Peeking Into the Secret World of Savoie Wines

Savoie, France is best known for fantastic skiing and breathtaking views. Boarded on the east by Switzerland and Italy, Savoie is home to the French Alps and its most notable mountain, Mont Blanc. It is home to ski chalets, cheese, and local wines. Until recently the wines of Savoie have lacked international recognition; however, the secret is out.

Savoie, pronounced “Sav wah,” has had a checkered past. Originally it was occupied by Celtics but they were kicked out by the Roman Empire. Over time the House of Savoy began to rise, resulting in the region being named an independent duchy in 1416 by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. After the War of Spanish Succession in 1714, Savoy fell under the rule of the Kingdom of Sicily and later the Kingdom of Sardinia. Savoy fell into an ongoing tug of war throughout the French Revolutionary Wars, eventually becoming part of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia until 1860, when became part of the Treaty of Turin (along with Nice) and ultimately annexed by France. As seen in many other regions who have changed hands so many times (Alsace, Alto Adige, etc), Savoyards have a strong regional identity.

Savoie is a region of contrasts. It is part of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is divided into two administrative departments, Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Haute-Savoie comprises the northern half of the region and poses a sharp economic contrast to Savoie. Many of the residence of Haute-Savoie commute to Geneva for work where they earn higher wages than if they worked in France. By contrast, Savoie, to the south, is characterized by agriculture, cheese and wine are produced here. However, it is also home to many luxurious ski resorts that bring tourist dollars into the community.

Savoie Vineyards via www.guildsomm.org courtesy of Beatrice Bernard
Savoie Vineyards via http://www.guildsomm.org courtesy of Beatrice Bernard

Savoie is known for its dry, crisp white wines. Although it is an alpine location, the region has a unique microclimate. It has a continental climate with Alpine and Mediterranean influences. The vines are often planted at elevations ranging from 800ft to 1800ft above sea level. The vines are planted to receive sun exposer from the south and southeast, coupled with the warming effects of the surrounding lakes and rivers this give the grapes ample sun to grow. There are 23 different grape varieties planted in Savoie, with 70% being white. Jacquère is the most widely planted grape in the region and the one I was able to find on wine.com. It is a high acid wine (characteristic of cool climates), referred to as “alpine clean,” characterized by herbaceous notes, green apple and pear, clean minerality and lively citrus.

img_14612015 Jean Perrier et Fils Apremont Savoie France ($10): 100% Jacquère; clear pale gold; clean medium notes of white flower blossoms, crisp green orchard fruit, zesty citrus with an emphasis on tart lemon, flint, minerality; pronounced racy acidity, medium- body, medium+ finish; mouth coating zestyness, long tart citrus finish; this wine was refreshing, crisp, racy, and delicious; I am so glad I found this wine. Available through wine.com.

 

 

I had no idea what this wine would taste like but it was supposed to be high in acid and have a racy minerality (two things I love in wine). Therefore after searching my recipes and the internet I decided upon Garlic Rosemary Chicken with Cranberries, smashed potatoes, and roasted Brussels sprouts. I cannot provide a sound reason for this selection other than I felt like the wine would pair well with the dinner and the chicken dish looks so pretty I wanted to make it. J Thankfully the wine did pair well and it was a delicious dinner.

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The history of Jean Perrier et Fils is linked to the history of Savoie and the Alps since they have been growing vines in the region since 1853. They believe the wines of Savoie represent a quant and wild way of life that capture the unique tradition of winegrowing in France.

Further your discovery of Savoie by reading my fellow #Winophiles articles:

Martin from Enofylze Wine Blog asks Voulez-vous Savoie? Oui Mondeuse!

Jeff from FoodWineClick! writes about Soup & Savoie.

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm enjoys “Savoie”ring time with Family.

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla creates A Savoie Pairing: Soupe aux Cailloux + Gonnet Chignin.

Jill Barth of  L’occasion will share The Biodynamic Vineyards of Savoie.

Join us this morning at 10CST as we share our discoveries of Savoie and share your own.

My Song Selection: This wine took me back to the 80’s and a band I used to enjoy listening to called The Ocean Blue. I hear them as fresh, unique, refreshing, and even zesty, like this wine.

Get your own bottle of 2015 Jean Perrier et Fils Apremont and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!

13 comments

  1. Wow it’s been ages since I’ve heard that song. Your review is as always so interesting and with so much great information about s wine I don’t think I’ve ever tried before. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Michelle! So glad you found this wine and introduced us to it. Growing grapes and making wine since the 1840’s…I find it so very fascinating. Thanks for sharing the history of the region & for this interesting connection.

    Cheers and thank you!

  3. Nice, that’s some great background information on a wine region that I suppose not a whole lot of people know even exists! A lot of the wines are drunk locally, what with all the skiing tourists et al, but there are a couple of producers who have managed to find export partners. The vast majority appear to be Jacquere and a bit of Mondeuse, but I tasted and wrote about an Altesse the other day, and I would not rule it out as a future star!

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