TN: French Alpine & Corsican Wines....(long/boring)

We tasted last week w/ the SFWinos Facebook Group Some French Alpine & Corsican Wines:

  1. Maison Philippe Viallet Savoie Blanc Ad’OP: Vin de Savoie (11.5%; Jacquere + Chasselas/Chard/Altesse; Elenteny Imports/NY) 2020: Pale yellow near colorless; very light floral/apple simple/pleasant enough nose; lightly tart very light apple/floral/Jacquere slight earthy flavor; a rather lightweight pleasant enough Alpine white that borders on vapid but at a decent price. $14.00 (AV)

  1. Dom.Nicolas Gonin Altesse IGP: Isere-Balmes Dauphinoises (12%;; MFW Wine Co/NY) St.Chef/Savoie 2019: Med.light gold color; quite fragrant floral/gardenias slight herbal rather Alpine White quite interesting quite attractive nose; bit soft somewhat rich/lush quite floral/gardenias Alpine white slight herbal bit complex flavor; a very interesting fairly rich/lush Alpine white that could use a bit more acidity; quite a pretty Alpine white.
    $30.00 (KK)

  1. Blard & Fils Micraster AOC: Vin de Savoie Abymes (11.5%; 100% Jacquere, 50 yr old vines; Garber& Co/Topanga/CA; Stork Wine Co) NV: Light yellow color; much stronger floral/Jacquere/carnations slight earthy/dusty/OV quite attractive nose; fairly tart lightly floral/Jacquere bit earthy/OV bit lightweight but some complex flavor; a very pretty fairly classic expression of Jacquere at a very fair price. $22.00 (SFW&S)

  1. Andre et Michel Quenard Chignin-Bergeron “Les Terrasses” Ad’OP: Savoie (13.5%; Bergeron or Roussanne grape) 2020: Light gold color; very strong floral/honeysuckle/Rouss slight chalky/mineral quite lovely bit complex nose; lightly tart/bright fairly rich/lush strong Rouss/honeysuckle/honeyed/carnations/floral bit complex flavor; a really bright/lovely expression of Rouss w/ more minerality & not as fat as those from the Rhone or Calif. $37.00 (KL)

  1. Rijckaert “Les Sarres” Ad’OC: Cotes du Jura (13.5%; Savagnin grape; Terrestial Wine/Manhasset/NY) 2019: color; strong fragrant spicy/Traminer-like/floral some earthy/chalky/mineral bit coarse quite interesting nose; bit soft rather rich/lush strong floral/spicy/Traminer-like some earthy/chalky bit complex flavor; a bit on the coarse/oafish side but quite an interesting Traminer-like spicy white; not a high-toned Alpine white. $40.00 (SFW&S)

  1. Dom.Maestracci E Prove AC: Corse Calvi (13.5%; KermitLynchImprts/Berkeley) Camille-Anais Raoust/Feliceto/Muro/Corse 2020: color; pleasant fragrant Vermen/floral/carnations some stony/chalky/earthy slight herbal nose; fairly tart/slight metallic bit stony/chalky light Vermen/floral/carnations flavor; a pleasant enough Vermen w/ a nice Corsican stony/saline character; nothing profound but rather pretty if a bit lightweight. $25.00 (SFW&S)

  1. Marquiliani Blanc de Marquiliani Ad’OP: Vin de Haute-Corse (13%; Vermentinu grape; KermitLynch) Anne Amalric/Aghione 2021: Med.light gold color; somewhat more intense floral/Vermen/carnations stronger chalky/stony bit mineral/metallic attractive nose; bit softer/richer more intense floral/Vermen/carnations bit more austere/saline more stony/chalky/mineral flavor; notches up the intensity of the fruit & terroir a bit; an attractive/pleasant expression of Corsican Vermen but just that & nothing profound. $34.00 (KL)

