Savoie Wine

Savoie Wine

When Robin Yapp first began shipping wine fifty-one years ago on the Rhône and Loire because they were less well known than Bordeaux and Burgundy; consequently their wines were better value. Over time, that original viticultural real estate became more popular so he had to look further afield for vinous bargains. In 1999, having already made discoveries in Alsace, Provence and the Languedoc he visited the Tiollier family's Domaine de l'Idylle in the hill village of Cruet and was so impressed with their wines he placed his inaugural order on the spot. Today, over two decades later, we remain equally enamoured by the family's wines that are carefully crafted from local grape varieties. Their Jacquère has a wonderful Alpine freshness inviting orange blossom scents and a whistle-clean, citrus-edged palate. An old vine (Vieilles Vignes) bottling of the same grape is equally fresh and fragrant but has a little more weight and depth so makes a fine partner to salads and seafood. A pure Roussette called 'Cuvée Émilie' has white flower aromas and an orchard fruit palate offset by fresh acidity. A pure red Mondeuse has a briary bouquet and peppery red fruit palate offset by fine-grained tannins. Completing the range is a superb sparkling Crémant de Savoie – a bottle-fermented blend of Jacquère and Roussette that has a fine mousse, inviting 'pear flan' top notes and a fresh russet apple finish.

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  1. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle Mondeuse 2018
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  2. Savoie: Domaine de L'Idylle 'Cuvée Emilie' Roussette 2018
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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.