The vineyards of Savoie only amount to about 2,000 hectares but these are spread across a large area. From Lake Geneva in the north, the wine country spreads itself out to the foot of the Alps in the east and the as far south as the valley of the Isere, south of Chambery, about 100 km (62 miles) south of Lake Geneva. It is a shame that wine from Savoie is not better known. The predominant white wine is fresh and full of flavour. The scattered vineyards and hilly terrain make both wine-growing and making difficult so that these wines are not cheap. Savoie French wines are subtle, elegant, and characteristic of their terroir like no other wine.
The region Savoie
The vineyards of Savoie resemble a long ribbon of small areas in a half moon facing south-east. The climate is continental in nature but is moderated by the large lakes and rivers. To the west the vineyards are protected from the rain-bearing westerly winds by the Jura mountains and other hills. The high level of annual sun hours (1,600 per annum) are an important factor. The vineyards are sited between 300 and 400 metres (984--1,312 feet) above sea level. The soil is a mixture of chalk, marl, and debris from Alpine glaciers.
The most important appellation is Vin de Savoie (still, sparkling, and slightly sparkling). There are 18 Crus which are permitted to use their name on the label.
The Roussette de Savoie appellation (which uses solely the local Altesse grape) has an additional 4 Crus. Savoie is a wine region well-worth making a detour to visit, if only to discover the four unique native grape varieties: the white Jacquere, Altesse or Roussette, Gringet and red Mondeuse. In addition to these native grapes, Aligote, Chasselas, Chardonnay and Molette are grown for white wines and Gamay, Persan, Joubertin and Pinot Noir for the red and rose French wines.
VINS DE SAVOIE BLANC
These French white wines are all made from the Jacquere grape. These are fresh, very aromatic wines. The colour varies from barely yellow to pale yellow depending on the terroir and from light and comforting with floral undertones such as honey-suckle that lightly prick the tongue to fully-flavoured and fruity. Chill this wine to 8°C (46.4°F). and drink when still young.
The Chasselas grape (known from the best Swiss wines) typifies the white French wine. The colour is pale yellow and the nose reminds of ripe fruit, sometimes even of dried fruit. There is a full and fresh taste.
Certain French wines such as Crepy in particular prick the tongue. Locally they say of a good Crepy: 'Le Crepy crepite,' or in other words it crackles.