ABOUT: For five generations the Tissot family has grown crops and vines at their estate in Vaux-en-Bugey, a French wine region in the hills west of the French Alps. For your geographic mind, Jura is to the north, Savoie is to the east, and Beaujolais is to the west of Bugey (boo-shay). Gamay and Chardonnay claim 3/4 of Bugey’s production, and 2/3 of it is sparkling. Thierry Tissot and his wife Celine took the wheel of the family estate in 2000 and the first order of business was to clear an ancient, hilly vineyard site called Mataret and plant indigenous varieties Altesse and Mondeuse. They have 2 hectares of older vineyard holdings throughout the village where their Gamay, Chardonnay, and Jacquere come from. Organic certification was achieved in 2019 and biodynamic preparations are being implemented throughout. Most of the wines from Bugey stay in Bugey. We’re lucky to have some of these distinctive wines make its way to North America. Tissot wines are made in the hundreds of bottles rather than thousands and deserve thoughtful attention.
TASTE: Thierry Tissot’s Bugey Gamay is made from 100% Gamay sourced from a gravely vineyard planted in 1977. I’ve seen Gamay from Bugey described as “mountain Cru Beajolais” and I think that’s Alpine right. It has precise, ripe strawberry and cherry flavors, but also laden with mint, jasmine, lily, smoke and citrus peel. A long finish with a saline, citric edge. There’s a damp potting soil, mushroom quality not unlike Pinot Noir from Burgundy, and spicy black pepper like Syrah from the Rhone Valley, which isn’t far away. This Gamay benefits from ageing, so go for older vintages or hold ‘em if you can.
PAIR: Sticky Teriyaki tofu, Tartiflette, Japanese garlic fried rice, red curry with vegetables, macaroni and cheese with cornbread topping, and barbecue vegetable skewers.