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The Château de Ripaille is located in the far northeastern part of the Savoie appellation, along Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), just four kilometers from Evian-les-Bains, where the famed bottled water comes from. The Château dates back to the 14th century, and today it is surrounded by 21 hectares of vines. The soils are mostly limestone, sun-baked glacial deposits and the vines are all Chasselas, the oldest known grape variety (its history dates back at least 5,000 years). The resulting wines are creamy, mineral and a touch bitter, in a pleasant way, with hi... Read More »
Maison Angelot is run by the brothers Eric and Philippe Angelot. Their 57 acres of vineyards are divided into about 20 different parcels, some hillside and others along the valley floor. Harvest is both manual and with machine (depending on the parcel), and their modern winery houses temperature-controlled stainless-steel and fiberglass tanks. The mondeuse is 100% destemmed and fermented through carbonic maceration preserving freshness and brightness delivering a wine similar to a Beaujolais with more spice qualities.
100% Altesse from Jurassic limestone soils. From the importer: "Montagnieu is a village south of Cerdon, with premières côtes overlooking the Rhône valley, and most of its production is a white sparkling wine made from Chardonnay, Roussette de Savoie, Gamay and Jacquère. The grape Roussette is called Altesse locally, and it survives in the Bugey in a few patches of old vines, for it is not as hardy, reliable and productive as others. Only two young winemakers in Montagnieu, Franck Peillot and Benoît Dumont, produce still wines exclusively from this grape... Read More »
Wines from Jean-Francois Bourdy’s small cellar in Arlay have been trickling into the world’s wine markets with increasing regularity over the past decade (though there is a history of these wines in the U.S. even before World War II), causing considerable waves, an American fan club having accumulated, with buzz centering understandably around the Bourdys’ huge assortment of vintages spanning well more than a century. Bourdy's whites and reds are aged for a minimum of four years in cask before release. Rosé cremant is rare in Jura. Bourdy's is made exclu... Read More »
Hubert Clavelin and his two sons have vineyards in the Côte du Jura, a small range of mountains about 30 miles to the east of the Côte D’Or in the province of the Franche-Comté. Within their holding they have a parcel of very high limestone soil that they have planted in Chardonnay and from this parcel they make their sparkling wine, Brut Comte. Their method is the same as champagne; the wine is fermented in the bottle and each bottle is hand-riddled. The care that they take is shown in the very fine quality of the Brut Comte – tasting more like a lesser... Read More »
The property that comprises Le Cellier du Palais has been in the Bernard family since 1700. The domaine is run by Béatrice Bernard, who recently took over from her father René, who took over from his father (who established the domaine) in 1974. The family grows three grapes on seven hectares in Apremont--Chardonnay, Jacquère and Altesse. This is an incredibly affordable wine from this region from one of the best known crus in the Vin de Savoie appellation made entirely from Jacquère. It's clean and citrusy, with soft minerality and plenty of acidity. A ... Read More »
Wines from Jean-Francois Bourdy’s small cellar in Arlay have been trickling into the world’s wine markets with increasing regularity over the past decade (though there is a history of these wines in the U.S. even before World War II), causing considerable waves, an American fan club having accumulated, with buzz centering understandably around the Bourdys’ huge assortment of vintages spanning well more than a century. Bourdy's whites and reds are aged for a minimum of four years in cask before release.
This family estate in the Savoie region of France is run by Jean-Francois Quénard, who took over for his father in 1987 after having studied winemaking in Burgundy, Gigondas, Bordeaux, and California. The specialty of the house is Chignin, made from the native Jacquerre grape grown on 50-year-old vines at the foot of the Alps. The village of Chignin has some of the best soil in the region. It is made up of limestone scree (fractured rocks on the slopes).
From the Wine Makers: "With a longer than the previous aging, Savagnin reinforces the power and bouquet typical of the Jura and melds perfectly with the Chardonnay. The wine is very ethereal with a fine bouquet. Aromas of dried fruit, hazelnuts, walnuts and green almond waft from your glass."
