Domaine des Ardoisières - Schiste 2020
When we first imported the wines of Domaine des Ardoisières and the 2019 vintage arrived, Schiste was by far our favorite wine in the line-up. The only problem? It sells out fast.
Made from the Savoyard Jaquère (40%) / Roussanne (30%) / Malvoisie (20%) / Mondeuse Blanche (10%) this is a succulent, incredibly pure mountain wine from the highest standard we've tasted. It has been barrel aged for a year, using relatively young (but no new) oak to richen the palate and give these light wines some extra structure and creaminess. For us, this is as good as it gets. For reference this is like an Alpine, Jura-esque version of Huet's Chenin Blancs = perfection.
The rare grape varieties also perfectly explain the reason for Domaine des Ardoisières' existence. The domaine was started in the early 2000's when hundreds of local villagers had restored the iconic Cévins vineyard; a crazy steep slope that had been out of viticultural production for a long time. Restoring meant rebuilding the walls and the little slate-roofed vineyard houses (Ardoisières is the local name for that slate type). When it was restored the vineyard was planted with local, some nearly extinct grape varieties (Mondeuse Blanche, Malvoisie, Persan). This because that place, the village of Fréterive, also houses the second biggest vine nursery of France and they had been keeping these rare grape varieties as a side project. Brice Omont was eventually appointed as the winemaker, choose to work biodynamic, with natural fermentations and the rest is history.