Schlagwort-Archive: Savoy

2011 Verdesse – Domaine des Rutissons – Isère

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.

 

Landschaft um Mens

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.

Savoie Wine Battle Gringet Sulphur vs Natural

One of those grape varieties that I have been looking for in Germany for a long time now is the Gringet. An almost extinct variety native to the French Alps that was thought be be a mutation of the Savagnin of Jura but which has been disproved by DNA testing. To my knowledge the only winery producinf Gringet Varietals is Domaine Belluard in Ayse, between Geneve and Chamonix.

Rebenversuchsanbau Domaine Méjane Gringet

Domaine Bellaurd adheres to biodynamic principles. 95% is plated with Gringet which is used both for still and sparkling wines. The rest is made upo from Altesse and Mondeuse.

When receiving the newsletter from Vins Vivants I had to take the opportunity and buy a couple of wines, two of which will be placed side by side today: Les Alpes and Pur Jus 100%, 2012 vintage.
They are basically the same wine, just the Pur Jus 100% has no added sulphites.

The Battle:

Les Alpes 2012:

Nice yellow in the glass. Interesting Nose: Apple, smoked bacon, deep fried parsley and cooked white beans.
Quite full with lively acidity, apple juice and cidre with a chalky mouthfeel, as if some tannins had somehow found their way into this bottle. Cidre and citrus aftertaste.
Later: Flowers, apples and cooked beans.
Even later: Yoghurt, wax, apple peel, honey, mirabelles.

The next day: Pork and apple, citrus and dried flowers aftertaste with a touch of chestnuts.

Pur Jus 100% 2012:
Slightly darker colour than the Les Alpes.
Hay, dried flowers, cidre, honey and mushrooms, pork with cooked white beans, lightest touch of Brett with goat aroma. Yoghurt and honey aftertaste.
Later: Apple, powdered stock, white flowers, plum.
Even later: Honey, apple, strong, almost artificial cherry- Appley, herby aftertaste.

The next day: Mint, liquorice, apple, citrus.

Outcome
Both wines are fascinating, especially the pork and beans notes found in both wines have been a pleasant surprise. The Pur Jus 100% has been well and hygienically made. Even after a week open near the heating which I must admit I rarely use, no sign of volatile acidity. The diffrenece between both wines was great with a slightly higher complexity for the Pur Jus 100%, making it the winner of todays battle.

Battle Vin de Savoie Malvoisie 2011 vs Coteaux de l’Auxois Pinot Beurot 2010

Todays battle sees the 2011 Vin de Savoie Malvoisie Cuvée Prestige from Domaine Girard against the 2010 Vin de Pays de Coteaux de l’Auxois Pinot Beurot La Mystérieuse from Vignoble de Flavigny-Alesia pitched against each other. Both wines are made using hand picked grapes, which does not really call for a battle.
Ok. They are both whites, from France… Both winemakers are members of France-Passion,
where camping car owners can stay the night after buying a sticker valid for one year.
Not enough?
Ok, both wines are made using Pinot Gris, though both use different names on the label.
Both the pink skinned mutation of the Pinot Noir as well as its white counterpart are rarely seen in France. The amount of Pinot Gris vines grown are about 10% of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc even just 5%.
Both are mainly grown in Alsace, where Pinot Blanc is mainly used as an ingredient for Cremant d’Alsace whereas the Pinot Gris is part of the 4.5 Grand Cru gang. Why 4.5? The 4 classic Grand Cru varieties are Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris with Sylvaner being the exception for the Grand Cru Zotzenberg only.
Before Hungary’s joining of the EC Pinot Gris was called Tokay in Alsace.
Apart from the Alsace there is also the Reully AOC in the upper Loire region where it is used for rosé wines in conjuncture with Pinot Noir.
It is also allowed in a variety of burgundy reds but it is not widely planted so the chances of finding even traces of Pinot Gris in red Burgundy are pretty slim. Here it is called Pinot Beurot.

