If one divides France’s wines into the main wine growing regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Jura, Corse, Provence, Rhône, Savoy and Southwest there still remain some that don’t fit the description.
One of these are the wines of the Isère department. Southwest of the Savoy it borders the Rhône, the next wine region to the south would be the Provence. The landscape is similar to the Savoy but culinary it is doing its own stuff. No Tratiflets, raclette, fondue but raviols, small parcels filled with fresh cheese and parsley.
I did find out about this one september on the way back from the Côte d’Azur to Germany. The goal was to check out Mens, but nout because of the great views.
This tiny (1200 inhabitants) but eco-friendly town is host to a big eco-food fair in september, has its eco brewery, the weekly market has a high percentage of eco producers and there are a number of community vegetable gardens for every ones use. It is also home to a wine shop specialising on wines from the Alps. Right at the market place it was easy to find but unfortunately closed because of prep work for the coming eco fair. Luckily a guy could be seen through the cellar windows ranging wine boxes. After explainng that I had come all the way from Germany to buy some of his merchandise he agreed to let me buy some.
One of the bottles I bought is the 2011 Verdesse from Domaine des Rutissons in St Vincent de Mercuze. Apart from grapes grown in neighbouring wine regions (Jacquère from Savoy and Viognier from Rhône) the y grow autochtonuos grape varieties as well, Etraire de la Dhuy and Verdesse. The Verdesse is only grown on 2ha in France (2008). The name relates to its dark green leaves. The wines are supposed to be aromatic which gave the vine the synonym of Verdesse Musquée.
Straight from the fridge I’m surprised by choucroute with apples, onions and bacon. On the palate a cristal clear mineral acidity with raspberry soda candy. Dried fruit and canned mushrooms aftertaste. The choucroute dissipates quickly leaving raspberry soda, cooked apple, smoked bacon with honey and light chalk.
A real find, just hoping it can survive commercially against the likes of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The raviols we had later in the Café des Arts. The night we spent freezing in the tent.