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.