The spotlight has been shining on Savoie* wine since Wink Lorch published her authoritative book Wines Of The French Alps (available to buy directly from Wink here and check out David Crossley’s review here) in July 2019. The area is on France’s eastern borders with Italy and Switzerland – and in fact only became a permanent part of France in 1860 when it was ceded by Italy under the Treaty of Turin.
Savoie is actually further north than you might think** – in the outline map above it is level with Cognac – and given its Alpine elevation it is distinctly cool. The main grape varieties of the area are Altesse (aka Roussette), Gringet, Jacquère, Mondeuse and Roussanne (aka Bergeron), with all but Roussanne being indigenous. In the more frost prone areas only local varieties are hardy enough, and the long growing season brings out their aromatic qualities.
Fabien Trosset comes from a well-established winemaking family with a speciality for Mondeuse, the key red variety of Savoie. He and his partner Chloé took over some family vineyards in 2011 and added more from another branch in 2013, taking their total to 16 hectares. The soils are either limestone or clay and the aspect is generally south-facing. The vines are up to 90 years old for some of the Mondeuse plots, 30 for their Altesse and 15 for Roussanne. The wine featured below is made from Jacquère which doesn’t even feature on their website or in Wink’s book, so I’m assuming it’s a very new addition!
Domaine Trosset Savoie “Or Blanc” 2018
“Or Blanc” translates as “white gold”, and this seems to be a fitting moniker as the wine is made from 100% Jacquère, the most important white grape in Savoie. The vineyards are at an altitude of 600 metres above sea-level – higher than any Alsace Grand Cru sites, as a comparison. This is a wine which could be pictured in the dictionary for the definition of “freshness”: a chalky minerality dominates, with crisp acidity and gentle garden herbs. There is fruit too in the form of a racy lime streak
A dry wine at just 11.0% is very rare these days, but it doesn’t feel diminished in any way. This is a delicious, interesting wine that deserves to be better known. I’m looking forward to trying some more of Fabien and Chloé’s wines in the future.
*The area is usually anglicised as Savoy, but I just prefer the French version.
**Well, it’s further north than I thought!