1982 he decided to start making his own wines and selling them to consumers. Right off the bat, his Chardonnay won a gold medal in a Jura wine contest in his first vintage, gaining him quick recognition. He and his wife Monique continued to work on their wines, and were joined by their son Philippe in 2003. In 2012, he took charge of the vineyards.  

Their vineyards are farmed sustainably (via lutte raisonée) and all grapes are hand-harvested. They use native yeasts for their fermentations.


Arbois Auréoline 2011

SRP at Release: $30  | Alc: 13%

Savagnin is not listed on the bottle, but it is listed as the only grape on the winery’s website. They similarly note that its made in the fresher ouillé style, although it’s not on the bottle. It’s then aged for 8 months in casks, and it does undergo malolactic fermentation. The soils are composed of red clay with sandstone pebbles on red marl. (More details here. I couldn’t find a tech sheet for the current vintage, so it is possible that changes have been made to the winemaking in the interim.)

Tasting Notes: While I was mildly concerned about the fact that I had not stored this bottle very well, I need not have worried. Greg and I were both very pleasantly surprised as to how this wine was doing. It has a few years on it, but the wine had developed really nicely. It was delicious!

Salted almond and buttery notes greeted me on the nose, along with lemon cream, apples lightly dipped in caramel, and hints of sweet spices. On the palate, notes of sweet apricots that were a little dried and cady cap mushrooms joined the party, with a little extra squeeze on lemon on the finish. The wine’s texture was rounded, but there was still lovely acidity to keep it lifted. Altogether, it reminded me of a sunset in early fall.  

Savagnin Sous Voile Arbois 2015

Price at K&L: $24.99 | Alc: 13.5%

This is the “Baby Vin Jaune,” and I was happy to find it since I would’ve liked to have an example of a Vin Jaune, but alas, that was out of my price point at the moment. Like with Vin Jaune, voile is allowed to develop on this wine. It’s also aged for several years in oak barrels in an oxidative environment, though not for as long as with Vin Jaune.

Grapes for this wine come from two different terroirs. The vines in the first were planted in 1976, and the soils are made up of red marl and dolomitic rocks at the top of the parcel. The vines in the second parcel were planted in 1991 and has much deeper red marl covering a mass of fallen limestone mixed with silt. (More details here.)

Tasting Notes: The oxidative and sherry-like notes definitely differentiate this wine from the first. On the nose, there were notes of salted pecans, bruised apple, and chamomile. There was more zip on the palate, with some bright lemon and crisper apple notes mixed in with hints of dried pineapple, dried savory herbs, lemon verbena, Parmesan cheese rind, and even a pinch of curry. It’s complex and opens up with air.

Like other oxidative wines and wines aged under flor, this is an acquired taste. There are a lot of flavors that are pretty different from your average white wine if you don’t have experience with these styles. That said, this is a great way to dip a toe in and check it out at a fraction of the price of a bottle of Vin Jaune.


I wanted to create a dish to go with both of these wines, and after tasting them a picture started to form in my mind. I was thinking scallops, mushrooms, and cream . . . maybe with some cheese and nuts thrown in somehow. As I perused the interwebs for inspiration, I quickly realized that the dish I was starting to envision was actually a classic French dish: Coquille St. Jacques

I looked about a half a dozen recipes – many variations and presentations exist – but ultimately based mine on these two from Food Network and Epicurious. I also took a cue from Ina Garten and added a pinch of curry, since that seemed apropos. I made a few other minor tweaks to further tie the flavors together. This dish also seemed a perfect candidate to be adapted to sous vide cooking, since that completely takes the guesswork out of cooking them, and you don’t need to sear them to develop a caramelized exterior. You could even break this recipe out into phases to prepare when you have spurts of time: cooking the scallops, making the sauce and assembling the dishes, and then the final cooking under the broiler.

When cooked sous vide, it's easy to make sure the scallops turn out perfectly silky.

I also made a simple dish of smashed potatoes topped with herbs and wilted arugula as a side, which was perfect for mopping up the leftover sauce from the scallops. It really took things to the next level, although a big piece of crusty bread alongside the scallops would also be delightful.

Altogether, this meal was a showstopper! So freak’n delicious! It also paired really well with both wines, although it was particularly magical with the Auréoline. The flavors in that wine and the food just danced together in a beautifully decadent way. We were in heaven!


Since we had two bottles with this dinner, we had leftovers of each to try over the next couple of nights.

