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Savoie


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Savoie vineyards

Savoie vineyards are as scenic as vineyards get. Photo by Semnoz on Wikipedia. License: Creative Commons SA 3.0 Generic.

Wine from the region of Savoie, often also spelled Savoy on some bottles and in printings, are sourced from the Savoie region of southeastern France. Although the general temperature is warm here at sea level, many of the vineyards are high on mountains, and hence the wines emulate cool-climate styles. They are more similar to wines from Switzerland and Germany than typical French styles.

The Savoie region is best known for producing dry, floral white wine, from a few local grapes that rarely shine outside the boundaries of the unusual region. Full-bodied, intense reds are also made from the local Mondeuse grape. Often simply known as "ski wine", the wines of Savoie are a bit underrated and should be appreciated for their unusual flavors.

History

With a long history in skiing and winter sports, the Savoie was nonetheless not integrated into the country of France until the 19th century. The wine industry there was slow to develop, with many AOC regulations not being passed until the 1970s. The appellation remains underappreciated.

Climate and Viticulture

Although located in southeastern France, the vineyards of the Savoie are often located high up on hills or mountains. As a result, the climate of the region is often compared to lofty vineyards like those in Switzerland or Germany.

Grape Varieties

Except for Roussanne, which is used in Chignin, the Savoie grape varieties are all likely varieties you've never heard of, unless, of course, you're familiar with this appellation. Jacquère and Altesse (aka Roussette) are two important local white grapes, and Mondeuse is the main red grape; none of these are commonly used anywhere else in the world. Chasselas, common in the production of Swiss wines, is also used here. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are used in Savoie's more traditional wines, which are not quite as unusual or intriguing but nonetheless show what the Savoie climate is capable of.

Major Producers

A list of five of the good producers who make wines available to be found in the United States, is included below.

Subregions

Savoie only has four official AOCs into which wine is officially grouped. Note: The Chignin appellation is actually a village, and not its own official AOC, but it is among the most important styles of wine made here.