The eastern French alpine region of Savoie is one that remains somewhat obscure due to two main reasons – the highly mountainous area leaves little land suitable for viticulture, and the multitude of visitors to the area for both winter and summer tourism seasons tend to drink up much of the local wine. That said, if you can get your hands on a bottle of the higher-quality production from this region, you’ll find distinctive wines that express their respective terroirs in a way that is not often matched in the wine world.
Two areas of viticulture are widely considered to be the best, with vine and land complementing each other in perfect harmony: white Chignin near Chambéry made from Bergeron, which is the local name for Roussanne, and red Mondeuse from Arbin, which has a particular reputation for highlighting the grape’s distinctive pepperiness and deep color. Also of note from Savoie is its finest white grape variety, Altesse, which has its own AOC of Roussette de Savoie that can be produced anywhere within the region.
Château Mérande is located in Arbin, the home of the most distinguished Mondeuse in Savoie, and as such, 15 of their 25 acres of holdings are planted to that varietal. The rest of the estate is dedicated to production of Roussanne from Chignin and Roussette de Savoie. The Genoux brothers, Daniel and André, are part of a family lineage of winemakers that goes back generations, but that didn’t stop them from seeking additional consultation Yann Pernoult, a young vigneron with deep ties to the land in Savoie. With his influence, Château Mérande is now pursuing biodynamic practices, including the use of natural fertilizers and soil preparations and the exclusion of pesticides and weed killers. In addition they are a member of the Biodivine group, which helps maintain biodiversity in vineyards.
Producer: Genoux brothers and Yann Pernuit
Annual Production (of all wines): 40,000 Bottles
Arbin Mondeuse "La Belle Romaine"
Appellation: Arbin Mondeuse
Chignin-Bergeron "Le Grand Blanc"
Roussette de Savoie
"La Comtesse Blanche"
Appellation: Roussette de Savoie