This idyllic Savoie region hugs the western Alps, where Michel Quenard and his family farm twenty-two hectares of vineyards along the steep, rocky slopes of the Coteau de Torméry around Chignin. The limestone scree that makes up this vineyard land, resulting from millions of years of erosion of the majestic peaks of the Massif des Bauges, lends great character to the wines produced here.
Michel’s grandfather started the domaine in the 1930s. Though he slowly increased the vineyard holdings, he also sold off most of his wine in bulk. It was not until 1960 that Michel’s father, André, began bottling under their own label. Armed with a degree in viticulture and enology from Beaune, Michel joined the domaine in 1976, expanding vineyard holdings and making improvements to the cellar. Today, he is joined by his son Guillaume. While they are far from the only Quenards in Chignin, they are certainly the most well-known—perhaps this is due to the severity of their terrain and the quality of wines it produces. Andrew Jefford writes in his contemporary classic, The New France, “Michel Quenard and his father André are masters of the Bergeron grape, known in the Rhône Valley and elsewhere as Roussanne. They argue it should be limited to the best and steepest local sites where it can ripen fully, like the Coteau de Torméry, giving wines of real texture and perfume as it does so” (p 122). We think it is one of the most unique and beautiful renditions of Roussanne in the world, as the stoniness of the vineyards expresses an alpine freshness and lively minerality in their wines
Tightly spaced 100% Bergeron (Roussanne) ranging in age from 20 to 80 years, planted on 5 hectares of steep limestone scree. The severe terrain makes farming with mechanization difficult. Long and slow indigenous yeast fermentation in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation is not induced, but typically prevented. The wine rests on its lees for eight to ten months, and is usually bottled in September.