France | The Jura and Savoie

White wines dominate production from the picturesque vineyards set amid the ski slopes of the French Alps. The Jura is dominated by the town of Arbois and can boast the rare, sweet vins de paille and long-lived vins jaunes as its speciality. Vin Jaune undergoes a process similar to sherry, whereby a film of yeast (une voile) covers the surface, thereby preventing oxidation but allowing evaporation and the subsequent concentration of the wine. The result is a sherrylike wine with delicate, nutty richness. Burgundian interlopers also thrive in the Jura with some very fine examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to be found.

The Savoie stretches from the French shore of Lake Geneva to the Isère, comprising the departments of Savoie and Haut - Savoie. Much of the terrain is too mountainous to cultivate vines and the Savoie vineyards tend to be widely dispersed. Mondeuse, an indigenous quality variety produces full-bodied reds with a peppery flavour and slight bitterness. Of the whites 'Altesse' (also called Rousette de Savoie) is most notable and similar to Furmint from Hungary. It is exoctically perfumed with good crisp acidity and has a certain ageing potential. Frangy is one of the best communes for Rousette de Savoie.

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