The Jurassic period of geologic time was named after the Jura wine region in eastern France.
The Jurassic period occurred between 145 million and 200 million years ago and is best known as the Age of the Dinosaurs. It was named for the Jura Mountain Range, on the border between France and Switzerland, where limestone rocks of this age were first studied. The Jura skyline is punctuated by occasional limestone crags, the most dramatic of which are the reculées—steeply faced, horseshoe-shaped rock formations that form abrupt dead ends to valleys. The Jura is one of the smallest wine regions in France, known for producing wonderfully unique wines. The Jura’s most celebrated offering is Vin Jaune, or “Golden Wine,” made exclusively from the native white grape variety, savagnin. Vin jaune must be aged in oak casks for at least six years and three months, during which time it is neither racked nor topped up. As it ages, a film of yeast known as the voile (veil), forms on the wine’s surface, protecting it from oxidation. The resulting wine is golden in color with aromas of walnut, dried fruits, and toasted sourdough bread. The Jurassic period is also marked by the continued breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, when oceans flooded the spaces between new landmasses, creating vast inland seas. One of the Jura’s four appellations, L’Etoile (the star), is said to be named for the ubiquitous star-shaped marine fossils which crunch underfoot throughout its vineyards.