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Savoie
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May

27

2009

Posted by Joe Salamone

Chignin is one of the specific Crus, or vineyard sites, under the larger appellation of "Vin de Savoie." Chignin's vineyards are considered some of the best in the region - extremely steep and, relatively speaking, warm.

These are high elevation alpine vineyards that wouldn't be able to ripen grapes were it not for their southern exposure and the curious "mountain furnace" effect - if there are mountains all around, the heat has nowhere to go. It's trapped, and therefore a place that is packed with skiers well into March can also produce some very, very good wines.

This mountain region is famous for its white wines, most often based on the indigenous Jacquere grape - vinified here by Berlioz in a traditional style.

Gilles Berlioz is one of the new growers of the Savoie and the quality of his wines has quickly established him as one of the best.

It isn't often that someone bucks the trend and follows their own path, especially when doing so runs against the grain of what is quick, easy and profitable. While most in the Savoie bottle as quickly as possible to sell to captive winter tourists, Berlioz purposely does not.

While most aim at acquiring more land, Berlioz has actually been selling off his lesser vineyards so as to focus on the best parcels he owns. It shows in the quality of the wines and while there is very little available for the U.S. market, we get a good chunk of it as we've supported Berlioz since (almost) the beginning!

Apr

12

2013

Posted by Joe Salamone

In Belluard's hands, Gringet becomes something truly profound, something that speaks clearly of its mountain origins.

Jan

18

2012

Posted by Joe Salamone

Les Alpes is strongly recommended for people who enjoy Chablis, Jura wines, dry Riesling, and for those who just want to encounter a unique grape rendered in all its singularity. Holding on to a couple bottles for the next few years should only add more fascination to a bottle that's not wanting for it in the first place.

Apr

04

2012

Posted by Joe Salamone

This is a region where winemaking makes little sense on paper (unless you count the built-in business from skiers, hikers, etc). However, the serious winemaker, the right parcels, can create captivating, singular wines - gripping in their tension and brilliant in their clarity.

It's in this context that we'd like to introduce Bruno Lupin. His 2010 Roussette de Savoie Traditionnalle offers that combination of coiled minerality, herb- and spice-tinged fruit, and forest-y notes that make the best Savoie wines so arresting.

Jul

26

2012

Posted by Joe Salamone

Jean-Claude Masson is doing for the Jacquere grape what Valentini did for Trebbiano or Pepiere did for Muscadet.

Jul

23

2012

Posted by Joe Salamone

I'd guess there is a rather good chance that you have NOT had a "long experience" with this quiet varietal, the work-horse grape of eastern France's mountainous border with Switzerland.

Apr

25

2013

Posted by Joe Salamone

Let's just say this, Belluard is making gorgeous, rigorously detailed wines and out of his strong range, the Mont Blanc is one of his best.

May

07

2013

Posted by Joe Salamone

Belluard's entire line-up establishes him as one of the most skillful winemakers that we know, and we love and buy his entire range. However, Le Feu is clearly his magnum opus.

May

30

2013

Posted by Joe Salamone

For lovers of Riesling and Loire wines, both Giachino and Masson are worth a close look. Both wines are essential parts of our summer drinking arsenal, but beyond that they're beautifully nimble, mineral, food-friendly wines.

Mar

11

2014

Posted by Joe Salamone

The 2012 Les Alpes boasts its alpine origins with its tautness and high energy with chiseled, stony minerality, floral notes, citrus, and earthier tones (think subtle notes of mushrooms, pine needles, a faint nuttiness, etc.) It's hard to compare Belluard's to more familiar wines. They are singular wines. The best that I can come up with is to think of Muscadet mixed with dry Chenin and taken into the mountains.

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