Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Savoie Region

On Sunday morning we drove to the town of Morestel, in the Isere departement, to do some shopping at their large weekly outdoor market.  We spent quite a bit of time there, and picked up a lot of food provisions for the next few days.  We then drove back to our gite to have lunch, and tried to make a dent in all the goat cheese we had bought.

After lunch, we drove to Chanaz, a lovely town that we had stopped at 2 years ago. Chanaz has a beautiful setting on a canal that runs into the Rhone, and since it was such a lovely  day and it was in the middle of school vacation, there were a lot of people strolling around the town.  We had come back there partly to visit Le Moulin de Chanaz, a walnut and hazelnut oil mill that we had stopped at 2 years ago but which was closed then.  It was open today and quite busy, and we watched some of the production of their nut oils. It was fascinating to watch the small production operation which used old methods of heating and pressing. We bought several bottles of each oil, some to use here and some to bring home.  We also stopped at an artisinal chocolate shop; the chocolates were made at a small facility on the outskirts of Chanaz, and the woman who makes the chocolates was selling them at her little shop in town.  She gave us some samples, which were delicious, and we bought a few of them.

Moulin de Chanaz

After leaving Chanaz we drove north towards the Chautagne region to try and find the Cave de Chautagne wine producer.  We eventually found it, and visited their caveau. We tried a number of their wines, but most of them were disappointing. Some had clearly been open for too many days, and overall there was not much we liked. We did buy a bottle of their Vielle Vignes (old vines) Mondeuse, which we had with dinner that night.

We then drove to the village of Chatillon, a port town on the northern part of the Lac de Bourget.  We parked near the port and strolled down to the water and out onto the pier. After leaving Chatillon we stopped at the Abbaye d’Hautecombe, a magnificent abbaye overlooking the Lac de Bourget.  We finally drove back to Lhuis and had a late dinner.
Lac de Bourget in Chatillon 
Abbaye d'Hautecombe

Monday morning we started by heading towards the Lac de Bourget again, this time stopping at the wine village of Jongieux, which we had visited 2 years ago.  Since most of the producers are very small, you can’t always be guaranteed that someone will be available at the tasting room, even if you arrive during listed opening hours, but after one miss, we stopped at Domaine Dupasquier, which had been recommended by the wine writer Wink Lorch, and one of the proprietors was there. She poured us their range of wines, most of them white, and they were outstanding.  We bought their Jacquere, a local white grape; two wines from the Altesse/Roussette grape, including one that was from the sub-AOC ‘Marestel”; and their Mondeuse.
Domaine Dupasquier Caveau
After leaving Jongieux we headed to Seyssel, which is actually two towns: Seyssel in the Ain departement, and across the river, Seyssel in the Savoie. We parked on the Ain side and walked across the bridge to the Savoie side to go to their weekly market and see the center of town.  We had driven across that bridge 2 years ago from the Ain side, and had wanted to come back and see the center of the Savoie side.

After we left Seyssel we drove to the town of Alby-sur-Cheran, on the Cheran River. The old part of the town was lovely, with an arcaded center and wonderful old buildings. We took a long walk around the town before heading back towards our gite.

On the way back we decided to take a detour to the Apremont wine region.  We got off the highway near the village of Apremont, and when we got to the town I saw a sign for Le Cellier du Palais, another wine producer that Wink Lorch had recommended we visit.  An older man was there, and he called his daughter Beatrice, the winemaker, who arrived and opened the tasting room.  We tried most of their white wines and one red, all of which were terrific. We bought 6 bottles, then headed back to Lhuis.
Upper Part of Lhuis

After unloading our purchases and having some cheese and wine, we decided to take a walk outside the center of the village. There was a farm about half a mile from our gite, and we headed in that direction.  Their principal product was goat cheese, but they also had a whole array of other farm animals, including cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys.  There was also a friendly cat, as well as a dog that was not so friendly and who attacked me.  While we were strolling around, their herd of goats were returning to the barn, accompanied by one of he owners And several young children.  Although the farm store was not officially open, the owner said to enter the shop, and his wife was there to serve us. So we got more goat cheese to add to our collection.


  1. I've been waiting for the obligatory cat picture. Sweet!

  2. Attacked by a dog? Hope you were unscathed.