Wines from the Combe de Savoie, Mont Granier & Jongieux
By Wink Lorch
This Guide was last updated on 18 July 2013
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This is a catchall appellation (formerly 'Vin de Savoie') for red, white, rosé and pétillant (sparkling) wines covering a vast geographic area mainly in Savoie and Haute Savoie departments with small parts of Isère and Ain. The 2,000ha of vineyards are widely scattered and include some in the other micro-region of Savoie. Most wines are made from a single grape variety, which unusually for France is often named on the label. About three-quarters of Vin de Savoie is white wine and the most planted grape is Jacquère, followed by Altesse (see Roussette de Savoie below), Bergeron (Roussanne) and Chardonnay. For reds the varieties mainly used are Gamay, Mondeuse and Pinot Noir. Some rare varieties are making a minor comeback (see ‘Grape Varieties’), however, no wine producer is allowed to have more than 10% of his vineyard planted with these minor varieties, inhibiting expansion of some very good varieties. There are 16 crus (specific named vineyard areas) which can append their name to the appellation – the majority are in this micro-region. The largest crus are Apremont and Abymes (both only for whites from the Jacquère grape) situated on land beneath Mont Granier, close to Chambéry. In the Combe de Savoie valley running from Chambéry to Albertville, the best known crus are Chignin, (also Chignin Bergeron specifically for wines from Roussanne), Montmélian, Arbin (only for Mondeuse) and Cruet. On the other side of Lac de Bourget is Jongieux. Since 2016 white sparkling wines are sold as Crémant de Savoie and must contain at least 40% Jacquère (or 60% including Altesse) - Chardonnay or any other permitted variety makes up the balance; a little rosé is made too, labelled for now as Méthode Traditionnelle.
An appellation in its own right, covering the same area as Vin de Savoie but specifically for white wines made 100% from the Altesse grape variety. There are four crus whose name can be appended - the best know is Marestel, a spectacular vineyard area in the village of Jongieux.
A vast IGP area, which is mainly used for wines from vineyard areas that were not included in the delimited area for Vin de Savoie AC which was created in 1973. Similar grape varieties are used as for Vin de Savoie AC, though there is more freedom to use unusual grape varieties. There are IGP vineyards that have revived along the Isère Valley from Albertville towards the Tarentaise ski areas, as well as several going south towards Grenoble and pockets to the east of Lac de Bourget.
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