According to “Wine Food,” by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker, raclette is the new cheese party replacing the 80s fondue (I like them both). If you are not familiar with raclette, it is a type of cheese from Switzerland that is melted on a special grill or heck even a frying pan will work. Raclette becomes a party with friends, the extra side dishes, and of course, wine. My wine choice with raclette is always a crisp, dry, white wine like a Savoie. Savoie is a wine region in the eastern French Alps bordering Switzerland and Italy. Raclette and Savoie white wines are a traditional regional pairing.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group of bloggers is savoring the wines of Savoie with food pairings. Join our Twitter chat on Saturday, February 8th, at 11:00 AM ET (follow using hashtag #WinePW). Make sure to check out more great reading from the Wine Pairing Weekend group on Savoie wines and food pairings at the bottom of this post.
Fast Facts about Savoie and Its Wines
The Savoie (Sah-vwah) wine region is located in the eastern French Alps bordering Switzerland and Italy.
There are approximately 5,200 acres of total vineyards in Savoie.
There are 23 grape varieties allowed in Savoie. The dominant white varieties are; Jacquère, Altesse, and Chasselas. The main red varieties are; Mondeuse and Persan.
70% of wines produced are white, 20% red, 6% rosé, and 4% sparkling
3 AOP wine areas: AOP Vin de Savoie (88% of vineyard area), AOP Roussette de Savoie (9% of vineyard area), AOP Seyssel (3% of vineyard area)
4 Appellations d’ Origines Protégées (AOP) in Savoie:
Vin de Savoie (AOP since 1973): The largest of the AOPs. There are 17 crus whose names can appear on the label. White wines: Abymes, Apremont, Ayze, Chignin, Crépy, Cruet, Jongieux, Marignan, Marin, Montmélian, Ripaille, and Saint-Jeoire-Prieuré. Red & rosé wines: Arbin, Saint-Jean-de-la-Porte, Chautagne, Chignin, Jongieux
Roussette de Savoie (AOP since 1973): The second-largest AOP. All wines must be made from the Altesse grape variety. There are 4 crus; Frangy, Monterminod, Marestel, and Monthoux; these are specific vineyard sites, not villages.
Seyssel (AOP since 1942): There are dry and sparkling wines made from mostly Altesse and Molette grape varieties. The AOP is limited to 2 towns; Seyssel and Corbonod.
Crémant de Savoie (AOP since 2014): Sparkling wines made in the traditional method, must be harvested by hand, and aged for a minimum of 12 months before release. The blend must be at least 60% autochthonous varieties, including 40% Jacquére.
My Tasting Notes
Disclosure: I received the wines as media samples. All opinions are my own.
2108 Domaine Eugène Carrel et Fils, Jongieux Blanc, AOP Savoie, France
11.5% abv | $15.00 wine.com (sample) | 100% Jacquère
Domaine Eugène Carrel et Fils is a 6th generation family-run vineyard located in the village of Jongieux le Haut. The estate holds 59 acres of vineyards planted on the slopes of Mont du Cat and Charvaz, averaging an altitude of 300 metres. The Jongieux Blanc vineyards are composed of clay and limestone. The grapes were 90% hand-harvested. Fermentation is in stainless steel vats and aging on the lees until being bottled.
Pale straw in color with a slight green hue. Medium(-) bodied and medium acidity. On the palate light, crisp, and refreshing with notes of citrus, pear, chamomile, and minerals.
Lambert de Seyssel, Petit Royal, Savoie, France
12% abv | $20.00 wine.com (sample) | 70% Molette and 30% Altesse
In 2007, Gérard and Catherine Lambert, together with Olivier Varichon, great-grandson of the founder of Royal Seyssel, purchased the Royal Seyssel label back from a Burgundian négociant. The Seyssel wines are made using the traditional methods used to make Champagne and are aged for at least 3 years before disgorgement. The vineyard soils of Petit Royal are clay and limestone. The must undergoes a cold settling, and fermentation is in controlled stainless steel tanks. The base wine is aged for 10 months on its lees. A dosage of 7-8g/l is added after disgorgement. The wine is from a single vintage but is not labeled with a vintage.
