Maison des Ardoisieres

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What started as a project in 1998 by Savoie icon Michel Grisard (of Prieuré Saint Christophe) to reclaim abandoned vineyard slopes has become one of the most ambitious and quality-driven vineyards in the Alpine Region. The two vineyard sites, located in Cervins and St-Pierre de Saucy villages, were planted on steep rocky slopes, some with over 60% gradient. The grapes are farmed using organic and biodynamic practices and are hand-picked. The varieties that thrive in these extreme conditions are mainly native, with whites Altesse, Jacquere, Mondeuse Blanche, some Chardonnay, and reds Mondeuse, Persan, and Gamay.

In the winery, Champagne-native winemaker Brice Ormont uses native yeast fermentation, gentle whole-cluster pressing, a light touch of sulfur additions (only 1 gram at bottling), and a light filtration to create wines that convey the purity and elegance of the Savoie region. As a result, these wines speak ‘terroir’ arguably better than anywhere else in the world.

The Argile Blanc showcases pinpoint precision with taught, mouthwatering acid. The purity of the fruit shines. From front to finish, the wine displays clean, pure minerality on the palate that almost feels…vibrating—a wine suited to serve as a palate cleanser for dishes of elegance and restraint, like Nigiri.

Argile Rouge appears at first raw, with pine, barnyard funk, and earthy components. On the palate, the wine displayed an elegance and ‘lift,’ with an almost ‘crunchy’ nature of black and blue berries—a potentially great complement to grilled mushroom and truffle dishes. I'm not typically into "natty" wines, with those sorts of aromatic qualities, but this is a gorgeous exception to the rule.

Silice Rouge is a bit “cleaner” stylistically compared to Argile, showing more herbal and medicinal notes and less funk on the nose. While the fruit is not as ‘high-toned,’ this wine is still incredibly acid and mineral-driven. While fruit is in no way absent, it takes a backseat to the savory qualities of this wine.

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