First, for those that don’t know the genre, it’s probably not a bad idea to define our terms. This term Chignin-Bergeron refers to the appellation here in the Savoie which is, in turn, named for its only permitted grape variety. That grape variety is called Roussanne everywhere else. But it is fair to say that the character of the varietal is quite a bit different here in these pristine foothills in eastern France.
Sparkling streams, blue skies, this almost idyllic area yields wines of uncommon freshness with bright stone fruit and minerality taking the forefront and the typically heavy, soily, almost oxidative nature of Roussanne definitely a major part of the profile here. These crisper, cooler versions have the honeyed tones and the earth elements present but dialed back. Bergeron gives a whole different impression when lifted and paired with a higher toned minerality that is a signature of this region.
Philippe and Sylvain Ravier cultivate 7 hectares of Roussanne (called Bergeron here as we said). The vines are between 10 and 30 years of age and are planted on very steep, due south-facing slopes of the Massif des Bauges at 1100-1500 feet altitude. The soil is rocky, decomposed white limestone which drains well while retaining heat to help ripen the grapes and the cool nights keep everything crisp. The fruit is harvested by hand, carefully sorted and moved into the press by gravity. After a light pressing, the must is protected from oxidization by a blanket of CO2.
The Philippe Ravier Vin de Savoie Chignin Bergeron 2017 has a rather surprising density to the delicate fruit that sits atop firm but giving acidity. Honey and nut elements play against the white stone fruit and flower core with subtle minerality throughout. Fresh and light on its feet, it’s a fine example of the category.