Savoie Wines of the French Alps

 

 

Description

Main Grape Varieties

  • Altesse
  • Chardonnay
  • Chasselas
  • Gamay
  • Jacquère
  • Mondeuse
  • Persan
  • Pinot Noir
  • Roussanne
  • Apremont

 

Savoie wine tours are situated in one of Frances popular region the Alps.

The region is divided into two regions Savoie and Haute Savoie with its dramatic landscapes with the alps and magnificent lakes. Most of the wines produced in Savoie stay and are drunk in Savoie. Probably the most known white wine would be Appremont that you would drink while enjoying a cheese fondue in Paris. The total area of vine is around 1,800 ha  4.075 acres. Jacquère is the most Populaire grape planted because of its productivity Chardonnay is grown in some areas as well.

But its best varieties are Altesse and Rousette de Savoie. There is limited planting of Rousanne as well. Among the reds are Gamay Pinot Noir  imported fro Beaujolais and Burgandy. But the most intriguing red is  Mondeuse.

 

 

Highlights

  • Pick Up and drop off from your Hotel
  • Private Guide for the day
  • Visiting two of the largest lakes in the Alps
  • Lunch with a panoramic View
  • Private wine tastings

 

 

Chambéry, the former capital of the Duchy of Savoy. Discover this medieval city with its quaint alleyways, emblematic « elephant fountains », and ancient castle of the Dukes of Savoy.

 

Hike to 1556m enjoying breathtaking views of the Chartreuse mountain range, its highest peaks, the Riviera des Alpes, the Savoie vineyards and the surroundings alpine mountains.

  

Historical “Abymes” and “Apremont” vineyards visit. A mythical area where one of the biggest disaster in the Alps occurred (a little more about that later). Visit of a famous little church which is a place of pilgrimage since the Black Virgins miracle.

 

Wine tasting in a wonderful spot with a view for a tasting of the famous Crémant of Savoie and other local young/primeur wines (Abymes and Apremont).

 

Light hike on a ridge at 1390m, which overlooks the Riviera des Alpes and offers wonderful 360° views of the surrounding mountains and vineyards. On a clear day we’ll even be able to see the famous Mont-Blancs.

 

Wine tasting in the lovely, famous vineyards of Jongieux, which were recently awarded a special European label for the beauty of their landscapes. Here we’ll taste a famous local wine – Marestel Cru.

 

Great tasting of wines in a well-known winemakers cellar. Some of the wines tasted include rare grape varieties that have been forgotten…

One of the great joys of being a wine lover is discovering small wine areas – particularly in France, where the well-known wine regions tend to dominate the wine scene.  Given that the Savoie wine region in France produces only about .5% of all French wine and only around 8% of the production is exported outside of the area, it’s quite likely you’ve never heard of Savoie wines.

A wine tasting trip in Savoie takes you far from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire Valley and gives you an opportunity to try exciting and rare grape varietals that you can’t find anywhere else. The passionate winemakers in this region have done a lot for the future of Savoie wines, and you can discover that excitement for yourself by visiting a few key wineries.

The Savoie wine region is located at the foothills of the Alps, in the north-western corner. The region is distinctly alpine, with towering white-capped mountains and pristine lakes all around. The vineyards themselves are adapted to this mountainous environment, growing sometimes on 80-degree slopes that seem to touch the sky.

Until a decade ago, the wines of Savoie were mostly drank at nearby ski resorts, and the most popular white wine of the region, Jacquere, was primarily used for making fondue. However, as with many wine regions around the world, the quantity over quality trend is over and the perception of Savoie wine is rapidly changing.

Now is the time to experience the Savoie wine region for yourself, to see the incredible strides winemakers in this beautiful region are making.

A wine tasting trip to Savoie can take on many forms. Because it is an alpine destination for most, you may be planning to do some wine tasting in between skiing or other winter sports activities. However, my favorite time to visit the area for wine tasting is in the spring or fall when the buds on the vines are just starting to show or when the leaves change color and light up the vineyards with bright reds and oranges.

