Chignin-Bergeron – Wine to know from Savoie, an alpine region

Gonzague is as generous with the wines he shares as he is with his unwavering friendship. Knowing smaller producers and more unusual wines speak to me, this French man showed up at our door with a bottle of Chignin-Bergeron. This name on a label immediately means it’s from the Savoie.

Let me first set the stage.

Chignon-Bergeron is a cru, a sub-region within the larger Savoie region in Eastern France. Chignon is a town there, and Bergeron is the synonym for the Roussanne grape in this mountainous area. Having tasted the lighter style wines made from two other white grapes grown here (Jacquère – high acid fresh, herbal, apple, clean, and Altesse – high acid fresh, nutty, herby), tasting Chignon-Bergeron caused a “Whoa!” to come out of my mouth!

When you think of Roussanne, the Rhone Valley probably comes to mind. Or Australia or California (Tablas Creek!), even Oregon, Washington or maybe Italy (Puglia and Tuscany). Yet Roussanne was once a big deal in Savoie before it landed in those other areas. That is until phylloxera almost wiped it out in the late 1800s. Then a few vignerons resurrected its presence in Savoie, albeit production is lower now.

After owner Charles Trosset passed in 2000, his two sons stepped in to run the business. Now, Louis Trosset, a recently retired professor of plant biology at the University of Savoie, runs the family farm with just over 2 hectares of vineyards. He continues to bottle the wines as Les Fils de Charles Trosset.

In the vineyard, they never used herbicides and are in line with letting things happen naturally without being certified.

In My Glass

The delicate yellow color and creamy, lemony, apricot-like aromas of ‘Symphonie d’Automne’ immediately grabbed me. It’s a more substantial wine with a fuller-body feeling almost like full-fat milk on my palate, yet has a lightness as it carries through to a persistent finish. Just enough acidity and structure. I savored each sip deeply, taking in the aroma flavors of apricot, creamy peach, and citrus blossoms. And at the same time, the rich mouthfeel.

My conclusion? It is a dense, much richer wine than I anticipated coming from this cooler alpine region. And there’s more acidity than expected. In this wine you find a beautifully balanced, sturdy structure that will carry it for several more years. But after tasting, it won’t last long in our house!

About the Estate

This estate is located on the slopes above the village of Arbin. The soils are worked by hand, the vinification carried out by plot, fermentations are with indigenous yeast, and most maturation takes place in vats.

According to Gonzague, who tries to make it there almost every summer, it’s difficult to get in because they are not open to the public. He drives up and hopes someone is there.

Can you find this wine?

That’s a tough question as quantities are now lower than ever, and I don’t think it’s being imported anywhere. But you can find other Chignin-Bergeron. My pick is Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant’s offerings.

À votre sante !

4 thoughts on “Chignin-Bergeron – Wine to know from Savoie, an alpine region

  1. Allison Wallace

    We love finding gems like these and you’ve never steered us wrong. Small production/big heart wineries are simply the best. I doubt we’ll find it here but going to try as well as KL as recommended! Cheers!

    Reply

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