Once known only for cheap, thin whites, Savoie now produces world-class wines in all styles that put forth the stunning terroir of this Alpine growing region. At the foot of massive peaks, the vineyards benefit from excellent sun exposure; a cool, dry climate; and poor, rocky soils often planted at a significant gradient. Native grape varieties thrive in these conditions, giving lively, thirst-quenching wines with distinct regional character. The Quenard family has prime holdings on the steep limestone slopes of the Chignin appellation, but this Mondeuse bottling hails from the neighboring village of Arbin, where richer clay soils give broader, chewier, thicker wines. Aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak foudres, it conveys loads of juicy, brambly berries with floral and gamey nuances. Decant it to allow its dense tannins to soften, and then enjoy with roast duck, mushrooms, or Alpine cheeses.
The Savoie is a picture of fairy-tale perfection: snow-capped peaks, rolling hills, and sparkling mountain streams. This idyllic region is where Michel Quenard farms twenty-two hectares of vineyards along the steep slopes around Chignin. His grandfather started the domaine in the 1930s. Though he slowly increased his vineyard holdings, he mostly sold off his wine. It wasn’t until 1960 that Michel’s father, André, began bottling under their own label. Michel joined the domaine in 1976. Today, he is joined by his sons, Guillaume and Romain. Their cuvées go beyond the simple “eclectic” that categorizes wines from Savoie; they are unique revelations that reflect the complexity of their terroir and the artistry of this master.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa