Introducing: Domaine des Ardoisières
Size of domain:
Saint-Pierre-de-Soucy, Savoie 🇫🇷
Alpine climate. Sandy clay with schist and micaschist subsoil. Steep slopes up to 60⁰, southern exposure. 400-500m altitude.
Certified organic, practicing biodynamics.
We were introduced to the wines of Domaine des Ardoisières while working in Brooklyn and upon arrival back in the Netherlands we were baffled that these wines weren't imported yet. These wines breathe the Alpine climate of the Savoie; ripe, mineral and with a soothing, icy freshness to it. We are particularly proud of being able to offer these wines to the Dutch market.
Domaine des Ardoisières has, in less than two decades, made a name for itself as one of the greatest wineries in the Savoie and is instrumental to putting Savoie on the map of French winemaking.
The story of Domaine des Ardoisières starts in 2003, when Brice Omont was hired by the now-retired grower Michel Grisard of Prieuré St Christophe. In 2010 Brice Omont took control of the entire 16ha estate, including the incredible vineyards of Cévins, which have completely been restored by 250 villagers between 2000 and 2002. This vineyard has an enormous potential, with it's southern exposure and it being as steep as the Còte-Rotie.
But let's first take a step back and talk about the great region of Savoie, where these wines are born. The greater wine region of Savoie is a French department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France. it consists of many isolated sub-regions and plots of vineyards scattered across four French departments: Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Isère, Ain. Often vineyards are completely isolated, belonging to a single winemaker. A singular and true expression of terroir.
Savoie neighbors Switzerland (to the East), the Jura region (to the North) and the little-known Bugey region, which is west across the Rhône river. All told, the region is under 5,000 acres (2000 ha) accounting for a mere 0.5% of French wines. If you like white wines, this region is for you, as it makes up 70% of the total production.
The region is currently undergoing a rebirth, benefiting from wine lovers all over the world on the look out for the new and exciting. Now that Jura's newness has faded and trends are driving up the prices, attention has been shifted southwards: Savoie.
Even though the vineyards are often quite high in altitude, this region is still a relatively warm area and the vineyards can be surprisingly warm with their south facing exposition (often 50⁰+ in summer). Exemplary: Apricot, fig, olive and almond trees can share the growing space with vineyards in Savoie.
Brice Omont works his vineyards biodynamically and doesn't have to worry about neighbors spraying pesticides, he doesn't have any neighbors, that's how isolated their vineyards are. The grape varieties are quite dazzling, as Savoie is an area that mixes unique indigenous grapes with others it loans from it's neighbors.
Mondeuse Blanche, Jacquère, Rousette, Mondeuse Noir, Persan. All new words to us until recently, but these are the quintessential Savoie grapes, creating fresh and mineral driven wines of a unique quality.
Work in the cave revolves around minimal intervention, with a mix of fibreglass cuves and older oak used for white élevage, and malos completed, with total sulphur of around 30mg/l at bottling. The reds are made from 100% whole bunches by semi-carbonic maceration.
The wines are sommelier's sweethearts all over the world and offer a clear, unobstructed view of what this exciting region has to offer. Through Domaine des Ardoisières wines you truly taste a sense of place of Savoie.