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2022 Chignin Blanc “Vieilles Vignes”

André & Michel Quenard
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The village of Chignin is among Savoie’s top crus, and this family-run domaine—now headed by Guillaume Quenard, the fourth successive generation to tackle these daunting slopes—has a history of doing this terroir justice. Jacquère takes on an intensely mineral expression in these “soils” of lime-stone scree—rocks that have broken off the mountain over tens of thousands of years of erosion. This is particularly true of this cuvée from seventy-year-old vines that have set their roots deep into this stony pile of rubble. The nose is delightfully fruity with nectarine, peach, and citrus, along with a talc-like dusting of minerals. On the palate, you’ll find the same succulent fruit backed by bright acidity and a cool-climate snappiness as pure as melted snow. Few things are more satisfying as an apéritif than a chilled glass of this Alpine elixir.

Dustin Soiseth

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2022
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Jacquère
Appellation: Savoie Chignin
Country: France
Region: Savoie, Bugey, Hautes-Alpes
Producer: André & Michel Quenard
Winemaker: Guillaume Quenard
Vineyard: 4 ha, 70+ years
Soil: Limestone scree
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 11.5%

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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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Vintage illustration of men rolling barrels.

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