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2015 Chignin-Bergeron

André & Michel Quenard

2015 Chignin-Bergeron André & Michel Quenard - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Roussanne is generally thought of as a warm-climate grape: it thrives in places like the Rhône Valley, the Languedoc, and California’s Central Coast. However, the variety gives one of its most compelling expressions in an unexpected, much cooler place, and under a different name. Known as Bergeron, it is capable of ravishing heights in the mountain vineyards of Savoie, showing a natural affinity to the rocky limestone slopes in cru villages like Chignin. Local vigneron André Quenard and his son Michel—now joined by a third generation, Guillaume and Romain—have become specialists in the art of farming and vinifying Bergeron from this breathtaking Alpine terroir. The grape takes on a decidedly different identity here than in warmer sites, always showing great breadth and volume on the palate without ever straying into the flat or flabby end of the spectrum. Sleek and refined, it evokes white peach, exotic fruit, and blossoming wildflowers with utter class. –Anthony Lynch
Vintage: 2015
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Roussanne
Appellation: Vin de Savoie
Country: France
Region: Savoie
Producer: André & Michel Quenard
Winemaker: André & Michel Quenard
Vineyard: 20 to 80 years, 5 ha
Soil: Steep limestone scree slopes
Aging: “Elevé en Foudre” is aged for 11 months in oak foudre
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 11%

More from this Producer or Region

About Savoie

Fifteen or twenty years ago, there was little buzz about the wines of Savoie, the Alpine region hugging the Swiss and Italian borders. In fact, most wines from Savoie were some combination of overcropped, thin, searingly acidic, and painfully rustic; even the best examples rarely made it out of the local mountain resorts, where they were served as an après-ski to wash down many a melty croque-monsieur.

But all that has changed, and today Savoie produces a number of top-quality wines in all styles, from simple thirst-quenchers to wines of substantial gravity. Kermit sought out some of these wines early in his career, having imported the spritzy, mineral whites of Apremont and Chignin in the late 1970s.

With vineyards at the foot of the Alps that occasionally climb to higher elevations, Savoie is defined by its mountain-influenced climate and extremely rocky terrain, with abundant limestone. Thanks to a diversity of indigenous grape varieties, quality-oriented growers with the choicest parcels—steep and well-exposed—can craft anything from crisp, low-alcohol whites from Jacquère to deep, gamey reds from Mondeuse. More serious whites are made from Altesse as well as Bergeron, the local name for Roussanne, which the Romans planted on the slopes of Chignin around the same time as they introduced it to the Rhône Valley.

Savoie’s diversity of styles and distinct sub-regions, from Arbin to Seyssel to the Bugey (technically not a part of Savoie, but included here for convenience) makes it a fascinating region for the thirsty explorer. There is no better place to look for brisk mountain refreshment.

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Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.


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