Maison des Ardoisières, IGP Vin des Allobroges “Silice” Blanc
Maison des Ardoisières, IGP Vin des Allobroges “Silice” Blanc

Maison des Ardoisières, IGP Vin des Allobroges “Silice” Blanc

Savoie, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$40.00

Maison des Ardoisières, IGP Vin des Allobroges “Silice” Blanc

Today’s discovery is no stranger to the SommSelect faithfull: We’ve been singing the praises of Domaine des Ardoisières for years. With vines growing on steep slopes near the base of the famous Mont Blanc, Brice Omont and his team have been laboring for several decades now to resuscitate this ancient Alpine winemaking region in France’s Savoie department. Working in a fully natural way, they have managed to perfect the art of capturing the special terroir and the brisk, fresh mountain air in every bottle of wine they produce. Untouched, unspoiled land, and zero additions or subtractions in the cellar combine with naturally low alcohol to gift us a wine that is perfect for all the New Year’s resolutions of early January. Whether you’re getting ready to hit the slopes, staying cozy at home, or dreaming of spectacular summer hikes, the “Silice” Blanc is the optimal way to get a slice of Alpine serenity everytime you pull a cork. 

Looking at this bottle’s label can bring a bit of confusion to even well healed wine lovers; there’s a lot to digest here. At the top, “Maison des Ardoisières” is the producer (maison is the négoce side of their business, i.e. purchased fruit instead of estate-grown) and this particular wine is named “Silice.” But it gets tricky from there. The “IGP Vin des Allobroges” designation indicates that the grapes come from the Allobroges region of the Savoie Department—about 120 km west of the city of Lyon, along the border with northwestern Italy and southwestern Switzerland. Though the IGP law allows more flexibility than the Vin de Savoie AOC regulations for vineyard practices, winemaking techniques, and permissible grape varieties, Silice is 100% Jacquère from three separate vineyards all within the village of Apremont. The last note that begins with “récolté, vinifié...” lets us know that everything from the harvesting of the grapes through bottling the wine was done at the estate of Brice Omont.

Formed by a group of partners in the late 1990s, Domaine des Ardoisières revitalized their vineyard land at the direction of organic and biodynamic vigneron Michel Grisard. Champagne-native Brice Omont joined the team as lead winemaker in 2005 and, since then, their wines have garnered critical acclaim not only within France but worldwide. With demand increasing but supply remaining the same, some of Omont’s wines fetch prices nearing triple digits, which makes “Silice” seem criminally underpriced for the immense drinking pleasure it provides.

After hand-harvesting, the grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts in both stainless steel tanks (two-thirds) and old French oak barriques (one-third). It then spends about eight months aging before being lightly filtered and bottled without fining. No sulfur is added at any point during vinification or bottling. 

In the glass, it shows a vibrant lemon hue with flecks of silver at the rim. With a short 15-minute decant, beautiful aromas of green apple, honeydew, lemon zest, and fresh apricot unfurl from the glass alongside a touch of flinty smoke. On the palate, the wine has that seemingly impossible balance of taut minerality and textured roundness, akin to top-notch Chablis. Being Jacquère though, it offers more floral notes with flavors of Mirabelle plum and winter melon. It will gain more texture and complexity with 2-3 years of age, but I don’t know how you could possibly resist pouring several bottles of it right now. Enjoy around 45-50 degrees in all-purpose stems to emphasize its aromatics. There are plentiful pairing options ranging from a classic Savoie-inspired cheese fondue to vibrant salads, but for a warming, and traditional Alpine experience try the recipe below for cheese and potato soup. Happy January!

Maison des Ardoisières, IGP Vin des Allobroges “Silice” Blanc

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