February 13, 2023 by Arden Montgomery
Meet the Maker: Guillaume Pin
“Consume with meaning”
On November 24, 1248, in the middle of the night, an avalanche started from the limestone slopes of Mount Granier covering the valley below. It buried small villages entirely and changed the face of Savoie forever. Centuries later, this site of an ancient avalanche gave birth to rich and prosperous vineyards. The glacial debris had turned into mineral rich calcerous and limestone soil, making it the perfect place to plant Jacquère, Savoie’s native white grape variety. Jacquère has very small berries and survives the harsh weather conditions of the Alps because it ripens later and is very resistant to frost. With that being said, every year is different and they are always at the mercy of mother nature. They have no way of fighting the frost if it hits, except to “pray to the Saints de Glace (Ice Saints)” says Pin. They pray to these saints until May 8th, the last night considered to bring nightly frost. They then feast and celebrate the end of winter.
Nestled in the French Alps, Savoie is an agriculture village that has been catering to the mountains chalets since their inception. Guillaume Pin’s family has deep roots in this region. Originally ranchers, Pin’s grandfather and father raised veel until the 1970s when the development of mountain chalets began. Pin’s father began making wine to supply the mid-mountain chalets that were in need. The locals began to call the wine “white gold” as the Alpine tourist brought wealth & prosperity to Savoie. Guillaume has been working with his dad in the vines since 2001 and in 2008 he took over the domaine and created his own brand. However, it is still very much so a team effort as his father still tends to the vines at 74! Guillaume has grown the domaine from 3.5 hectares to 10 and he exclusively grows the Jacquère grape. The vineyards are located between Le Villard in the south of the village, and Croix du Plot in the north. While Le Villard is dominated by limestone soils, the Croix du Plot vineyard is mainly kimmeridgian clay. This diversity of terroir allows him to produce complex and fresh wines typical of the area.
Pin farms as simply as possible. He respects the ecosystem of the region and finds organic farming practices to be too lax. All of his wines are aged on fine lees for a minimum of 6 months and are fermented and aged in stainless steel to maintain freshness. His Savoie’s have similar fruit aromas to Sancerre, but flavors as complex and mineral-driven as Chablis. With less than 1,500 cases in total produced annually, you can ensure absolute purity in his wines. ‘Apremont’ means ‘rough mountain’ and his wines are really a tribute to the raw power of nature that dominates this beautiful corner of France. A glass of Guillaume Pin Savoie is much more than the glass in front of you. It embodies history, tradition and culture. It was made with meaning and meant to be consumed with meaning… And oysters, lots of oysters.
Try Guillaume’s Savoie for yourself here.
How to Drink: Savoie is the perfect aperitif wine. Enjoy a refreshing glass with some Comte or goat cheese, oysters, a light fish dish, or simple Asian dishes with ginger, lemongrass and herbs.