Cave Prieure Jacquere 21
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If you're a fan of crisp, fresh whites, I bet wines from the Savoie will be your new favorites!
Tucked away in eastern France, nestled on the Swiss and Italian borders, the Savoie (pronounced sav-wah) is best known as one of Europe's favorite winter sports playgrounds. The wines produced in this Alpine region were primarily consumed by the locals and the tourists visiting the local ski resorts. The vignerons in the area would often joke that any wine that made it past Lyon was considered an export, as they rarely made it out of the region. The Savoie is also recognized for providing much of France with its vineyard rootstock. Only a few years ago, the Savoie exported more vines than wine, with nurseries producing twenty to thirty million plants annually.
Over the last twenty years, wine-importing pioneers like Kermit Lynch and Charles Neal successfully introduced wines from the Savoie to aficionados of crisp, clean whites and light and spicy reds. These wines were primarily available in small quantities and usually only found in major metropolitan areas.
I'm happy to report that Kate Stamps, owner of Asheville's Rise over Run Imports and former AWM Staff Member, now tops that list of wine-importing pioneers. Over the last six years, Kate has provided Asheville with a superb collection of new wines imported directly from the Savoie. Her selections are gorgeous examples of small-production hand-crafted wines, and I believe they are the finest examples from the Savoie I've encountered during my career.
LA CAVE du PRIEURÉ
The Barlet Family has cultivated the limestone scree-filled slopes of Jongieux for five generations. Brothers Pascal, Noël, and Julien now manage the estate under their father's oversight, vigneron emeritus Raymond. Over time, the family has acquired 27 hectares across the crus of Jongieux and Marestel.
The two villages are located in an isolated, hanging valley north of Chambéry, separated from Lac du Bourget (the largest natural lake in France) by Mont Charvaz, an extension of the famous "Dent du Chat." Vineyard elevations here reach nearly 400 meters and are brought to ripeness thanks to the steep, southern exposure of the vineyards and the protection from the cold Alpine air provided by Mont Charvaz.
The estate just received the new certification in France designated for all-around clean environmental practices that encourage biodiversity. Despite the estate's relatively large holdings, all vineyard work is done by hand. You'll find the same care and attention to detail in the winery, with fermentations done in large, neutral vessels using ambient, natural yeasts.
Noël, Pascal andJulien Barlet
We recently tasted the new vintage of Jacquère from La Cave du Prieuré, and once again, it was love at first sip! I also love that this Jacquère is one of the best examples of a Local-Global wine you'll find in Asheville. It hits all the check-boxes -- small, independent, family-owned vineyard, local independent importer-distributor, and locally owned independent wine retailer. Your purchase supports three independent businesses!
When it comes to whites, Jacquère may not be the first wine to come to mind; however, that's getting ready to change as the wine world continues to discover the charm of this crisp, fresh, Alpine elixir. It's the quintessential white wine of the Savoie, bursting with the notes of Alpine herbs and flowers gliding around a mineral-driven backbone balanced on the palate by a more than generous dollop of fruit. The crisp finish is redolent of white peach and yellow apple, along with subtle notes of citrus and white flowers.