Featherweight Alpine Refreshment: 2011 Giachino Primitif & 2011 Masson Apremont du Siecle

Posted by Joe Salamone

Featherweight Alpine Refreshment
2011 Giachino Primitif
& 2011 Masson Apremont
Vieilles Vignes du Siecle
Mountain Muscadet - Two Times

It's supposed to be 90+ here in NYC and I'm thinking about what I want to drink on such a day.

My thoughts immediately turned to these two wines from Savoie in the French Alps.

They are 9.2 and 11.5 percent alcohol respectively and are brisk, mineral-laden and some of the most refreshing and engaging wines around.

You can think of them as Mountain Muscadets.

Like Muscadet, they present some of the greatest value in white wines anywhere.

The Savoie region represents one of the least explored and most fascinating areas of France. The growing cult status of the wines of Belluard show that the Savoie region is quickly getting on people's radars. I think it's taken time for people to appreciate how gorgeous and food-friendly these featherweight and delicate wines can be.

When it comes to being featherweight, Giachino's 2011 Primitif is an extreme and lovely example. It's a 9.2 percent Jacquere based bone-dry wine. Commenting on the 2010 edition, David Schildknecht called it "a genuine original." He goes on to say that it's the only wine he's encountered to come close to matching the sense of completeness and agility found in Riesling Kabinett Trockens.

A sense of completeness is an essential point here. It's easy to imagine a 9.2 percent wine as being an exercise in teeth chattering masochism. That's not the case here. There's a wonderful feeling of length and balance along with Savoie's hallmark invigorating quality. There's a ton of stoney minerality, meadows of flowers and a slightly Sauvignon Blanc-like grassiness.

Moving on to Masson's 2011 Apremont Vieilles Vignes du Siecle, it introduces more density, and more layers while maintaining the firm rocky verve and mountain stream purity.

Jean-Claude Masson is doing for the Jacquere grape what Valentini did for Trebbiano or Pepiere did for Muscadet. Which is to say he's taking what's often thought of as a lowly grape and bringing it to new, unprecedented levels.

Jean-Claude Masson is able to render the Jacquere grape with a textural fascination and complexity like no one else. On Masson, David Schildknecht writes, "these constitute as a group the most fascinatingly delicious Jacquere-based wines of my rather long experience with this variety."

Masson's Vieilles Vignes du Siecle is sourced from a plot of very old vines that were planted into what's essentially pure rock. The 2011 shows a jagged, multifaceted minerality with a kaleidoscopic and persistent presentation of rocks, fruit and flower.

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.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2011 Giachino Primitif
& 2011 Masson Apremont VV du Siecle

Giachino & Masson are in stock!
NET | No further discount