Monday, September 29, 2008


We were off on a little wine tour, this time to Clairette de Die, when we broke our journey in Seyssel, yet another vineyard area on the Rhône.

Seyssel is just outside the Savoie and is known in the UK for its bottle-fermented sparkling wines, especially Varichon et Clerc Royal Seyssel (more about this later).

Just above Seyssel we climbed up through the vineyards to the village of Corbonod where we visited Maison Mollex, a wine producer and négociant. Their own production is sparkling, and still white wine made with 100% Roussette (the Altesse of Savoie).

Hence their 'smart' delivery lorry to supply local clients!

We visited the cave and saw their stocks of maturing sparkling wine. Very occasionally a bottle will explode but they are stacked in such a way that no damage is done to the neighbouring bottles.

The bottles are disgorged, to remove the sediment, à la volée – always interesting to see.

We tasted a couple of their Roussettes, preferring La Péclette 2006, from the eponymous 5ha vineyard. "Lovely ripe peachy fruit on the nose this just off-dry wine has good balancing acidity with a meaty finish."

As it was now midday we drove down to Seyssel where we had lunch at the Hotel Beausejour, the yellow building to the right, by the river.

Whilst Wink wisely ordered a seafood salad I indulged in the local speciality, La Friture, not dissimilar to whitebait. Accompanying it was a bowl of quinoa and tomato, so at least there was some healthy eating...

... though I had to have an ice cream!

To complete our visit to Seyssel we continued to the outskirts of the town to the Cave de Vins Lambert, an interesting wine shop that Wink was researching for Wine Travel Guides.

There we met Gérard Lambert who told us that he had bought the rights to produce Royal Seyssel, a sparkling wine made in Seyssel since the start of the 20th century by Varichon et Clerc. This company had been taken over by Boisset, a Burgundy négociant, who'd let its reputation slip.

So Gérard had negotiated (hah!) to buy Royal Seyssel in order to restore it to its former glory. He has built a new aging facility behind his wine shop and he proudly showed us the wine maturing. Good luck to Gérard in his brave endeavour!

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