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2020 Hautes Alpes Chasan-Chardonnay “Grains de Clotinaille”

Domaine Les Hauts Lieux
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A blend of Chasan, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Spanish Palomino, with Chardonnay. Aged in barrel, it is creamy yet lively, with the clean finish of a dry sake.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 70% Chasan, 30% Chardonnay
Appellation: IGP Hautes Alpes
Country: France
Region: Savoie, Bugey, Hautes-Alpes
Producer: Domaine Les Hauts Lieux
Winemaker: Mickaël Olivon
Vineyard: Planted in 1980s, 1.8 ha total
Soil: Moraine and scree (dolomite, silt, gravel)
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About The Region

Savoie, Bugey, Hautes-Alpes

map of Savoie, Bugey, Hautes-Alpes

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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Kermit Lynch pulling wine out of a cellar.

If you're looking for value, look where no one else is looking.

Inspiring Thirst, page 211

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