In the Alps of Savoie, the town of Seyssel is home to a long tradition of sparkling wine production. Its local grape varieties, Altesse and Molette, are ideally suited to the mountainous limestone terroir, giving a refreshing vin mousseux of character and nuance at a fraction of the price of Champagne. Seyssel’s sparkling wines must be produced in the méthode traditionnelle and aged for at least nine months before disgorgement; the Royal from Lambert is aged on its lees for three whole years. This provides a delightful richness of flavor, fine bead, and unrivaled aromatics. Floral notes dominate—iris, violet, and alpine wildflowers come to mind—while the succulent texture recalls fleshy white fruits. At five years of age, secondary notes like honey, brown sugar, and an inviting muskiness have also emerged. A tasty treat all on its own, this unusual dry sparkler will stand up to pretty much anything you put on the table.
The “Royal Seyssel” label, launched in 1901 by the Varichon and Clerc families, was considered the best sparkling Seyssel on the market. But when the operation was purchased in the 1990s by a Burgundian négociant, quality suffered, and in 2007 the owners closed the winery. Dismayed to see what their great local wine had come to, Gérard and Catherine Lambert teamed up with Olivier Varichon to buy back the Royal Seyssel label and recreate the wine that was once so renowned. The wines of Seyssel indulge in the same traditional methods used for Champagne, and take it a step further by aging for at least three years before disgorgement.
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