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Savoy (Savoie) is an administrative “department” of France in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France neighboring Switzerland on its northeast border and Italy on its southeast border, but the department is a legacy of a larger region under the name Savoy, and in fact the Savoy wine region encompasses four departments within France: Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Isère, and Ain. The name Savoy comes from the House of Savoy which is what ruled a feudal fiefdom that included these four departments, area that is now part of Switzerland and area that is now part of Italy, and with borders that moved over the centuries until the area it occupies now was ceded to France by the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860. Its first real wine culture significance was imposed much earlier however by the Romans who claimed it as part of the growing empire’s first province north of the Alps, Galia Transalpina, along with Provence and Languedoc, between 200 and 100 BC.

Before giving the Romans too much credit for instituting the region’s viticulture, however, it’s important to note that the indigenous Allobroges people were already cultivating a hardy type of grape that was adapted to mountain climates, maturing before the frost, and which was cultivated in trees where any respectable vine would ideally like to grow. And, in fact, the Romans were quite enamored of the wine they produced, which we know from mentions in the writings of the Romans Pliny the Elder and Columella and the 2nd century Greek writer Celsus. As essentially a region encompassing the Alps, the terrain where Vitus vinifera is able grow is scattered in tiny pockets of microclimates in the region, and combined these vineyards occupy less than 5,000 acres, accounting for only 0.5% of French wine production.
Given its altitude, growing seasons are relatively short, so white grapes are what are predominantly planted, and 70% of wine produced in Savoy is white wine. There are 23 grape varieties planted in Savoy and there are only four official appellations (AOC, Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée), one of which only came into existence in 2014: Vin de Savoie, Roussette de Savoie, Seyssel and Crémant de Savoie (since 2014).
An excellent Wine Folly article on the region (Savoie Wine: Unusual Finds From the French Alps) identifies five whites and two red grape varieties that stand out for their exceptional quality and natural adaptation to the terrain and climate. The five whites are Jacquère, Altesse, Roussanne, Chasselas, and Gringet, and the two reds are Mondeuse and Persan.

For the August Monthly Wine Club we covered Jacquère and Altesse in the white category and Mondeuse in the red category. And we already have a Crémant de Savoie on the shelf right now because it is full-on summer and we cannot be waiting until August to get our bubbly on!


Vin de Savoie is by far the largest of the AOCs and includes 16 official subregions, or crus, and the white Jacquère grape varietal dominates, accounting for 50% of all plantings in the entire Savoy wine region. Yet despite its saturation in Savoy, not many people outside of the region have even heard of the varietal let alone tasted it in a wine. One of the more popular crus that feature Jacquère, which mandates at least 80% of a blend be comprised of the grape, is Chignin. The grape is also quite popular in vineyards surrounding the villages of Apremont and Abymes, which are also both crus of the Vin de Savoie AOC. Interesting historical tidbit about these crus: on November 24, 1248, a huge piece of the north side of the mountain Mont Granier collapsed and buried 16 (!) villages burying 5,000 people, which in the Middle Ages was quite a sizeable population. Where the villages once stood is where the crus now stand and the vineyards now grow
Jacquère vineyards in the Apremont cru of the Vin de Savoie AOC
Mary Taylor herself
Chignin-Vin de Savoie vineyards
Featured August Amaro Wine Club Savoy wine: Mary Taylor Chignin (2021)

It might seem odd at first glance that the selection we made for the most common Savoy grape is under the label of an American negociant. But with a little more digging, we think you’ll agree with our decision. First, it was the best Jacquère wine we tasted. Second, let’s remember that Savoy wine does not have the centuries of lineage of established estates, such as Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, or Burgundy. Third, instead, its reputation is based on tradition, terrain, and varietals. Enter Mary Taylor who since the 1990s has made it her company’s mission to work with individual growers in multiple villages throughout France to bring regionally distinctive, appellation-focused wines at accessible prices to the international market. A common theme is that the estates she selects prioritize sustainable farming and are preferably certified organic and/or biodynamic. The wine that she picked to showcase Jacquere is from an estate in the the Chignin AOC where the vintner Benjamin Ravier works with 40-year-old vines on limestone and glacial marls soil on southwest facing slopes of the Bauges Mountains. He presses the grapes gently and ferments them without maceration and then ages the wine in used 10-year-old barrels for three months on the lees to add texture to its minerality.

