Dirty French Wines from Savoie

CorkRules | Mar 22, 2023

Dirty French is a bistro-style restaurant in Lower Manhattan and Miami  that serves classic, traditional French dishes and brings them into contemporary New York by utilizing modern techniques and adding bold twists inspired by our current love of global cuisine.

But when it comes to the wine list, French wines dominate and they are curated from every region, including the lesser-known Savoie region. So let’s head over to the mountainous region of the Alps and explore the wines of Savoie.

Where else in the world can you ski in your shorts and sip champagne, and breathe in the pristine alpine air while goat bells ring in the distance? This is Savoie. The eastern border of France and just a short drive through Mont Blanc and you're in Switzerland and Northern Italy, but we’re here for the wine. So let’s pop the cork on what the experts have to say about wines from this region.

Savoie’s 2,000 hectares of vineyards stretch across four areas: Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Isere, and Ain. This mountainous region provides plenty of sloping hillsides while the large lakes help moderate the climate. The cooler temperatures and shorter summer work well for white wine grapes such as  In fact, 70 percent of the wine produced in Savoie is white. Of all 23 grape varieties planted here, five are white and only two are red grape.

The most popular white wines from Savoie are produced from the following varietals.

Jacquere produces an early drinking, lively dry wine with flavors that range from floral and fruity (pear, white peach, grapefruit) to mineral and flinty. This varietal is the most commonly grown and used.

Altesse or Roussette  is a white variety that ages well, achieving a noted complexity after just a few years in the bottle. Roussanne is known in Savoie as Bergeron, an aromatic wine with firm acidity.

Chasselas produces light-bodied, easy-drinking dry wines that are best drunk young. Gringet is a native varietal in this region, but despite its heritage here, it has only 54 acres of varietals, perhaps because it produces low-alcohol, easy drinking white wines, however, this grape has also produced some elegant and refreshing sparkling wines.


Moving on to red wine from Savoie; the main red grape varieties are mondeuse and persan. Mondeuse is a native grape first cultivated by the Gauls, a Roman writer noted the grape as being “the grape variety that ripens amidst the snow” This grape brings a deep purple color to the wine with a well-structured acidity and well-integrated tannins that allow the wine to age well.

Persan is also a native variety but it is difficult to grow and prone to downy mildew. It produces dense tannins and acidity, and while wine from this grape can be harsh when young, it ages well and can kept for over ten years.  

Of course, although these are the grapes that provide wine with interesting notes and are designed to thrive in this environment, today’s winemakers in this region often turn to the more well-known varietals that can also thrive here and are more resilient to changing weather patterns.

To find a few of the best bottles on the wine list at this restaurant, head on over to the CorkRules’ podcast on Dirty French where certified sommelier Michaela Quinlan shares her expertise and offers a few professional suggestions on wines to choose and, most importantly, enjoy.



About the CorkRules Podcast: Each week we pour a glass and share top restaurant wine list picks, providing you with the knowledge to confidently navigate the wine list thanks to sommelier recommendations, suggested food pairings and expert insights

About CorkRules: CorkRules, the first digital wine app experience aimed at making it easier for you to navigate the restaurant wine list, provides you with personalized wine recommendations from your favorite restaurants. Through CorkRules you can find the perfect wine for every occasion based on your preferences, connect with friends and wine experts to discover new wines to try and learn about wine. CorkRules makes it easier to discover and drink what you love.  

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