Grape plantings in the Savoie region have been documented as far back as the 11th century, although some claim the Allobroges were making wine during the first century At its peak in 1889, more than 32,100 acres (13,000 hectares) of vines were growing in the region. Then tragedy struck when a vine louse, phylloxera, devastated the area, leaving just over a quarter of vines unscathed [source: Neal].
The climate in the region is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The soil is composed of clay and limestone. Terraced wine fields abound on the lower slopes of the mountains, below 1,640 feet (500 meters) [source: Lorch].
The most important white grapes in the Savoie wine region are Chasselas, Rousette (also known as Altesse) and Jacquere. For red, it's the Mondeuse grape. Other types of grapes grown in the region include Aligote, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chasselas Roux, Chasselas Vert, Chardonnay, Etraire de la Dui, Gamay, Gringet, Jacquere, Joubertin, Marsanne, Molette, Mondeuse Blanche, Persan, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Rousette D'ayze, Serene and Verdesse [source:Schweitzer].
The region produces more white wine than red, but both are important. White and rosé wines from the region are often described as light, dry and refreshing. Reds range from the fruity Pinot to a rich, full Mondeuse. Experts recommend choosing the most recent vintage in Savoie, as vintages are not as important in this region as they are in other wine regions of France [source: Stevenson].
To find out what notable wines to check out in the Savoie wine region, read on.