Savoie Wine

Savoie Wine

The wines of the Savoie have been known for many years by the cognoscenti of skiers and winter sports enthusiasts who are delighted to drink them when holidaying in the Alps but struggle to source them on these shores. The currency of these foothill vineyards has been rising ineluctably in recent years. As climate change impacts more dramatically with successive vintages, the value of high-altitude vines that yield fresh-tasting wines that are naturally lower in alcohol than many mainstream offerings is being reassessed. Moreover, a long winemaking history, exciting grape varieties and competitive prices mean there is value and variety to be found. We have been shipping wines from the Tiollier family in the village of Cruet above the Isère valley since 1999 and they have now established an enthusiastic following.

The 'Pétille Idylle' Crémant de Savoie, is a bottle-fermented blend of 70% Jacquère, 20% Roussette and 10% Chardonnay that has a pale straw colour, lemon zest aromas, delicate pear and apple flavours and a lively mousse. It makes for an uplifting aperitif or restorative après ski tipple. A pure, still Jacquère has refreshing Alpine flower scents and a lively citrus-edged palate with a fresh finish. It doesn't demand food accompaniment but makes a fine foil for the local fondue and Raclette. A second 'Vielles Vignes' bottling of Jacquère (under the sub-appellation of Cruet), has some time in oak barriques, giving a bouquet of ripe stone-fruit and a mid-weight palate of stewed pear and apple that pairs well with white fish and poultry. Their top dry white is named 'Cuvée Émilie' (after current winemaker Sylvain's cousin), and is made from Roussette that is matured for 9 months in a variety of mostly used oak barrels before bottling around 18 to 24 months after vintage. The finished wine has quince and apricot notes, subtle orchard fruit flavours and lively mineral undertones. Completing the range is a red Mondeuse called 'Le Tithonien' that has briary hedgerow berry aromas and a juicy red fruit palate supported by black pepper nuances and gentle tannins. It drinks well from release with classic local pâtés, soft cheese and charcuterie yet shines with full-blown chilli heat of Thai dishes given its lower alcohol and gentle grip.

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  1. Savoie: Domaine de l'Idylle 'Vieille Vigne' Blanc 2021
    Bottle
    £14.90
    Bottle (Case)
    £178.80
  2. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Cruet Alpine Jacquère 2021
    Bottle
    £13.75
    Bottle (Case)
    £165.00
  3. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Mondeuse 'Le Tithonien' 2020
    Bottle
    £15.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £183.00
    Half Bottle
    £8.95
    Half Bottle (Case)
    £214.80
  4. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle 'Cuvée Emilie' Roussette 2019
    Bottle
    £18.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £222.00
  5. Crémant de Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Brut
    Bottle
    £18.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £227.40
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Savoie Wine Region:

The vineyards of the Savoie stretch across four French départements from the southern shores of Lake Geneva to the Isère valley south of Chambery, a fair old 100-mile, hilly schlepp if you were cycling! These days there are only 2,100 hectares of vines under cultivation (a little smaller than Sancerre) and most of the bottles go up river to slake the thirst of hikers and skiers, only 5% is exported.

70% of the wine is white and most of this is made with the Jacquère grape, although Roussanne, Roussette (aka Altesse) and Chardonnay can also be found. The red grapes (20% of the region’s output) include Mondeuse, Pinot, Gamay and the rare Persan. A spot of rosé (6%) and sparkling (4%) makes up the balance, with negoçiant houses and cave co-operatives accounting for the majority (60%) of production, overweighing the independent vignerons.

Although the wines could never be called Grand Vin, they have plenty to admire – crisp, refreshing whites and juicy, crunchy reds; the best examples tend to be villages ‘cru’ status, notably Cruet & Arbin.