When one thinks of the Alps, it's not common that wine is the first thing that comes to mind. But for those in the know, Alpine wines from the mountainous regions of France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland provide interesting examples of their unique climate. Without high temperatures to exaggerate ripeness, and as a result, alcohol, Alpine wines are easy drinking, subtle, and focused. With high altitude vines come shorter growing seasons and more moderate levels of sugar at harvest. The hallmark of these wines? Bright acidity, stony minerality, and a subtlety that's hard to pinpoint.
Some of team Alps & Meters' favorite wines for summer drinking come from regions like Savoie, Alsace, Trentino-Alto Adige, Jura, and Valle D'aosta just minutes from Mont Blanc. Here are a few of the high altitude wines we'll be quaffing this summer.
Domaine Bechtold: Cremant D'Alsace
A Methode Traditionelle sparkling wine made of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Auxerrois. Jean-Marie Bechtold is a fourth-generation winemaker in the Alsace region of France, nestled on the border of Germany. He practices organic viticulture in the vineyards, and minimizes intervention in the cellar to allow the wines to express their true character. This dry sparkling has notes of pear, white flowers, and alpine breeze.
Ermes Pavese: Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle
From the highest vineyard site in Europe, Ermes Pavese is making vivid, high acid wines from the native grape Prié Blanc in Vallee D'Aoste, just minutes from Mont Blanc. Their Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle is an uncomplicated treat, bringing salinity, minerality, a hint of herbs and stone fruit to the table.
Domaine de la Pinte: Chardonnay "Fonteinelle"
A Chardonnay for non-Chardonnay drinkers. This example from Domaine de la Pinte in the Jura (a sub-alpine range in the Western Alps, between Burgundy and Switzerland) is a yellow gold color with a rich mouthfeel. It's off the bat acidity might throw you for a loop, but notes of hazelnuts, pear, and brioche contribute to this marvel.
Domaine Du Pelican: Trois Cepages
Another Jura gem, the Trois Cepages is a blend of Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and Poulsard. With earth, and game on the nose giving way to red fruit, this elegant wine is perfect for chilly summer nights. What sets this estate apart? It's the Jura domaine of Marquis D'Angerville, the famed Burgundy producer.