Savoie neighbors Switzerland to the East (with whom it shares its recognizable flag), Jura to the North and the little-known Bugey region to the west, across the Rhône river. Less than 5,000 acres here are planted to grape vines, 70% of which is white. The Savoie enjoys a continental climate with alpine and Mediterranean influences, and vines often planted on mountain slopes between 800 and 1800 feet. Despite their elevation, Savoie vineyards enjoy a surprisingly warm growing season due to the southern sun exposure and moderating effects of nearby rivers and lakes. Apricot, fig, olive and almond trees grow alongside the vines here. There are 4 wine appellations in Savoie: Vin de Savoie for white, rosé, red and sparkling wines, Seyssel for dry white and sparkling wines, the newly established AOP Crémant de Savoie for sparkling wines made in the traditional method, and Roussette de Savoie for white wines made from 100% Altesse.
The Domaine Lupin consists of five hectares of vines exclusively in Frangy, on a hillside called Les Aricoques. Frangy is one of 4 villages making AOP Roussette de Savoie, and vigneron Bruno Lupin produces one of the best. Bruno considers this location the best in the region due to the full southern exposure and the relatively low altitude that protects the vineyards from the cold northern winds. The soils are molasses, a crumbly calcareous loam from old mountain erosion, and most of the vines are about 25 years old with a single parcel of individually staked vines that are over 60 years old. The vineyards are primarily farmed organically and the wines are fermented in stainless steel tank with indigenous yeasts, never de-acidified or chaptalized, although both are common practice in the area.
The local Altesse grape produces nervy, age-worthy wines, which can achieve a compelling complextiy and texture after a few years in the bottle. This youthful 2015 Roussette de Savoie Frangy blew our team away with its vibrant display of quince, pineapple, peach, tangerine, tea and white flowers with impressive backbone. The mineral-driven core and clean, crisp nature makes Domaine Lupin ideal for drinking now to beat the August heat and humidity, or tuck away for 2-3 years to enjoy a weightier wine with developed aromas of honey, almonds, and white truffle. Pair with almost anything, from white corn vichyssoise and dungeness crab to kale salads, fried cheese, potato croquettes and herb stuffed chicken breasts.