‘Sav-wah’ Say what!?
We are talking wines of the Savoie. Not a new region to making wine, but like many, it needs interest and sometimes investment to really get moving. We love these wines, but understand they make take a little exploration to fully appreciate.
This area is located in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps in eastern France - about five to six hours south of Alsace. Switzerland sits in between the two areas, just four hours west of Milan. That all sounds like a nice weekend trip.
If you haven’t had or haven’t heard of these wines don’t get yourself down. They make up less than one percent of France’s total production which equals almost nothing in relation to world production.
Most of the wines coming from Savoie are white, near 75%. And though a couple dozen varietals are planted less than five are in dominate production. The first is Jacquere (jak-kehr) one of the many offspring of Gouais Blanc. Next comes Altesse (or Roussette). Some Roussanne (big player in Rhone valley white wines) and Gringet (gran-zhay) fill out the whites and then Mondeuse is the major red. One will find good Gamay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc as well.
Mondeuse is the grandparent or half-sibling (if that makes any sense) of Syrah. The wine tends to be very dark in color and wildly aromatic with broad and upright tannins. The fruit can have peppery accents to black cherry and plum notes.
On a mountain, in a chalet...
With the white wines think SUPER FRESH! You are on a mountain, maybe in a chalet, eating something rich or sitting by a fire and washing it all down with something floral and a palate of stone fruit and citrus. Oh! Zippy acidity! A classic pairing is fondue.
So maybe we all can’t be on a mountain top... But that’s fine too because Savoie whites also pair perfectly with summer in Minnesota! They are wonderfully versatile and super refreshing.
Like most of Europe, you may not see the varietal on the label, but if you are looking for Jacquere look for the place of origin: Apremont, Abymes and Chignin.
Also, a good wine to remember come this autumn and all the autumn flavors that come with it!