Wine-loving skiers toast Savoie’s new ‘appellation’ for sparkling wine

Posted on 11 July 2014

Winter sports and mountain pursuits are what the French Alpine region of Savoie are best known for, but visitors and homeowners there can now enjoy being in an area officially recognised for its sparkling wine.

Previously, wine-making in Savoie has fallen under the radar of most foreigners, but things are set to change after France’s appellation body announced in July that Savoyard wineries producing sparkling wines by the traditional Champagne method can use the term ‘Crémant’ on labels for wines from the 2014 harvest.

As France’s newest Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), Savoyard Crémant will have to be produced to strict rules, including those govern the ageing process and grapes used. This means the first bottles of Savoyard Crémant will not be available until December 2015 – in time for New Year celebrations.

Only seven other areas in France have an AOC status to produce Crémant, namely after Alsace, Bourgogne, Bordeaux, Loire, Limoux, Jura and Die in the Rhône.

In recent years, the Savoie Mont Banc Tourism Board and local winemakers have made concerted efforts to raise the quality and status of Savoyard wines, red and white. This includes tours of local vineyards – yet another activity to do in this region during the warmer months. Evidently, this initiative is beginning to pay off.

Winemaking in Savoy is distinct to other French regions, given that the region’s grapes are rarely encountered elsewhere and they are grown on mountainsides in some of the most scenic locations in the country.

Well-known resorts in Savoie, popular as places to own a ski home, include Courchevel, Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Gets and Méribel.