French Alpine Wines Are Always in Season
At the foothills of the Alps, in the Savoy region, the locals and skiers from around the world certainly enjoy their French wine, particularly vin de Savoie. So much so that 80 percent of the Savoie production is consumed locally, leaving the rest of the world to divvy up the scant remainder. Although the quality from Savoy can vary, the 2009 Domaine Labbé, Abymes (a cru village within the Vin de Savoie AOC), is a charming example of the uniquely Savoie grape, Jacquère. East of Beaujolais and closer to Milan and Geneva than Paris, this border region has wines that are truly Alpine, not in terms of their altitude so much as their attitude. The Domaine Labbé might best be described in terms of what it is not: not too fruity, not too heavy, not too oaky and not too alcoholic (11 percent). The scale of the wine is smaller than wines from Burgundy or Rhône. This delicate white wine is balanced, with all its subtle aspects in proportion. Très à propos!
There is another impression as well. Just as mountain air seems more pure to us than our more pedestrian valley air, something in the background of the 2009 Abymes whispers—purity.
The pale straw color, the very crisp and tangy notes of citrus, green apples, bitter almonds and fresh herbs certainly whet the palate as any worthy aperitif should.
The same region produces some of the world’s most extraordinary cheeses including Beaufort, Reblochon and tomme de Savoie. If you were inclined to enjoy these Alpine treasures, it would be well worth the effort to seek out a bottle of fresh young Domaine Labbé, Abymes, to capture the quintessential Alpine experience at your own table.
Try Domaine Labbé, Abymes, Vin de Savoie, as an aperitif or with shellfish, shrimp or excellent French cheeses.
Available for US orders only at Fountainhead Wines, in Bedford Hills, New York,
(+1) 914-244-8973; approximate retail price: $14.