The Savoie, Chignin, Gilles Berlioz and the Mountains

Posted by CrushWine

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!