91 points Wine Spectator: "A racy and engaging sparkler, with delightful apple, pear and fig notes laced with powdered ginger, dried persimmon and heather hints. Shows excellent length and cut on the finish, delivering mouthwatering drive. Chardonnay. Drink now." (7/2014)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Representing Bindernagel’s first essay in this medium, his 2004 Vin Jaune was bottled last February, “as soon to the day as the requisite six and a quarter years were up,” he says with a grin, expressing skepticism that there is any need to wait even that long. Curried yellow lentils drizzled with lemon and mingled with toasted nuts inform a (for this genre) remarkably juicy, vivacious, buoyant palate. (The wine was lightly chaptalized but finished at only 13.1% alcohol.) Hints of wood smoke and a shimmering sense of crystalline mineral impingement emerg ...Read More »
From the importer: "Made exclusively from the Savagnin grape, the Vin Jaune of Montbourgeau is always produced from a late harvest. After fermentation the wine is racked into foudres (30 hectoliter size) and then, after six months, racked again into smaller barrels. It is never topped off, the 'voile' appears and the wine is left for at least seven years to age in barrel before being declared 'Vin Jaune' and being bottled. The 'Jaune' of Montbourgeau is more high-toned than the Jaunes of Puffeney and Gahier, less broad perhaps but more fine, a clear re... Read More »
Roussette de Savoie can be made in many of the villages but the most special comes from the hill of Marestel. The hill has a 45-degree slope that provides a little bit of vertigo when standing at the top. The soil is scree (that fractured limestone). The grape is Altesse and it has a honeyed texture with vibrant acidity that often reminds one of Chenin Blanc. The hill of Marestel is regarded as one of the best (grand cru) sites for growing this grape. The Jacquin is classic Roussette, with vibrant acidity and a weighty texture that Jacquere and Chasselas... Read More »
This family estate in the Savoie region of France is run by Jean-Francois Quénard, who took over for his father in 1987 after having studied winemaking in Burgundy, Gigondas, Bordeaux, and California. The specialty of the house is Chignin, made from the native Jacquerre grape grown on 50-year-old vines at the foot of the Alps. The village of Chignin has some of the best soil in the region. It is made up of limestone scree (fractured rocks on the slopes). The appellation of Chignin Bergeron overlays the region of Chignin, but these south-facing slopes on... Read More »
The Trosset brothers, Louis and Joseph, are part of a winemaking tradition that spans at least four generations of winegrowers before them. The domaine is located in Arbin, a couple of towns along the curve of the mountain slope from Chignin. Arbin is one of the 17 crus that exist in the Savoie, although all the wines go under the appellation Vin de Savoie. Located a bit further along the slopes than Chignin and just before Cruet, Arbin specializes in Mondeuse and it is the only grape the Trossets have planted. Mondeuse is not a high alcohol grape. Even ... Read More »
A blend of 40% Jacquère, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Mondeuse Blanche, the wine maker recommends this wine as an aperitif or with fish or cheese. According to the importer: "From Domaine des Ardoisieres, it seems Mont Blanc is everywhere. The towering mountain watches over this small estate near the Swiss border from every angle, shaping the wines so expertly grown and made here.The domaine was planted during Roman times, then became overgrown with forest. A passionate group of supporters cleared the vineyard in 1998 and began piecing the steep terraces back... Read More »
Chardonnay from 60-year-old vines in the village of Pupillin, in the Arbois region. Look for "classic notes of hazelnut and honey."
This special liqueur is one of the hardest to get spirits in the world. Crafted from a centuries old recipe passed down by the Lady Abbesses of Chateau-Chalon, "Galant des Abbesses" is a heated, spiced wine fortified with Marc and aged a minimum of five years. The result is a brilliant apperitif or partner to a myriad of desserts. Nab a bottle for your collection while we have this is stock, quantities are extremely limited. Demeter certified, bio-dynamic since 2006.
From Bourdy: "The only grape variety used to make Château Chalon, along with all Vin Jaune, is the Savagnin, which amongst other names used to be called 'Le Naturé' or 'Fromentin'. Its origin is mysterious. From a botanical point of view, it is closely related to the Klevener d'Heiligenstein grape which is cultivated in Alsace and is part of the Traminer family. Legend has it that the grape variety is Hungarian in origin, or perhaps Spanish, but there is no firm evidence for these claims. Historic documents suggest that savagnin was already being cultiva... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "This shows a lightly smoky edge, with warm hazelnut and matchstick hints giving way to creamed apple, white peach and white ginger notes. The long finish has a lingering verbena edge and a stony underpinning. Drink now through 2021. 50 cases imported." (4/2015)
A blend of 80% Gamey and 20% Persan, the wine maker recommends this wine with charcuterie or cheese. According to the importer: "From Domaine des Ardoisieres, it seems Mont Blanc is everywhere. The towering mountain watches over this small estate near the Swiss border from every angle, shaping the wines so expertly grown and made here.The domaine was planted during Roman times, then became overgrown with forest. A passionate group of supporters cleared the vineyard in 1998 and began piecing the steep terraces back together to create Domaine des Ardoisier... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Well-focused, with ginger and chamomile notes racing along in front of a core of lightly baked apple, hazelnut husk and persimmon. Shows good energy and cut on the finish, with a lingering honeysuckle detail." (7/2014)
When Stephane Tissot returned to the family domaine he converted all 32 hectares to bio-dynamic viticulture and dramatically reduced yields. Vinifying terroir by terroir, he makes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of Burgundian quality with a distinctive mineral expression. He also honors the family traditions with brilliant versions of the semi-oxidized wines of the region. One of the world’s most restlessly innovative producers, he never ceases to come up with daring new ideas relating to viticulture, wine-making and hitherto unthought-of products. Who but S... Read More »