Medium straw/gold in color. Medium-bodied and acidity. On the nose aromas of bergamot; citrus, floral, and spice. On the palate lime, herbs, flowers, minerals, and a hint of sweetness. Finishing with a lingering richness and complexity.
My Food Pairing
Raclette dinner parties were the cheese party when I lived in Germany in the 90s. It was easy to assemble the components and settle in for a relaxing night with friends enjoying good food, wine, and conversation. While Europeans, especially those in France, Switzerland, Italy and nearby countries, have long enjoyed raclette, Americans are still discovering this traditional alpine meal.
Raclette with traditional sides of raclette cheese, boiled small potatoes, charcuterie like ham, cured beef and pork, pickled components like cornichons, cocktail onions, and a few new for me add ons like pickled juniper pears, and apricot mostarda, finds the perfect regional pairing with a crisp, fresh, mineral-driven white wine from Savoie. The rich cheese, pickled items, and salty meats pair perfectly with the acidic wines, giving freshness after each bite.
A perfect pickled side dish for raclette.
- 2 medium Bosc pears, just underripe
- 1-1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons juniper berries
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Halve and core the pears. Cut each half into 4 lengthwise spear pieces. Pack the pear spears into a canning jar with a wide-mouth. (you may need two jars)
In a medium sauce pan combine the vinegar, water, honey, salt, and juniper berries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the honey and salt. Boil for 2 minutes. Pour the hot brine into the jar with the pear spears, covering the pears completely. Add the rosemary sprigs. Cover the jars and cool at room temperature for about 4 hours. Pears may be used immediately or refrigerated for up to a month.
A nice pairing with raclette and a Savoie white wine.
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
In a medium sauce pan combine the apricots, raisins, shallot, wine, water, vinegar, mustard seeds, dry mustard, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the fruit is softened, about 20 minutes.
Uncover and add half the tarragon. Allow to cool. Once the mostarda is cool, stir in the remaining tarragon. Serve or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
More great reading on Savoie wines and food pairings from my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers ~
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! has us Warm Up by the Fireplace with Raclette and Vins de Savoie.
- Rupal the Syrah Queen pairs Savoie Wines and Tartiflette –Mountain Wines with Mountain Fare.
- Nicole at Somm’s Table is Cooking to the Wine: Altesse Roussette de Bugey Montagnieu with Crab and Veggie Gratin.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences offers A Quintessential Pairing:Wines from Savoie and Savory Herbed Cheese Fondue.
- Liz from What’s In that Bottle shouts about Alpine Wine Alert: Wines from France’s Savoie Region are Awesome.
- Pinny from Chinese Food & Wine Pairings shares André et Michel Quenard Gamay from Savoie and Roasted Chicken Drizzled with Ginger Scallion Infused Oil.
- Gwen at Wine Predator is making Chicken and Savoie for Sweethearts, Fondue for Friends.
- Susannah at Avvinare shares Brie and Bacon Quiche With Vin de Savoie Wine.
- Jane from Always Ravenous has Raclette Paired with Savoie Wines.
- Wendy from A Day In the Life on the Farm goes on A Gastronomic Visit to Savoie.
- Terri at Our Good Life pairs Vin de Savoie and Seafood Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce.
- David from Cooking Chat makes Potato Bacon Skillet Casserole –Tartiflette Inspired Recipe for Savoie Wine.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures With Cam presents A Taste of #vindesavoie: Älpermakkaronen + 2018 JP & JF Quenard Vin de Savoie Chignin.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass gets into Savoie wine – a non-skier’s reason to visit the French Alps.
- Jen at Vino Travels pairs Garlic Buttered Shrimp over Polenta with the Wines of Savoie.
- And host Jill at L’Occasion presents An Interview With Author Wink Lorch + A Savoie Wine Pairing.