Last year @benton8tor suggested I should take the French Wine Scholar course through the Wine Guild of America. I like/love French wine and he thought it would be fun for me. So I signed up. Well it wasn’t exactly what I thought (tons of tastings and a bit of education) It is actually a ton of education to make sure you understand French viticulture, terroir, regions, permitted grapes, laws, and history. A not so humblebrag here. I passed! But the best thing is not just my understanding of French wine improving but it introduced me to wines, I didn’t even know existed, especially Savoie region. Which is why I decided to visit Chambery this last trip.
Chambery though the capital of Savoie isn’t a beautiful or quaint as Annecy or as ski friendly and visually stunning as Chamonix but it is a beauty in its own right and home to some of the best wine, cheese, and sausage I have eaten. Chambery, once home to the Duchy of Savoie, is a high altitude wine producing region. White are lean with high acid and reds tend to emulate their white counterparts. These wines are perfect for hot days and even more perfect for pairing with cheese. Cheese is everywhere in Savoie. the Haute Alps are famous for their cheese and Savoie is famous for its cheese dishes such as fondue (with local cheese), tartiflette, racelette and more. In other words you need a lean somewhat racy wine to pair. It compliments the cheese and definitely cuts through the richness. But where to get such delicacies and why?
Well the first night we ventured over to Restaurant le Savoyard. Every guidebook, website, and hotel staff recommends Le Savoyard. Bizarrely this had me skeptical. Could a restaurant really be that good? The answer is yes.Le Savoyard takes the traditional Savoie food and elevates it to the next level. We happened to be with my parents and my mom was not a fan of the menu. “A tomato cheesecake” she sneered “who would eat that?” Well it turns out both my dad and I and it was delicious. So much so she was sorry she hadn’t ordered it. It was followed by a traditional Savoie sausage. @benton8tor speculated about what was in it but I have found when it comes to sausage, its best for me not to ask what is in it and just enjoy it. Le Savoyard has a good wine selection with Savoie beer as well. One made with the local herb genapie, http://www.restaurant-le-savoyard.com/
Au Bureau is a a warm friendly pub with a great beer selection and good wine selection. It is the prefect place to stop for a snack and great place to settle in. The owners know their beer and when @benton8tor ordered a beer they thought didn’t fit his progression, they had him try it before ordering.
They were right and he quickly switched back to their recommendation. Me I just enjoyed the wine.https://www.aubureau-chambery.fr/foodbeer/ Just down the street Bistrot O400 offers excellent Savoie dishes including the Savoie salad. Their wine list fetaures local wines including the beloved by me, Monduese grape and altesse. Bistrot O400 is definitely the place to stay local as those dishes are their stars including the tartiflette. https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g8309764-d968592-Reviews-Brasserie_le_Z-Chambery_Savoie_Auvergne_Rhone_Alpes.html
Restaurant La Banche was a happy accident for us for lunch. It specializes in Savoie wines again with the Mondesue d’Arpin being my favourite and a good beer selection too. The Monduese isn’t the only red grape is Savoie but it my favourite as the most depth even with its high acid level.It was a great place to pass an lazy afternoon right on the square, great service, good wine and all the snacks you need. The burgers are definitely worth it. http://www.la-banche.fr/cuisine/http://www.la-banche.fr/cuisine/
Strolling around Chambery’s local market is perfect to enjoy in season strawberries and cherries but also a great way to taste wine, local sausages and local cheeses including the famous reblochon. If you are going to Chambery, you are probably going for the food and the wine so stay local and enjoy.