Where does it come from:
The origin of Altesse has been the subject of some debate. It has been suggested that it's identical to Furmint, the noble Hungarian variety used to make the great sweet wine Tokaij. However others suspect that it is indigenous to the hills of Savoie. Today there are fewer than 1,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in France, though there is a small quantity in Switzerland.
What's it like for the farmer:
Altesse needs gentle care, as it is quite to susceptible to the most common forms of grape rot.
La Ferme St. Pierre, Chardonnay-Viognier, Cote de Ventoux, Rhone Valley, 2013
Distributor: T. Edward Wine, 66 W. Broadway, New York, NY, 10007
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Hhello out there! Beginning today we are trying something new with Wine of the Week. We will be choosing wines each week based on a monthly theme. As we move through 2015, there will be Off-Dry Whites and Chilled Reds, Island Reds and Seaside Whites, Wines for July 4th and Thanksgiving Wines. But we are kicking it off with Mountain Wines. We have lined up a series of bottles that started their lives high up in the hills and the first is a Rhone White from Paul Vendran at La Ferme Saint-Pierre.
Firstly it must be said that Blue Ribbon and Paul Vendran have a long history together. We have served his wines at our restaurants for many years and not only because we think they are delicious. We love his wines because in many ways his work and attitude reflects ours. He doesn't aspire to make wines that garner great scores or wines to be coveted and bought and sold like stocks. Paul is a farmer first and foremost. He understands that his time on this earth is brief and that his first responsibility is to take the vines left to him by the previous generation and do the work necessary to leave them in better shape for whomever comes after him.
La Ferme Saint-Pierre is found in the Vaucluse, in the shadow of Mont Ventoux, the legendary peak seen in the Tour de France each year and nearly all his vines are to be found on its slopes. Though he makes mostly red wines from the Cote de Ventoux appellation, we are presenting you with his sole white wine, a blend of Viognier and Chardonnay. Where he once made a separate bottling of each of these two varieties, he has now begun combining them and it's been very much for the better.
The wine shows only the best of the two grapes. While the signature floral aromatics and white and yellow peach flavors of Viognier are on full display, the wine never feels tiring as the green apple crunch and acidity keep the wine from feeling too heavy and full. Paul has spent the last several years converting his vines to organic and there is a purity and intensity of fruit here that reflects the hard work. So come have a bottle this week and prepare to spend March climbing mountains.
Wine Director, Blue Ribbon Restaurants