The stunning alpine backdrop to the vineyards in the Savoy region of France! On a brief trip to the area last weekend, i had the pleasure of tasting some of the best wines the region has to offer. The wines are rarely seen on shelves or in restaurants in the uk and indeed a lot of the producers we spoke to don't even export to the uk. A lot of the producers sell most of their wine (up to 95%) to the domestic market and the wines command a good price due to high quality and low production. They contain minerality, complexity and have great ageing potential.
One of the standout producers was Gilles Berlioz from the village of Chagnin. Whilst biodynamic wines are still a bit of a novelty in the uk, Gilles has been at it for nearly 20 years now. During this time he has all but perfected his product and commands a premium price for it which, as he says, is too high for the locals! He somewhat bucks the trend and sells almost all his wine to the export market and to tourists and wine geeks! The vines are located on the surrounding hills which reach gradients of 50% and so everything is nurtured by hand with low CO2 and 100% malolactic fermentation. Using all local grape varieties and native yeasts, his top cuvée leaves the cave at 60 euros per bottle!
Another great find was Domaine Louis Magnin in Arbin. Fully organic and following biodynamic methods since 2010, the wines had a slightly more approachable feel to them and perfect for drinking alone or with food. Even the reds were excellent showing a style somewhat akin to burgundy. Prices were well within reach, starting at 8 euros a bottle, and they also had sweet wines. We finished with their Zélée, made from the Bergeron grape (the local name for Rousanne) and it was fantastic! Lively and fresh with citrus and mango, great length and perfectly balanced acidity. If you're a buff or just like something a bit different, especially if you're into whites, then pay savoie a visit! The scenery is incredible, the restaurants and wine to match and you're just a short trip to the ski resorts, what more could you want?