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Savoie wines – Part II

In my previous post that I invite you to have a look at, if you had not already, “Savoie wine – Part I“, I summarized the key characteristics of the Savoie wine region and described the biggest appellation, ,AOC Vin de Savoie.

Now, I’m going to focus on the other appellations of the region: Crépy, Roussette de Savoie, Seyssel, Bugey, Roussette de Bugey and Crémant de Savoie.

AOC Crépy

AOC Crépy was recognized in 1948, and is part of the vine-growing area of Bas Chablais, covering the town of Ballaison, Loisin, Douvaine and Massongy.

The vineyard is made up of small “islands” on the southern shore of Lake Geneva, with a total area of about 80 hectares, and the soil is mainly clay with moraine blocks.

The area’s position faces the west, on higer altitude, as well as on the edge of the lake, and winds that blow in the region mitigate the rigors of winter and create favorable conditions for grape ripening.

The Appellation admits just the Chasselas grape, which is known in Switzerland as Fendant. Wines are often refined on the fine lees to get a greater structure and persistence, and they go through malolactic fermentation to smooth their great acidity and give the wines a richer and creamier texture.

The wines have a straw-yellow colour with golden reflections, and express fragrant fruity aromas, with floral notes of hawthorn and sweet almond. It would be better to drink these wines young, even if they have a certain ageing potential.

AOC Roussete de Savoie

AOC Roussette de Savoie has been recognized since 1973, and together with the AOC Vin de Savoie, is one of the main Appellations of the area. The vineyard covers about 50 hectares in the western area of the region, along the course of the Rhone river.

The soils in the Val de Usses wine area, are made up of moraines and molasses, while on the slopes of Mont du Chat, they appear as moraines, marl and sometimes gravel.

The vineyard has good exposure to the south and west, depending on the area, and the mountain climate helps the grapes ripen due to the oceanic and Mediterranean influences.

The name of the Appellation is the same as the only white grape variety allowed to produce dry white wines, Roussette, also known as Altesse.

The wines have a pale straw-yellow colour with greenish reflections, and have floral and dried fruit aromas, as well as great acidity. They shoud preferably be drunk young, but in the best vintages they could also have good ageing potential.

AOC Roussete de Savoie’s Crues

Roussette de Savoie Frangy

This Appellation is on the banks of a small tributary of the Rhone river, and is in a wine-growing area called Val de Usses. The vineyard is only 19 hectares, has favorable southern exposure, and is on steep slopes with soil of moraines and molasse, at an altitude not higher than 500 metres.

The wines have a straw-yellow colour and offer violet, honey and dried fruit aromas.

Roussette de Savoie Marestel

The 21 hectares reach the wide slopes of Mont du Chat, at an altitude between 250 and 560 meters. The name of the denomination is due to the Baron of Lucey (16th century), Claude Mareste.

The soils are mainly made up of limestone and gravel.

The wines have a beautiful golden colour, and offer delicate floral aromas that in time are enriched with scents of white pulp fruit and hazelnut, and surprisingly, sometimes you can get a slightly mentholated finish.

Roussette de Savoie Monterminod

This tiny vineyard near Chambéry reaches approximately 9 hectares and takes its name from the castle of Monterminod.

Located on the slopes of Colle del Nivolet, it has a continental climate with an exceptional southern exposure.

The soil is made up of marl and limestone.

The wines have a straw-yellow colour with golden reflections, and offer floral aromas of violet, bergamot as well as dried fruits such as almonds and hazelnuts.

Roussette de Savoie Monthoux

The vineyards, 2 hectares in size, in the municipality of Saint-Jean-de-Cheveleu are in the Avant-pays de Savoie area, on the slopes of Mont du Chat.

The vines grow at an average altitude between 250 and 560 metres, and are made up of moraine deposits and gravel. The south-west exposure allows favourable conditions for the grapes to ripen.

The wines have a straw-yellow colour, and on the nose they release characteristic aromas of hazelnut, bergamot, sweet almond and honey.  They are rich and quite complex on the nose and in texture.

AOC Seyssel

AOC Seyssel is located in the Avant-pays de Savoie wine region, in the Ain and Haute-Savoie areas. The vineyard of 80 hectares faces south and south-east and reaches along both banks of the Rhone river, at an average altitude between 200 and 380 metres, just above Lake Bourget (the largest and deepest French lake).

The soil is stony, gravelly and sandy south of Seyssel, although the peculiar soil for this Appellation are near Corbonod; for 15-20 metres they are made up of limestone fragments from the Upper Jurassic period.

The most cultivated grapes are Altesse, Molette and Roussette.

The wines have a straw-yellow colour with greenish reflections, and offer strong floral hints of violet, bergamot and iris, as well as white pulp fruit. They should be consumed in the prime of their youth.

AOC Bugey e Roussette de Bugey

The AOC Bugey is located in the Ain area, between Savoie and Jura. Although, this vineyard is not very well known, it reaches an area of 490 hectares, but very fragmented. The vineyard is at an average altitude between 220 and 550 metres above sea level, in the municipalities of Cerdon, Montagnieu and Belley.

The soil is calcareous, clayey-gravelly, or mostly gravelly. The climate is mainly semi-continental.

This wine sub-region has four Appellations: AOC Bugey Roussette de Montagnieu Blanc, AOC Bugey Rouge, AOC Montagnieu Rouge, and AOC Bugey Blanc.

More than 50% of AOC Bugey wines are white; Chardonnay is the main variety with a minimum of 70% in the production of still wines, to which a small percentage of Molette, Altesse and Jacquère can be added.

The red wines of the Appellation are made by Gamay, Pinot Noir and Mondeuse grapes.

The Roussette du Bugey Appellation is reserved exclusively for still white wines, produced with the Altesse grape variety.

AOC Crémant de Savoie

The AOC Crémant de Savoie is located in the heart of the French Alps. It was only recognized in 2015 and identifies solely with the Traditional Method for sparkling wine produced in the area.

The vineyard in Savoie is mainly developed on the steep slopes that border the valleys, at altitudes between 250 and 450 metres, with very different exposures, depending on the micro-terroir.

This Crémant is mainly made with a blend of local varieties: 60% must be Jacquère and Altesse grapes (minimum 40% of Jacquère), and the remaining 40% has to be Chasselas, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Gamay grapes, but the maximum limit of black grape varieties is 20%.

The minerality of this terroir gives Crémant de Savoie a unique and recognisable freshness. The wine has an elegant texture, and releases citrus and floral notes, typical of alpine landscapes. It ages on the lees for a minimum of 12 months.

Credits: Avis Vin Le Figarò | Fédération Nationale des Producteurs et Élaborateurs de Crémant

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Wine & Terroir

I live in a stunning and charming land, where wine culture is a pivotal element in everyday life and has been part of the culture for centuries.
I believe that wine tasting, although requiring a certain rigor, should be fun, and above all it has to be a sensory and enriching journey.

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