  1. Antoine-Marie Arena SanGiovanni Vermentinu Vin de France WW (12.5%; MeBaD; KermitLynch) Patrimonio 2020: Med.light gold color much more intense/perfumed/fragrant/floral/carnations/perfumed talc very slight chalky/mineral nose; lightly tart very strong floral/Vermen/carnations slight stony/chalky flavor; shows much more intense Vermen/floral fruit but only hints of the Corsican terroirto make it more interesting; reminds some of the Ryme or Tablas Vermen.
    $40.00 (KL)

8a. Ryme Vermentino “Hers” LasBrisasVnyd/Carneros/SonomaCnty (11.2%) 2018: color; intense perfumed/Vermen/very floral/gardenias huge fruit lovely intense nose; lightly tart/tangy/metallic intense perfumed/floral/Vermen/gardenias almost muscatty very slight chalky flavor; a classic Hers Vermen that is not showing much evolution yet but that classic Hers intense floral Vermen fruit.

  1. Antoine-Marie Arena B.G. Vin de France (12.5%; Uva di Biancu Gentile; MeBaD; KermitLynch) Patrimonio 2019: color; very fragrant/perfumed intense floral/gardenias/almost R-like slight petrol/Mosel valve oil slight herbal/musky/perfumed talc fairly complex nose; rather tart/tangy rather rich/lush intense floral/gardenias/quite R-like/mango slight petrol/pungent/valve oil slight chalky/Corsican/saline/perfumed talc flavor; a beautiful perfumed/aromatic white that resembles an AltoAdige R more than anything; a bit pricey for what it is but one of the better Corsican whites I’ve tried w/ a powerful fragrance & a bit of that Corsican salinity. $48.00 (KL)

  1. Dom.Nicolas Gonin Persan IGP: Isere-Balmes Dauphinoises (12%) St.Chef/Savoie 2019: Dark color; strong blackberry/boysenberry/licorice light earthy some floral/violets high-toned Alpine red bit complex lovely nose; fairly tart/tangy/slight metallic bright floral/violets/blackberry/licorice light earthy bit rustic flavor w/ ample tannins; needs 3-6 yrs; some quite attractive Alpine aromatics but reminds me some of LaCrima or Refosco; a bit on the rustic side & a bit like a muscular Syrah; an interesting red at a very fair price. $30.00 (KK)

  1. Famille Peillot Mondeuse AC: Bugey (12%; Louis/Dressner Slctns) Montagnieu/Bugey 2020: Dark color; lovely very aromatic very Alpine/floral/violets/edelweiss slight earthy/licorice bit blackberry classic Alpine Mondeuse rather complex nose; lightly tart slightly rich bit tangy/metallic rather Alpine/floral/violets/edelweiss slight blackberry/Mondeuse bit herbal fairly structured slight earthy/dusty complex flavors w/ some hard tannins; needs 2-5 yrs; lots of classic Alpine Mondeuse character w/ lovely aromatics; a bit rustic but at a great price. $24.00 (SFW&S)

  1. Andre et Michel Quenard Arbin Mondeuse Terres Brunes Ad’OP: Savoie (12.5%; KermitLynch/Berkeley) Coteau de Tormery/Chignin 2020: Very dark color; even stronger Alpine/floral/violets/edelweiss blackberry/ripe beautiful floral fairly complex nose; fairly tart very strong Alpine/floral/violets/edelweiss strong blackberry/Mondeuse/bit licorice slight earthy/dusty fairly structured flavor w/ some ripe tannins; a beautiful classic Savoie Mondeuse at a very good price; a bit more perfumed/aromatic/high-toned than the Peillot. $35.00 (KL)

12a. Lagier-Meredith Mondeuse MtVeeder/NapaVlly (14.6%) 2020: Very dark color; very intense blackberry/boysenberry/very MtVeeder spicy somewhat herbal/rosemary/thyme fairly toasty/Fr.oak slight dusty/earthy some complex nose; quite tart/tangy rather rich/lush very strong MtVeeder spicy/blackberry/boysenberry/licorice fairly herbal/rosemary/thyme some Fr.oak quite structured flavor w/ ample chewey tannins; needs 2-8 yrs; not the floral aromatics of Savoie Mondeuse but a rugged world-class expression of Mondeuse.

