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Intro: Savoie and Bugey

The secret is out about Savoie wines – there is now a thirsty international market for the best wines and prices have firmed up. We are big fans of the region, as its top wines from singular grape varieties aren’t just interesting curiosities, but offer unique flavours with an utterly delicious drinkability, real versatility of food matching, and low alcohol levels thanks to steep, high altitude vineyards.

New to the list last year the excellent Domaine des Orchis have five hectares of vines in Frangy in Haute-Savoie, and also rear snails commercially! They have worked organically since 2007, unusually producing just two wines, Roussette and Mondeuse. Yields are exceptionally low for the region at just 25hh, and a patient approach is adoped in the cellar, where the wines are aged in older oak for a year, and then several months in cuve.

At Domaine la Combe des Grand’Vignes two brothers, Denis and Didier Berthollier have been running the family vineyards for ten years. Increasingly organic in outlook, they make wines that are very true to their terroir.

Gilles Berlioz has just over three hectares of vines tended bio-dynamically in Chignin to the south of Chambéry. His vines produce just 32hh, when the average for the appellation pushes 70hh.  A little like Cyril Fhal in Roussillon, Gilles looks after his vines as though they were flowers in his back garden. His wines are very individual, unforced and natural. If that weren’t enough Gilles has committed everything to producing even better wines, and is helped by five people full time in the vineyards during the summer.

Brice Omont’s nine hectare Domaine des Ardoisières is very much the new star. Originally from Champagne, Brice worked alongside Michel Grisard for seven years at Ardoisières before buying Grisard out with the help of a group of wine enthusiasts. Bio-dynamic viticulture is heroic here, where terraced slopes above Albertville can reach 70%. Yields are very low, wines made from complanted grapes and the results are knock out and original. Ardoisières is the Guide des Vins de France’s top rated Savoie domaine.

The dramatic clump of rock that is Montagnieu (one of the three crus of Bugey), where Franck Peillot’s vines are planted, is one of the area’s finest terroirs. Montagnieu is situated at the southern end of the Jura mountain chain, but is nearer to Savoie than Jura. Peillot is a passionate advocate of the noble quality of the Roussette grape which needs old vines on steep hillsides, limestone derived soils, low yields and is best vinified dry without full malos.

We are also delighted to list an excellent old vine mondeuse from Arbin, renowned as one of Savoie’s finest terroirs for this grape, where Château de Mérande have 12 hectares of organically tended vines planted in limestone on steep mountain slopes.

Organic & Bio-dynamic

See our list of organic and bio-dynamic growers.