Franck Peillot - Bugey Montagnieu 'Altesse' 2016
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Vintage variation is probably one of the most important aspects of wine that we look at. We love to see how different winemakers tackle the changing elements of nature, because one cooler year can yield leanly mineral wines, while the next slightly hotter year can bring vibrant, explosive flavours to the same grape.
Franck Peillot makes this happen all the time with his organically-minded viticulture and low-interventionalist methods in the cellar. His 2014's were precise and calm, his 2015's were equally balanced on the palate, but full of so much warmth. His 2016's are a mix in between, with more sunshine than 2014, but more finesse than 2015.
In an email, Franck desribed his Altesse this year as marked by sunshine, with lots of fresh quince notes. For those who loved 2014 – fear not – this has that same tension between acidity and minerality; but at the same time, the floral and herbal notes take a slight backseat to the delicious richness of the fruit. Minimal SO2 added at bottling, and fermented with indigenous yeasts.
Annual Production: N/A
Blend: 100% Altesse
Terroir: Limestone clay
Winemaking: Fermented in stainless steel
Drinking Window: 2016-2020
The mountainous region of Bugey lies in between the Rhône valley, Savoie, and Jura, but yet remains totally unique. Franck Peillot is an old master here, a dedicated and extremely passionate winemaker who champions the indigenous grapes of the region: Altesse and Mondeuse.
He’s a white and sparkling wine expert, with 50% of his production being his sparkling Montagnieu Brut. His Altesse is age-worthy and beautifully alpine, and all his vineyards lie on steep slopes along the mountains.
While Peillot doesn’t call himself a natural winemaker, he uses just the minimum amount of SO2 at the very end of bottling, and his vineyards have always been chemical-free.