On Thursday morning we left the Ain departement and headed into the heart of the Savoie region, where I hoped to try several red Mondeuse wines, as well as white Mondeuse. We drove past the large town of Chambery, and then towards the wine village of Freterive, part way up the hills of the Savoie. In Freterive we first stopped at Domaine Jean Vullien et fils, a producer whom we knew a little bit about from a prior visit to Annecy. We tried a couple of whites, and then several of their red Mondeuse wines, and bought a bottle of Chignin Bergeron (a white wine made from the Bergeron grape, known elsewhere in France as Roussanne) and a Mondeuse.
The next stop was a revelation. We visited Domaine Jean-Pierre Grisard, a producer that I knew nothing about except that they make a white Mondeuse and 5 different cuvees of red Mondeuse. We tried several of their wines, including the white Mondeuse and the 2012 vintage of all of their red Mondeuse cuvees, and they were amazing. We also tried a wine made from the Persan grape, a red variety that was almost extinct but was saved by Domaine Grisard, which also grows grapevines for sale to vineyards. Needless to say, we bought several wines here, bringing our total to far more than we'll be able to consume on this trip.
|Vineyard with snow covered mountains|
I would like to have visited more wineries in the area, but we had really gone overboard with buying wine. The wines in this area are just so good, and so unusual. Many of the grapes grown here are unique to this region, and besides Chardonnay, very few of the gape varieties are well known. It's also clear from visiting this region, as well as from other recent trips, that the quality of winemaking in France has never been better than it is now. Regions that have often made undistinguished wines are now making top notch wines that sell for a fraction of the price of wines from more well known regions. For example, outstanding sparkling wines are made here which sell for far less than Champagne.
After leaving Freterive, we stopped in the village of Miolans, high above Freterive, to take a look at the chateau there. We then drove through small villages, and through Chambery towards the Lac de Bourget (Bourget Lake). We stopped at the town of Le Bourget du Lac, where we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake. The view of the lake and the surrounding mountains, including the snow-capped Alps, was spectacular.
|Chateau in Miolans|
|Lac de Bourget|
After leaving Le Bourget du Lac, we drove back to our gite, with a stop in the town of Belley to pick up some provisions. Tomorrow, it's May 1, a French holiday. And it's Portes Ouvertes (Open Doors, or Open House) at wine producers in the town of Jongiuex in the Savoie.