Savoie and Bugey
Savoie and Bugey, two vineyards to discover
These are two vineyards in eastern France that are gradually emerging from anonymity thanks to white wines that are constantly improving and surprising. If the vineyards of Savoie have been gaining in popularity for several years, in particular thanks to their finest Mondeuse and Chignon-Bergeron, those of Bugey are still relatively confidential. Geographically close, but also by some of their soils, these two vineyards are often brought under the same banner. We suggest you discover them.
General presentation of the Savoie-Bugey vineyards
Vineyards of Savoie
At the foot of the French Alps, the Savoie vineyard covers some 2,200 hectares spread over Savoie and Haute-Savoie, as well as Ain and Isère. It is made up of a multitude of islands, mainly concentrated in Savoie. The vineyard extends from Thonon-les-Bains on the shores of Lake Geneva to the Isère and the region south of Chambéry. The Savoie vineyard follows the Rhône, makes an incursion into the Ain, passes through the Lac du Bourget to reach the Isère and the Arc. It also makes a few detours into Haute-Savoie to blossom in the Arve Valley.
The vineyards of Savoie produce mainly white wines. However, there are also red Savoy wines, rosés and sparkling wines. Five white grape varieties make the identity of local wines: jacquère, roussette (also called altesse), chasselas, gringet and bergeron (or roussanne). In reds, the leading grape varieties are Mondeuse, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Persian. Mondeuse, malvoisie and molette are sought-after and appreciated Savoyard grape varieties.
This vineyard is located in a small region of the Ain in the heart of a triangle formed by the cities of Lyon, Bourg-en-Bresse and Chambéry: the Bugey. Like the vineyards of Savoie, it is also quite scattered. Its 900 hectares are grouped in clusters around the three main areas of the region: Belley in the south, Cerdon in the north and Montagnieu in the centre.
Bugey is situated between the vineyards of the Jura and Savoie, a proximity that is reflected in some of its grape varieties: the Poulsard from the Jura and the Altesse (Roussette) from Savoie. Chardonnay, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Mondeuse are grown alongside them. Red and white wines make up most of the production, to which must be added sparkling wines, including Cerdon sparkling wine.
The Savoie-Bugey vineyards have several appellations d'origine contrôlée to which a geographical name may be added.
Wines of Savoie
The Savoyard AOCs concern mainly white wines:
- AOC Vin de Savoie: it represents more than 80% of the total production. It is produced from one end of the vineyard to the other, from Lake Geneva in the north to the banks of the Isère in the south.
- AOC Roussette de Savoie: these AOC wines are produced from the region's flagship grape variety, altesse, also known as roussette. It is towards the Bourget that this AOC is mainly produced, in Monthoux and Marestel. Further north, around Frangy, we also find this AOC.
- AOC Seyssel: this appellation is shared with the Bugey vineyard. It extends indeed on the two banks of the Rhône, on the communes of Seyssel and Corbonod. It uses the Altesse and Molette grape varieties.
- AOC Crémant de Savoie: it is produced on all the vineyard (except Seyssel and Ayze).
- The Savoie vineyard also has 20 geographical denominations which "enrich" the AOC Savoie:
- In Haute-Savoie: Ayse, Crépy, Marignan, Ripaille, Marin, Frangy, Seyssel
- In Savoie: Chautagne, Marestel, Jongieux, Monthoux, Monterminod, Saint-Jeoire-du-Prieuré, Apremont, les Abîmes, Chignin, Chignin Bergeron, Montmélian, Arbin, Cruet, Saint-Jean-de-la-Porte
Wines of Bugey
The Bugey vineyards are the source of 3 AOCs and 5 geographical denominations:
- AOC Bugey, which includes the appellations AOC Bugey Cerdon (sparkling rosé), AOC Bugey Manicle (pinot noir and chardonnay) and AOC Bugey Montagnieu (mondeuse noire for red wine; altesse, chardonnay and mondeuse for sparkling wine). These wines are very diverse: sparkling, red, white and rosé.
- AOC Roussette du Bugey, an appellation with 2 denominations, namely Roussette de Bugey Montagnieu AOC (altesse) and Roussette de Bugey Virieu-le-Grand AOC (altesse).
- AOC Seyssel, an appellation shared with the Savoy vineyards.