Domaine François Carrel is located in the village of Jongieux, which is the largest of the 17 appellations of the Savoie region, in the beginnings of the French Alps. It is situated about 40 miles southwest of Geneva, in between the Rhône River (near its start) and Lac du Bourget, France’s largest lake.
The estate dates back to the late 19th century and was expanded to its present size in the 1970s and 80s. Eric Carrel and his father François, now retired, cultivate 13.5 hectares of vines in the Jongieux and Marestel appellations, all planted with the traditional varieties of the region – Jacquère (2ha, bottled as Vin de Savoie Jongieux Banc), Altesse (in the Lucey part, which is the extension of Marestel hill but with a lesser slope), Pinot Noir, Gamay and the unique red Mondeuse – planted on the steepest part of Marestel, one of the regions’ top Cru, located in Jongieux. 100% of the production is estate-bottled.
The Jongieux vineyards are very steep, southwest- facing slopes created by ancient glaciers. The altitude is between 400 and 500 meters, yet the microclimate is very warm. The ideal limestone dominant slopes of the Jongieux appellation allow the grapes to ripen more fully than in any other Savoie region, due to 2-3 hours more sun daily. As a result, the wines are not only fuller, but also more balanced and fresher, because there is far less need for chaptalization.
Farming practices: sustainable. Certified Haute Valeur Environnementale. All of the vineyards have grass planted between the rows to reduce yields and create a healthy natural ambiance, and only organic fertilizer is used. Eric Carrel has acquired a machine with a flexible blade, called the Tondeuse Intercep, to cut the grass under the vines on the flatter parcels.For the steeper slopes, he is planting a low “crawling” grass that does not need cutting but which does not compete with the vines.