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The Wines of Savoie

GrapesIf you come to the Savoie region this year it would be rude not to taste the local wines.

Some 5000 acres are given over to viniculture in the region and produce a wide variety of wines. They are not widely available in England, if at all, but are excellent with light summer food on a hot sunny day.

The list of white grape varieties planted includes Jacquère, Altesse, Roussanne, Chasselas, Gringet, Mondeuse Blanche, Chardonnay, Aligoté, Molette, Marsanne, Pinot Gris, Frühroter Veltliner, and Verdesse. Most of them are unfamiliar names and, thus, a chance to taste something new.

Unusually for France, the wines they produce are most often bottled and labelled by grape variety, making tasting and comparison to find your favourite easy.

White wine predominates in the region. For me, however, the standout wine is the red Mondeuse, which can stand any comparison with more well known reds from other regions.

The Mondeuse grape, which is native to Savioe, was first cultivated by the Allobroges - a Gallic tribe of Ancient Gaul who populated the region back in the day. Vines in the region were typically grown on trees before specific vineyards were established.

Like most European regions, the Savoie area was invaded by the Romans and was then part of Italy for a time - all of which has produced a diverse viniculture distinct from other regions.

The region has its own terroir – this is how the soil and local climatic conditions combine to affect the way the grapes grow, ripen and ultimately taste. The open limestone soil allows air to reach the very roots of vines – good for avoiding diseases, whilst the cooling breeze prevents the grapes from getting too hot in the summer. All this combines to produce unique wines best drunk young and close to where they were produced.

A sparkling wine and vermouth is also produced.

The Cremant De Savioe is produced by the “Méthode Traditionnelle”, it’s like a Champagne/Prosseco cross and quite delicious at a fraction of the price of champagne.

Maison Dolin & Cie is located in Chambéry and is one of the few independent vermouth producers in France. Using recipes from 1821 it creates a white, rose and red vermouth of distinctive subtlety and flavour, much drier than a normal vermouth. A recommended cocktail is equal parts of Dolin and sparkling white wine with a twist of lemon peel. Ask for it by name in the local bar!

Monsieur Mogul


Monsieur Mogul – Our man in La Plagne

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author

alone and not those of Ice and Fire Ski and Snowboard Holidays

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