We had the rest of the Auréoline with salmon and roasted fall vegetables, and that combo also worked very well. The winery recommends this as wine aperitifs, crustaceans, and fish dishes.

The rest of the Savagnin Sous Voile was destined for a cheese night. I would have like to try it with a Comté, which is from the same region, but that was not to be. No worries though – I did get my hands on some Gruyère, which is the same cheese from the other side of the Swiss border. We also had some brie, nuts, and other accouterments like pear slices, confitures (jelly), speck, and a salad. The wine went pretty decently well across the board, surprisingly, even with pieces with confiture, as long as it wasn’t too heavy. Sweets and dry wines don’t tend to mix well.  As far as the cheese, maybe predictably, while it was fine with the brie, it was far better with the Gruyère. This wine and rosemary Marcona almonds were also complete besties.

The winery also recommends it as an aperitif, as well as with poultry or fish in a cream sauce, and with spicy or exotic dishes.

I also think these wines would work well with the crab gratin in this post.

dinner, seafood
Servings: 4
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Sous Vide Coquilles St. Jaques

Sous Vide Coquilles St. Jaques

Prep Time: 10 MinCooking Time: 50 MinTotal Time: 1 Hour


  • 1 pound scallops (or 4 to 6 large scallops per person for a dinner portion)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, divided, with the leaves picked from two of the sprigs
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 8 to 12 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • Pinch of dried sage
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Flatleaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Bread crumbs and/or ground almonds, for topping
  • Grated Swiss or Gruyère cheese, for topping


  1. Heat water to 122ºF/50ºC using a sous vide immersion circulator.
  2. While the water heats up, place scallops into a zip-close plastic bag with 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the bag via water displacement method or vacuum sealing, then place the bag in the water and cook for 30 minutes
  3. Start the sauce while the scallops are cooking. Sweat the shallots in a saucepan over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil, wine, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots are beginning to turn soft and translucent – about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to saucepan and continue to cook until softened – about 10 minutes. Once the scallops have finished cooking, pour the cooking liquid with the garlic in the with mushrooms, allow the liquid to reduce a bit, then set aside.
  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Meanwhile, lightly warm the milk and cream in the microwave. Over medium-low to low heat, slowly whisk the milk and cream mixture into the roux. Allow the mixture to simmer and begin to thicken, then gently stir in the mushroom mixture. Add the picked thyme leaves, curry powder, and sage to the sauce, then season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer gently until the sauce reaches a thick, creamy texture that can coat the back of the spoon. I sauce gets too thick, add a bit more milk, cream, or water. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep sauce warm until ready to use
  5. Preheat the broiler. Lay out ramekins or other small oven-safe dishes (or if you have them, use scallop shells). Spoon a light layer of sauce into each dish. Divide the scallops evenly between each of the dishes, then distribute the remaining sauce on top of each portion of scallops. Sprinkle each serving with cheese, parsley, and breadcrumbs and/or ground almonds.
  6. (If you're not ready to serve the scallops, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
  7. Broil the scallops until the mixture bubbles and the cheese melts and turns golden brown. Garnish with additional parsley if desired. Serve.
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Servings: Varies
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Smashed Potatoes with Herbs and Arugula

Smashed Potatoes with Herbs and Arugula

This a non-recipe since it doesn't depend on specific quantities. You can also switch up the greens, herbs, and flavorings.


  • Small to medium potatoes (I particularly like Yukon Golds for this purpose )
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Dried sage
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking oil
  • Parmesan, optional


  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water and generously salt the water. Bring the pot to boil on the stove over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes. Smaller potatoes might be done after 5 minutes, and medium-sized potatoes will usually take around 15 to 20 minutes. The potatoes are done once they’re tender all the way through and a knife or fork slides in easily. Drain and let the potatoes dry for about 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  3. Line the potatoes up on a greased baking sheet and lightly smash them using a potato masher or fork, until they’ve flattened and broken a bit, but are mostly still together. Sprinkle generously with olive oil, toss on the sprigs of thyme, and sprinkle on the dried sage, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Turn off the oven, toss on the arugula, and leave the pan in the oven for a couple of minutes while the arugula wilts. Transfer to a serving dish, add additional seasonings, and top with Parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.
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The rest of the French Winophiles Blogging Group (#Winophiles) are exploring the Jura this month. Be sure to check out their posts:


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