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Learn about wine
SAVOY: a brand new image
SAVOY: a brand new image
A land of contrasts is the calling card of this alpine province. Production is centred
primarily in Savoie, with 80,000 hectolitres, with a balance of 8,000 hl produced
in Haute-Savoie, divided between 30% reds and rosés (truly) and 70% whites.
The vines follow the contours of Lake Geneva, stretch southwards alongside the
Rhone, circle Lake Bourget and hug the flanks of Savoy Coomb, after occupying
the scree slopes of Mount Granier. The diversity of landforms illustrates the
determination of Savoy wine producers in the face of such a borderline climate
for growing grapes.
There are four ACs in Savoy: Seyssel (still whites or sparkling); Crépy (three
villages in Haute-Savoie); Vin de Savoie (perhaps with one of 17 possible growth
names attached: Abymes, Apremont, Arbin, Ayze, Char-pignat, Chautagne,
Chignin, Chignin-Bergeron or Bergeron, Cruet,
Jongieux, Marignan, Marin, Montmélian, Ripaille, Saint-Jean de la Porte,
Saint-Jeoire Prieuré, Sainte-Marie), for red or white wines, still, sparkling or
semi-sparkling; and Roussette de Savoie (perhaps with one of four possible
growth names attached: Frangy, Marestel or Marestel-Altesse, Monterminod and
Monthoux) which also refers to red or white wines, still, sparkling or
Reds: Gamay, Pinot noir and Mondeuse plus a small proportion of
Cabernets (Franc and Sauvignon), Persan and a few local varieties in Isère.
Whites: Aligoté, Roussette (or Altesse), Jacquère, Chasselas, Chardonnay,
augmented with some ‘secondary’ varieties.
Wine styles: lively, vigorous, fruity whites, occasionally aged on the lees which
gives them their delicious slightly sparkling touch. The best known of these are
Roussette and Apremont. The sparkling wines make excellent appetisers. The
reds from Gamay and Pinot noir are fruity and light. The more robust wines from
Mondeuse can prove to be excellent laying down wines on a more full-bodied,
Review of recent vintages:
2011: as a rule, the whites are rich yet crisp and show structure and freshness.
The reds and rosés are pleasant and should be drunk whilst still fruit-forward.
2012: This was a difficult year that was mainly rainy and cool apart from a quite
mild autumn. These unfavourable conditions caused coulure (dropping of flowers)
and millerandage (irregular and stunted grape development), until August when
the return of hot weather allowed the grapes to ripen. This vintage does not