Nov 14, 2018
My job isn't just to tell you about wines you already know and
love, but to put new ones you may not know on your radar. Very few
are as worthy as the wines of Savoie, France. Nestled in the Alps,
this place makes whites & reds that are improving every year!
Will you have to look for these and maybe special order them? YES.
But the payoff will be worth it!
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Here are the show notes:
Savoie is pronounced “Sav-wah”
- First we give background on how these wines have gone from ski
chalet wines to wines with depth, character and a following outside
- We discuss the region’s location in far east of France south
of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), on Swiss border and the
fresh, crisp white wines made here
- Savoie was part of first Roman province north of the Alps in
1st C AD
- Vitis Allobrogica – which was probably Mondeuse—grew here and
gave the area status
- The Duchy of Savoie controlled the area, which was annexed by
France in 1792, claimed by Piedmont in 1815, and went back to
France in 1860
- Savoie's isolated location and the destruction that
overcame the vineyards because of phylloxera crisis of the
1870s means very little Savoie wine makes it out of
Location, soils, climate:
- Savoie is a bunch of isolated sub-regions and plots of
vineyards scattered across four French departments: Savoie,
Haute-Savoie, Isère, Ain.
- Soils:there is a great diversity: glacial
deposits, alluvial soils, river terraces, terraced steep limestone
- Climate: Continental climate with alpine and
Mediterranean influences, continental climate is moderated by lakes
and rivers. It is hot in the summer but cool at night –
- Weather: lots of rain in summer, but sunny and
dry in autumn – saves the vintage
White grapes are 70% of production
23 grape varieties
Main white grape varieties
- Jacquère [jah-kehr]:Most widely planted
- Altesse [al-tess] (aka Roussette):
Age-worthy wines, Young -- fresh almonds and earl grey tea or
tropical, peachy notes
- Roussanne [roo-sahn] AKA Bergeron:Native
to Rhône Valley, aromatic with honey, apricot, green apple, and
nuts, and wax. Good acid
- Chasselas [shas-suh-lah]:light-bodied,
easy-drinking dry wines like Jacquère, with some buttery notes
Main red grape varieties
- Mondeuse [mohn-deuhz]: 12% of area under vine and
growing. Native to Savoie, deep purple color, acidity with
moderate tannins. Can be red or black fruit, floral, and gamey but
the best ones have a prominent pepper note. They can age.
- Persan [per-sahn]:Being revived from the
brink of extinction! Deep red color, dense tannins and a firm
backbone of acidity with red fruits, violet, pepper and spice.
Other red grape varieties
- Gamay, Pinot Noir, Douce Noire, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Joubertin, and Poulsard
- Savoie AOCis the region’s overarching
appellation. 16 crus producing white, rosé, red and sparkling
- Crus for White Wines: (Les) Abymes,
Apremont, Chignin, Chautagne, Cruet, Jongieux, Montmélian,
Saint-Jeoire-Prieuré, Crépy, Marin, Marignan, Ripaille,
- Crus for Red/Rosé Wines: Arbin,
Saint-Jean-de-la-Porte, Chautagne, Chignin, Jongieux
- Roussette de Savoie AOC. “Roussette” is a
synonym for the Altesse grape, 100% varietal. Four communes may
attach their name to the appellation: Frangy, Marestel,
Monterminod, and Monthoux.
- Seyssel AOC: Dry and off-dry still and
mousseux wines. 100% Altesse for dry wines, sparkling wines add
Molette and Chasselas to a minimum 10% Altesse.
- Bugey: upgraded to AOC in May 2009: Still
wines of all three colors in addition to the sparkling rosé
Bugey-Cerdon. Also a Roussette de Bugey, which is 100% Altesse.
Communes Montagnieu and Virieu le Grand may add their names to this
- Crémant de Savoie AOP: (since 2014)
Sparkling wines made in the traditiona method with at least 60%
blended with local grapes (Jacquère and Altesse) and 40% of the
final blend Jacquère.
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