Apremont et Jongieux

 

Now that I am no longer pathogenic having been on antibiotics for over 24 hours, I am back at the store ready to talk wine. It occurred to me that as wine retailers, we try our best to offer not only a wide selection of wines, but of wine styles. By that I mean, just because we tend to be French-focused, doesn’t mean we do not have full-throttle, heavily fruited reds like T-Vine Zinfandels. On the other hand, I think there are some types of styles of wine that people expect (and should expect) us to carry. For whites, the style one would hope to find at TWH are fresh, minerally, bright wines with plenty of attack made of obscure varietals from lesser-known regions. Two wines come to mind that meet these criteria beautifully: 2008 Apremont from Le Cellier du Palais and 2008 Jongieux from Eugene Carrel. Both are from the Savoie and both are made from 100% Jacquere. Each is crisp and crunchy, but each has its own personality. Before delving into any tasting notes, a quick little Savoie primer is in order.

 

The Savoie region of France lies in the foothills of the Alps, mostly between Lake Geneva and Chambery. The appellation of Vin de Savoie has over a dozen crus, or villages, that can be put on the label including Apremont and Jongiuex. Interestingly, something like 99% of the wine production there never leaves the area. Apremont is in the eastern part of the valley right by Mount Granier. In 1248 part of Mount Granier collapsed and it is upon these glacial deposits and limestone rubble that the vines are planted. North of Apremont is Jongieux surrounding the village of the same name, located north of Chambery near the western bank of Lake Bourget. Jongiuex’ proximity to the lake helps to temper the climate and the nearby mountains protect the vineyards from the cold winds that come from the north and the Alps in the east, creating a unique microclimate.

 

Le Cellier du Palais has been in the Bernard family since 1700. More recently, it is Beatrice Bernard who is in charge of the estate. The approach here is simple with little human interference. No oak, no malolactic fermentation, no masking of fruit. The 2008 Apremont is vibrant with thirst-quenching acidity. The wine is light and displays a delicate floral note.Eugene Carrel manages his 14th century estate with his son and son-in-law. They grow a little over 3 hectares of Jacquere. Again, here as above, the Jacquere is vinified in stainless steel and not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. The 2008 Jongieux is minerally driven with an herby nuance and green fruit flavors.When I describe these two wines at the store, I explain that they are variations on a theme. What they share is this refreshing quality that is akin to drinking water out of a fresh spring or like sucking on an icicle. The flavors are subtle, but there is there there. And did I mention they come in at 11.5% alcohol? Oh, great…may I have another glass, please?!

 

This past week, or more accurately these past two weeks, have been a doozy: child sick, Mommy sick. I had to switch from my fashionable handbag to a roomy backpack to accommodate all the receipts and invoices I accumulated from the doctor’s office, lab, and pharmacy. Would you believe my daughter and I are on the same antibiotic (though for different ailments)? Happy Mother’s Day to me!!! – Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, French Wine

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