The wine growing region of Coteaux de l’Auxois is part of Burgundy but not part of Bourgogne AOC. It’s hills are rather green with grass and dotted with big cattle. The Auxois is an old earldom in the western part of the duchy of Burgundy. The vinery Vignoble de Flavigny-Alesia lies south of the quaint village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain immortalized by the film Chocolat featuring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. It is also near to the historic place of Alesia where Caesar utterly destroyed gallic resistance by defeating their army in 52 BC. Beside the Pinot Gris which is the vinery grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Auxerrois and César. Alluding to the battle of Alesia the wine bottle is roughly in the shape of an amphora.

The Malvoisie from Domaine Grisard was bought in Mens, where I bought the Verdesse as well. At first I was not sure which grape variety hid behind the Malvoisie, as there are many grape varieties using this name, like the Frühroter Veltliner or the rare Malvasia bianca di Piemonte. But the Domaine put the real grape variety on the back label and they must know, because they also grow vines for sale in their pepiniere viticole.

Fresh from the fridge:
Vin de Savoie: Pear, light muscat-note, chalk. Soft, off-dry.
Coteaux de L’Auxois: light peach, apple core, green hazelnut, rape honey. Strong acidity with light bitter note.

Room temperature:
Vin de Savoie: Pear, dried Mango, fresh and ripe Mangop as well, some beeswax. Light peppery finish.
Coteaux de l’Auxois: light button mushrooms with mustard. Savoury, raspberry vinaigrette.

I’d serve them with:
Vin de Savoie: pan seared scallops
Coteaux de l’Auxois: Plate of Charcuterie

Two days later:
Vin de Savoie: pear williams, fresh ripe mango, light pineapple. Sweetness more pronounced.
Coteaux de l’Auxois: Mustard, pear, unripe mango, light onion. Acidic.

The winner is the wine from the Alps though i must admit that the interesting flavors from the burgundy were unique.

2013 Mondeuse Blanche, Maison Philippe Grisard, Savoie

After our stay at Domaine Mèjane we continued the journey to Beaufort, famous for its cheese. Here the local cooperative is quite involved in new technology, having installed an automatic cheese vending machine so no one will run out of cheese 24/7. They also convert the whey from the cheese making process to electricity which is more than enough to run the dairy, so the excess is sold. But this is a completely different story.

I definitely wanted to stop at Maison Philippe Grisard in the mountain village of Cruet. The winery sells my favorite Verdesse, a Frühroter Veltliner (called Malvoisie here) and Mondeuse Blanche.

Mondeuse Blanche is one of those ultra rare grape varieties from the Savoy that keep popping up in ampelographic texts. It is not a mutation of the much more common Mondeuse Noire but they are definitely connected. The Blanche’s second of fame came in 2000, when it was shown that Mondeuse Blanche and Dureza (another almost extinct grape variety, this time from the Ardèche Region in France) are parents of the world famous Syrah / Shiraz.

So three wines that would be worth a little detour, I thought, while processing the address into the navigation system. Passing a couple of bikers on the straight road was easy. Once inside the village I had to turn right, straight up the mountain, a steep and narrow road. Any oncoming traffic and I would have been in big trouble. Panicking I turned into the next corner where we met a friendly Savoyard who asked me where I wanted to go. Up to Maison Philippe Grisard was my answer. No Problem, they have a parking space was the answer in perfect German. Back onto the road and going up the steep road under the watchful eyes of some inhabitants I finally found the parking, one space even free to settle the camper van.

Grisard Parking

Just check the relative height compared to the mountains in the distance, and the steep road in the left corner… I had to go back down there without really having ranging space in the back, past the amused onlookers commenting…

Grisard Weinkeller

Well, I didn’t feel like wine tasting at that moment, so I just bought two of each wine and tried the Mondeuse Blanche later back at home.

The bottle has been sealed with white wax, hiding a Noma cork.
Straight from the fridge: Banana, fresh and chewing gum. Quite full for a mountain white, balanced acidity. Cooked banana on the palate and long mineral finish.

Pouring the wine a couple of times from one glass into another (wine glass decanting) introduces fruit: Banana, unripe apricot, jasmine. On the palate cooked banana, apricot and a very interesting bitter sweet salty finish.

The next day surprises with more fruit: Banana peel, apricot, raspberry and cherry jam mixed with oat porridge and honey. One hour later the fruit is gone, leaving dandelion and honey.

The following day: Dandelion and apricot.

A very interesting grape variety on its own but next time I am not taking the camper van up to the winery!