Savoy (also known as Savoie) is located in the eastern part of France, close to the national border with Switzerland and just south of Lake Geneva. The region boasts an alpine landscape, and that means vineyards are often scattered between lakes and hills and found high up on slope sides. The cooler alpine temperatures mean that the most prolific wines in Savoy are fresh, crisp white wines.
The most popular grape varietals in Savoy are relatively rare elsewhere in France. In fact, Savoy wines are rarely exported to international markets, and the legend of Savoy wines is largely spread by tourists vacationing in France and Switzerland. The leading white grape varietals include Jacquere, Roussanne (Bergeron), Altesse (Roussette) and Gringet. The most popular red grape varietal is easily Mondeuse, which can result in dark red wines with peppery or bitter notes.
Given its proximity to Switzerland, it’s perhaps no surprise that the winemaking tradition in Savoy is a combination of French and Swiss. In fact, even the flag for Savoy resembles the national flag of Switzerland.
The two main appellations in Savoy are Bugey and Vin de Savoie. Both appellations are very fragmented, however, as one might expect from the mountainous terrain in the region.
In terms of overall wine production, the split is 75% white and 25% red. In general, the alpine climate means that red grape varietals have a harder time ripening and can not be grown as easily. In some parts of Savoy, Chardonnay is growing in popularity as a grape capable of producing high-quality still and sparkling wines.
Here is a brief audio guide on Savoy wine region. Check it out.