In a region better known for its skiing than its viticulture industry, the eastern French Alpine region of Savoie boasts a number of producers like Domaine Jean Vullien who are turning heads with their pristine, terroir-centric wines. Established by Jean and Jeannine Vullien in 1973 in the commune of Fréterive in the heart of the deep, sharp valley that is the ‘Combe de Savoie’, the estate is now run by their sons, David and Oliver. Today, the property comprises 69 acres of hillside vineyards planted to the region’s indigenous varietals including Jacquère, Altesse and Mondeuse in addition to Roussanne, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Sourced from the base of the towering Massif des Bauges slopes, the vines not only benefit from the climate tempering affect that the tall chalk cliffs provide, but also are very well adapted to the unique soil composition here including dark Jurassic limestone soils and black marl with a pebbly topsoil layer of scree. Although the Vullien’s have been making wine on their property for over 40 years, the family (extending back to Jean’s grandparents) is best known for being pioneers in the vine nursery business, supplying young vines to growers throughout France. Notably, after the Phylloxera epidemic in the 19th and early 20th centuries, about 25% of the Chardonnay used to replant Chablis came from their nursery.
It’s as if this wine flowed across wet stones before it landed in the bottle. Pristine, bright, lively and truly indicative of its breathtaking Alpine home, this 100% Jacquère offers inviting aromatics of Asian pear, Marcona almond, fresh chestnuts and limestone. There is unwavering focus on the light-bodied palate which greets you with an almost piercing acidity enhanced by fresh notes of lemongrass, Granny Smith apple and zested lemon. Bone-dry, strikingly crisp and offering a rush of minerality on the finish, this wine is so versatile that it would make just as much sense enjoyed alongside a plate of fresh oysters as it would cozied up in a mountain cabin with some traditional cheese fondue!