No matter when you plan to visit, you’ll find many wineries in the four main AOC departments of Savoie (Savoie, Haute Savoie, Isere, and Ain) that are happy to welcome you. Within the 2200 hectares of Savoie, there are 4 main AOCs (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) and 22 cru (village names.  80% of the wine produced in these areas is white from the grapes Altesse, Jacquere, Verdesse, Chardonnay, and Roussanne. Don’t let that get you down if you’re a red wine drinker. There are red grape varietals as well, like Mondeuse, Gamay and Pinot Noir.

For the purposes of touring the area, focus on no more than one of the three main wine routes per day.

The wine routes include:

  • Cluse de Chambery & Combe de Savoie (south of Chambery)
  • Chautagne and Jongieux (surrounding Lac du Bourget)
  • Leman and Arves (north of Geneva near Lac Leman)
Apricot, fig, olive and almond trees can share the growing space with vineyards in Savoie.
Wine Tasting in the Savoie Wine Region of France

This Discover Wine series focuses on regions of the world  that you can visit for wine tasting.

One of the great joys of being a wine lover is discovering small wine areas – particularly in France, where the well-known wine regions tend to dominate the wine scene.  Given that the Savoie wine region in France produces only about .5% of all French wine and only around 8% of the production is exported outside of the area, it’s quite likely you’ve never heard of Savoie wines.

A wine tasting trip in Savoie takes you far from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire Valley and gives you an opportunity to try exciting and rare grape varietals that you can’t find anywhere else. The passionate winemakers in this region have done a lot for the future of Savoie wines, and you can discover that excitement for yourself by visiting a few key wineries.

With Mont Blanc towering above, the Savoie vineyards display the unexpected richness of the Alps. In between skiing and walking, the white and red wines can be tasted in the most beautiful mountain landscapes, in both summer and winter. 

The Savoie landscapes are world famous for their beauty. Savoie Mont Blanc welcomes lovers of nature or sport, in any season, to the heart of the Alps. Between walks or ski runs, you can also discover another treasure: the Savoie wines. The wine route’s three itineraries cross the Savoie vineyards set among magnificent and contrasting landscapes, interspersed with large lakes (Léman, Bourget, Annecy and Aiguebelette). The route goes past vineyards and wine cellars, which are open for wine tastings. Raised in both the Alpine and winemaking cultures, the winegrowers offer informative walks through the vineyards, workshops about the harvest, and pressings of grapes. See the Savoie region’s architectural history, medieval castles and chateaux set among the mountains, waterfalls and rivers. 

draw a line on the map from Geneva to Chambéry 50 miles to the south and you mark the eastern boundary of a region that has rich resonance for British holidaymakers. Every year we flock in our thousands to the Savoie Mont Blanc region – to Alpe d’Huez, Tignes, Val d’Isère or Courchevel – to spend days on the piste and evenings consuming vin chaud and fondue.

And that will probably have been our only contact with the wines of Savoie, a wild paradise famed for its physical beauty and for its walking, cycling, boating and skiing – but not for its vineyards. And that is a shame, for Savoie whites and reds are undergoing a remarkable transformation. Once crisp and cheerful but little else, they are developing deeper, richer tones and an allure that was absent until relatively recently. Hence the decision of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourism to promote the region’s wines as attractions in their own right.

Savoie and its wines certainly make a heady combination. For a start, the region’s grapes are rarely encountered elsewhere: Altesse and Jacquère produce exotic, fruity dry whites; Mondeuse makes rich, slightly peppery reds. For good measure, they are grown in some of the most beautiful settings I have encountered. At Chignin, for example, the vineyards – carved out of high, rocky slopes – are dominated by four ancient, ruined towers, each draped in a thick layer of ivy. So steep are the hillside terraces that grass is planted in strips between the vines to stop the soil being washed away. On my visit, on a sunny afternoon in autumn, with the towers rising above these undulating vineyards, the place had a relaxed, magical allure.