FOOD PAIRINGS: tartiflette (baked potato, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions), eggplant parmigiana, smoked trout fishcakes, Arctic charr fillets, Beaufort cheese, Aosta ham


Roussette de Savoie is the second largest AOC in Savoie, accounting for four crus (Frangy, Marestel, Monthoux, Monterminod ) and 10% of the Savoy’s wine production. Only one grape varietal is allowed in this AOC: Altesse, aka Roussette. It used to be that if a wine came from the Roussette de Savoie AOC but not from one of the crus that it could be blended up to 50% with Chardonnay, but that is no longer allowed by AOC rules. The best vineyards are located at the feet of the massifs of Bauges and Borne on steep slopes which are ideal for proper drainage and their southern exposure for maximum exposure to sunlight.
A view of the Bauges massif
Domaine Trosset Fabien is a multigenerational family estate
Featured August Amaro Wine Club Savoy wine: Domaine Fabien Trosset Roussette de Savoie La Devire (2022)

Domaine Fabien Trosset is situated between Chambéry and Albertville at the foot of the Bauges massif, extending over 16 hectares facing south planted in both limestone, near the commune of Montmélian, and red clay near the commune of Arbin. The average age of the domaine’s Altesse vines are 30 years and the grapes are manually harvested and manually sorted in the cellar, then vinified in stainless steel and aged for 8 months on the lees.

FOOD PAIRINGS: Vegetable gratin, rich seafood dishes, Asian curries, cheese plates, frog legs, escargot


We’re back within the Vin de Savoie AOC where there are five crus for red and rose wines: Arbin, Saint-Jean-de-la-Porte, Chautagne, Chignin, and Jongieux. Only the Mondeuse (aka Mondeuse Noire) and the Persan are native red varietals to Savoy. The latter is particularly difficult to grow and hence wine made from it is difficult to find outside of the region. Mondeuse is more diffuse and there are even theories that it was the native tree-trained grape that the Romans found the Allobroges people growing and vinifying. It is also grown in nearby Switzerland (where it is known as Gros Rouge) and around villages along the Rhone, and it has been transplanted in the New World in Australia and widely in California, although for almost a century it was mistook there for the Italian varietal Refosco. But back to the Vin de Savoie, Mondeuse is often blended with Gamay and Pinot Noir, but most agree that it sees its best expression as a single varietal from the Arbin cru, and when vinified well it has great aging potential.
View from vineyards in the Arbin cru of the Vin de Savoie AOC
Featured August Amaro Wine Club Savoy wine: Domaine Fabien Trosset Vin de Savoie Mondeuse Arbin 1952 (2020)

Domaine Fabien Trosset was the first producer of the Mondeuse d'Arbin in Savoie. And for this particular wine, they are using the grapes from the domaine’s oldest vines planted in 1952, hence the name. Like they do with the Altesse, the Mondeuse is harvested by hand and the sorting is also done by hand. The grapes are vinified in whole clusters and macerated for eight days at 82 degrees (28 Celsius) and then the wine is aged for 12 months in 600-liter oak barrels. Despite all of this, the alcohol by volume (ABV) of this wine is still low for a red, akin to a Beaujolais and even sharing similar characteristics of a cru Beaujolais in terms of structured tannins, but with the unique taste profile of a high-altitude wine.

FOOD PAIRINGS: Beef ribs, venison, aged Mimolette, Aosta Valley ham, grilled andouilette
Natural drainage and south facing for maximum sunlight exposure
Fabien Trosset and Chloe assumed management of his family estate in 2011