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The village of Seyssel, in the French Alps, has a history of viticulture dating back centuries, having built a reputation for floral-scented charmers from the local grapes, Molette and Altesse. Produced in the méthode traditionnelle and aged for two years sur latte, the Petit Royal is unequaled in the world of sparkling wine: alpine flowers, dried fruit, wildflower honey, and a toasty, yeasty note give this value sparkler an utterly delightful aromatic richness and complexity. Serve it with various salty toasts to kick off your next dinner party, or pop one open to liven up a night at home with a big bowl of mac and cheese.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: sparkling
Vintage: NV
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 60% Molette, 40% Altesse
Appellation: Seyssel
Country: France
Region: Savoie, Bugey, Hautes-Alpes
Producer: Lambert de Seyssel
Winemaker: Gérard Lambert, Olivier Varichon
Vineyard: 10-25 years
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Aging: A liqueur de tirage is added to launch the second (sparkling) fermentation and the bottles are stocked sur latte for two years
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 12%

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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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Inspiring Thirst

A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!

Inspiring Thirst, page 117

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