The region of Savoie is a historic figure in French winemaking. In fact, Savoyard vineyards were some the first to ever be planted in France and it has never stopped producing its unique wines. Sparkling, whites, reds or rosés, Savoie offers us a kaleidoscope of colours, varieties and forms. Despite being so diverse, they all have something in common – their originality. You will only find Altesse, Jacquère and Mondeuse planted in the vineyards of Savoie, a fact that arouses curiosity for many.
Varieties as rare as they are complex
The Savoie region is home to 23 varieties (with white wines representing two thirds of wine production) and among them, the following varieties stand out:
- Jacquère: This is the most planted variety in Savoie and covers 50% of vineyards in the region. Lively, dry and mineral, these wines possess a beautiful freshness, releasing notes of white blossom, white peach, pear and grapefruit.
- Altesse: Covering 10% of the land, the wines crafted from this variety are often very complex and have great ageing potential. In their youth, they possess bergamot, pineapple, quince, peach and fresh almond aromas. While, after a few years aging, notes of toast, white truffle and honey will rise from the glass.
- Chasselas: Light, dry and fruity, these wines release notes of toast, dried fruits and fresh butter and should be enjoyed when young.
- Mondeuse or “the variety that ripens with snow on the ground”: The iconic black variety of the region, these grapes does not happen to grow here by chance. In fact, as the Roman writer Columella wrote this variety is extremely resilient. It can grow on slopes made of limestone-clay scree and marl soils. Between its robustness and the richness of its flavours, Mondeuse delivers floral notes like those of violets and red fruit (red currant, raspberry and strawberry) and spice (cinnamon, clove and white pepper) aromas. These wines can also be aged for many years, for ten years or more.
The uniqueness of these varieties and there terroirs permeate through numerous wines from the region and call for the creation of diverse appellations.