More kippersnot from TheBloodyPulpit:

  1. I was asked to put together a tasting of French wines for our SantaFeWinos Facebook group. Since France is a pretty broad request, I decided to limit it to two of my favorite areas in France: The French Alps (Savoie & Jura) and Corsica. These are the wines I assembled from off the shelves here in NM and direct orders from retail in Calif. I decided to include two Calif counterparts for reference.

  1. Altesse is also known as Roussette, not to be confused with Roussanne that is also grown in the Savoie. There is some suggestions that it resembles Furmint in the vnyd. It has a close genetic relation to the Swiss grape Chasselas.

  1. Bergeron is the name they use for the Roussanne grape in the Savoie. Some people feel that Roussanne makes its best expression in the Savoie, where it tends to have higher acidity & more freshness than the Rhone or Calif. TablasCreek has produced a wine they called Bergeron from their coldest block of Roussanne.

  1. Savignin is a grape grown mostly in the Jura, where it is made mostly into Vin Jaune & Vin de Paille. The SavagninBlanc/Traminer are regarded as a family of clones and not distinct varieties.

  1. Biancu Gentile: Was once a variety held in very high repute in Corsica for its powerful aromatics. It was pretty much abandoned & thought to be extinct. But a small 1-acre abandoned plot was found high in the mountains and cuttings taken & the variety is enjoying a renaissance in Corsica. Clearly a grape they should be planting all up & down the coast of Calif.

  1. Persan: A grape that is grown almost exclusively in the Savoie. Its origins are unknown but most like to have originated in the Haut-Alpes. It was nearing extinction at one time but is now enjoying a minor renaissance in the Savoie. There are also olanting of Persan in the Swiss Valais & the Piemonte. Clearly a grape they should be planting all up & down the Coast of Calif.

  1. Mondeuse: A grape found mostly in the Savoie that shows a lot of Alpine aromatics. One of my favorite grapes because of its perfume & structure. Of these two, I slightly preferred the Quenard but they bot had levely aromatics.
    Lagier-Meredith make a world-class Mondeuse on MtVeeder but distinctly in a Calif style & more of a herbal character.
    The variety was originally available in Calif under the name of Refosco because of a mis-reading of a map of the Jackson Experimental Station. But DNA later indicated what was thought to be Refosco was actually Mondeuse. Not a bad thing. Steve refers to it as the bastard Uncle of Syrah because MondeuseBlanche (don’t think there’s any in Calif) was one of the parents of Syrah.
    Chad Hines at Iruai Wnry at high altitude on the slopes of MtShasta is very passionate about Mondeuse and will be producing Alpine style wines in the near future. A wnry to keep your eye upon.

niche tasting, but very cool. I have not had any in quite some years but used to love Apremont’s lower end blanc during the summer.

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Have a hard time seeing a Corsica tasting without Clos Canarelli?

Maybe some precisions concerning the relationship between Mondeuses and Syrah :
We know 2 things for sure : Mondeuse blanche is one of syrah’s parents (the other one is Durezza)
Mondeuse blanche and mondeuse noire are direct parents, but the way - which of the 2 is the parent - is still (and will probably remain) unknown.
So we have 2 possibilities :
Mondeuse noire and syrah are either half sisters with mondeuse blanche as a mother
Mondeuse noire is a grand parent of syrah and therefore Mondeuse blanche is a daughter of Mondeuse noire.

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Thanks, Eric. I knew there was a bit of uncertainty about the exact genealogy.
That lays it out well.

Great tasting you put together, there!

I hope I’ll get the chance to drink Lagier Meredith’s mondeuse one day.

Try to put your hands on Giacchino’s prieuré St Christophe bottling (previously M. Grisard holding). One of French Alps hidden gems!



Let me know if you are ever back in Atlanta and I’ll pull a bottle or two of it.

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I had their Gamay/Mondeuse blend that I thought was pretty good, but showed no Mondeuse character.
I would love to try their Mondeuse or Persan if I come across it. It is here in NM but the distributor may not carry it.