Mountain Muscadet!

2013 Domaine Jean-Pierre et Jean-Francois Quénard Chignin

If you like your white wines bone dry, super zesty and mineralic, you’ve got to try this.  The grape is Jacquère, the region is Savoie, the village is Chignin, and the wines produced at this small family domaine are absolutely delicious.  Great with oysters, fresh fish and seafood, or a warm and sunny day and a back porch, you all need to come get some of this wine before I drink it all.

For many years, the white wines of Savoie were simple, chuggable wines to be enjoyed after a day of skiing or hiking in this stunningly beautiful part of France.  In the past twenty years or so, the scene has changed as a number of smaller producers have started making more “serious” wines.  Jean-Francois Quénard, how took over his family’s domaine in 1997, counts himself among this small cadre of quality minded producers.  The Cru or village of Chignin is not only one of the most beautiful viticultural zones in the world, it’s also home to some of Savoie’s oldest Jacquere vineyards.  There are a number of other high quality wine producers in Chignin named Quénard (as you can see below), including Andre and Michel Quénard and Raymond Quénard.   Seems like Quénard is the Smith and Jones of the Alps!

Jean-Francois’ basic Chignin is anything but basic!  Composed entirely of 40+ year old Jacqère from clay and limestone, hillside vineyards, fermentation takes place in stainless steel and a small portion of the juice undergoes malolactic to round things out just a bit.  The wine pours a pale straw color and the aromas remind me of the smell of the Rocky Mountains in the late spring/early summer.  Being that I started by wine career in the Aspen region, I remember that smell very well — cold water running over rocks, spring wild flowers, and just a clean and snappy nuance that can best be verbalized as pure.  The palate is super crisp, dry and nicely textured with a great mix of citrus and mineral notes along with a hint of white pepper and white flowers.

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