But it is the wines that matter. Until recently, both whites and reds were made and sold fairly cheaply: to be swigged with raclette or mixed with sugar, spice and lemon to make vin chaud. Now the region’s winemakers have made a deliberate decision to take more care: producing fewer bunches of grapes from each vine, using less fertiliser, and slowing fermentation by keeping the tanks cool.

“If you let your fermentation run too fast, you lose aroma. You need to keep it slow,” says Pierre Abry of the Cave de Chautagne (+33 4 7954 2712, cave-de-chautagne.com) at Ruffieux, where the local wine co-operative has built a museum dedicated to local wines. Visitors can taste the grapes and compare their bouquets. Explanations were in French when I was there, but English versions are promised for this year.

The Savoie wine route includes three intineraries leading through striking landscapes where the vines are nestled between lakes and mountains. Whether you’re exploring this area by foot, bicycle or car, it’s a great opportunity to explore this wine region. The area boasts 23 different grape varieties and 20 appellations, three of which are AOC: Chignin, Apremont, Jongieux, Mondeuse. The diversity and quality of the wines reflect this unique area in the Alps.

Out & about

  • Apremont, Maison des vins de Savoie
  • Chambéry, historic centre and its market
  • Cruise to Hautecombe Abbey
  • Ruffieux, Vignesens wine centre
  • Montmélian, Musée de la Vigne et du Vin
  • Thonon, Ripaille estate and château
  • Garden of the medieval city of Yvoire
  • Chanaz, nut and oil mill
  • Parks for Bauges and Chartreuse

A unique experience

The national Vignobles & Découvertes label helps you to prepare your weekends and short breaks in the vineyards without any hassle thanks to carefully selected services. Choose your destination :

  • Coeur de Savoie
  • Savoie, Lac du Bourget

The Savoie Wine Route has 3 itineraries which take in impressive and contrasting landscapes.

The route is located near 4 large lakes (Annecy, Bourget, Aiguebelette, Leman), 2 Regional Parks (Bauges and Chartreuse) and it is very close to major tourist destinations such as Chambéry, Aix les Bains, Evian and Annecy.

The Wine route comprises 3 marked circuits:

  • Cœur de Savoie: from Chambery to Albertville
  • Savoie, Aix-les-Bains Riviera des Alpes: including the vineyards of Chautagne and Jongieux, near the Lake Bourget, and Frangy and Seyssel close to the Rhône river.
  • Léman and Arve, in the northern part of Savoie Mont Blanc, close to Lake Leman (Lake Geneva)

You’ll be amazed by the natural and cultural heritage of the route and you’ll learn all about this mountain region’s wine production, the development of which owes much to the enthusiasm of local wine-growers who are constantly striving to improve their techniques and the quality of their wines. Visitor centres and museums are dotted along the route and provide visitors with a host of fascinating information. This itinerary will also allow you to 

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Suggested Itinerary 1 day

Itineraries are handcrafted with extra care to create the right mix of food, wine, and culture for a memorable and unique experience. Here are some ideas and a sample itinerary. Just contact us to get started.

Day Tour

This morning you will be greeted by your private guide at the hotel for your day in Savoie. Your first visit will be at a family-owned Vineyard on the hills that surround the Lac De Bourget were you will take a walk through the vines taking in the breathtaking views of the Lake. then you will visit the winery and finish with a private tasting of the Domaines wines. Then your guide will accompany you to one of the many fine restaurants enjoying freshwater fish from the lake or maybe you would like to try some of the local specialities such as the Dioght local sausage cooked in local white wine or the filling Tartiflette potatoes mountain cheese and cured local ham. Once Lunch is completed its back on the trail to taste the wines at two other Vineyards one of which is set below the Dent du Chat (cats tooth) mountain and looking over the beautiful valley below. During this afternoons visits, you will learn about the many artisans who make fabulous Alpine cheese and cured meats. At the end of your day in Savoie, your guide will escort you back to your hotel.

 

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