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Savoie Wine

Savoie Wine

The Alpine vineyards of Savoie extend over 2000 hectares and yield wines of an inimitable mountain purity and freshness but, according to official figures, less than 5% of the 17 million bottles produced annually are exported. This is partially explained by the huge numbers of visiting winter sports enthusiasts who consume the local wine rapaciously during 'Après Ski', but they are deserving of a wider audience. On the plus side, relative obscurity means they remain great value so perhaps we should be careful what we wish for.

Based in the hill village of Cruet at the foot of the Combe de Savoie, the Tiollier family have been supplying us with their carefully crafted wines since 1999 and we have been doing our best to champion their wares. Their most prolific wine is a pure Jacquère fermented in stainless steel vats. With uplifting orange blossom aromas and a delicate palate of orchard fruit with a fresh, crisp finish it makes a fine aperitif or partner to shellfish. Pure Jacquère is also deployed in a 'Vieilles Vignes' bottling that has more depth, weight and stone fruit characteristics that stands up well to seafood, poultry and the local speciality of Caviar de Cruet (a heady amalgam of olive oil, anchovies, aubergines and garlic). A third single-varietal white called 'Cuvée Emilie' is made from Roussette and has an Alpine flower bouquet and racy palate of white currants and Mirabelle plums offset by a fresh acidity. Not to be overlooked is a red Mondeuse that has crushed summer berry scents and a juicy red fruit palate with a lively mineral streak and peppery undertones. It make a fine foil for raclettes and charcuterie. A relatively new listing and concept is a lively Crémant de Savoie; a bottle-fermented blend of Jacquère and Roussette that has subtle brioche topnotes, an uplifting citrus-edged palate and creamy mousse.

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  1. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Mondeuse 'Le Tithonien' 2019
    Bottle
    £14.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £171.00
  2. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle 'Cuvée Emilie' Roussette 2018
    Bottle
    £17.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £207.00
  3. Savoie: Domaine de l'Idylle 'Vieilles Vignes' Blanc 2019
    Bottle
    £13.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £162.00
  4. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Jacquère 2019
    Bottle
    £12.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £150.00
  5. Crémant de Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Brut
    Bottle
    £16.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £203.40
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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.