Extreme Mountain Value: At $20 Time to Rethink Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio

Posted by Joe Salamone

Extreme Mountain White Wine
(Extreme Value)
2010 Lupin Roussette de Savoie
Frangy Traditionnelle
Only Bottles in the U.S.

The Savoie occupies a fascinating place in the world of wine. They are mountain wines, energetic and shimmering.

Maybe it's the mountain air?

Whatever it is, few wines provide such a refreshing cut, such a defining mineral incisiveness. With the summer months around the corner, this is one of the smartest, greatest and most interesting white-wine finds.

It's also a shocking value - so there's no excuse not to drop the boring Pinot Grigio, the lackluster Sauvignon Blanc or mass-produced Chardonnay.

If you're unfamiliar with the Savoie or with Roussette (aka Altesse), don't worry. Think of today's wine as a combination of Muscadet's jagged minerality and Loire Chenin Blanc's richness grown in the mountains. Toss in some pine sap, moss and wild flowers and you're on your way to understanding the charm of Roussette.

The vines here grow high up in the brisk mountain air - there is little soil, the roots clinging for dear life to little more than rocks. For the vines, the only hope of reaching maturity is a well-positioned slope to capture the fleeting sunlight.

Indeed, 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.

I tasted Lupin's Roussette last fall and immediately made arrangements to buy some of the wine. The bottles on offer today are the only ones in the country.

The Muscadet comparison, above, seems very appropriate on another level - value. At $22.95 on bottles and $19.95 on 3-packs, Lupin's Roussette is a very smart buy and the timing couldn't be better.

Lupin's vines are in Frangy, the northern-most of Roussette de Savoie's four Crus. And this extreme situation makes itself felt even in the context of other Savoie Roussettes - there is a brightness, an incisiveness that is just riveting. When I tasted Lupin's Roussette last November it was that radiant and taut core that interested and ultimately won me over.

The value here, not to mention the fascination, is potent. You're advised to try at least a couple bottles, because when these bottles are gone, that's it.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits