In the summer of 2018, I found myself with Cheré and Isla in the tiny village of Talloires on the eastern shore of Lake Annecy in the Savoie region of France. The original intent of this trip was to spend several days in Burgundy to the west. However, anyone who has an elementary school kid knows a summer trip really needs to include some water for swimming…and this is how our trip to Lake Annecy came to be… .
Lake Annecy is an old, glacial lake surrounded by snow caps. You are truly in the French Alps here, very near ski country and the famed Mont Blanc. The scenery here is magnificent with mountains, blue summer skies with white puffy clouds, and an emerald lake in between. After spending only a few hours in the area I couldn’t believe that we had never heard of this place until a few weeks before.
Our Savoie trip began in the historical town of Annecy, and then we moved down the eastern shore of the lake to Talloires. We arrived in Talloires around lunchtime, dropped our bags at the hotel, and started wandering along the shoreline of the lake to find a nice spot for lunch. The lake being the primary feature of Talloires, you can find several restaurants right along the shore with stunning views.
After spending a day or two in Annecy stuffing ourselves with Raclette and washing it down with the local still white wines from Altesse and Roussanne, we were ready for a change of gears. Fish from the lake was the obvious choice for food, but I noticed on the wine list a bottle of sparkling wine from the town of Seyssel. I had previously learned during my wine academia years that Queen Victoria had visited this area multiple times and that she enjoyed the local sparkling wines from the nearby town of Seyssel, so I felt like we had to give it a try.
When the bottle hit the table I noticed a small logo with the picture of a crown along with the words “Royal Seyssel.” I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was definitely not disappointed. The wine was full of orchard fruit surrounded by Alpine elements of saline and mountain herbs. It washed the local fish down beautifully. Cheré and I nursed that bottle for quite a little while as Isla played along the shore of the lake making new friends. Watching her in this setting was one of those unforgettable moments in an idyllic place with my family when you wish that you could just make time stand still…
As is often the case when traveling abroad in different wine regions through Europe, we had an amazing experience with this bottle of wine that I assumed I would likely not have again unless we ventured back to the Savoie. At this point in my wine adventure, I had never seen a wine from Seyssel in Birmingham, or in the states for that matter. But fast forward about a year down the road…Golden Age has just opened and Brandon and I discovered that one of our favorite importers, and one of the OG’s of fine wine importing, Kermit Lynch, was bringing the Royal Seyssel wines into the USA! We quickly placed our order.
It has now been a couple of years since we started working with the wines of Lambert de Seyssel. I’m happy to report that they have become customer and staff favorites and that we now have a good supply. I personally love these wines. They are delicious as an aperitif, at the table with food, or maybe when you’re sitting next to the lake watching your 7-year-old frolic!
The French have a word, “terroir,” that roughly translates to “sense of place.” The French believe that the best wines should display a sense of place…the vineyard, village, family, local culture, etc. I would also argue that wine can not only capture its place, but also a moment. When I drink the Lambert de Seyssel wines not only does it take me to the place, but also that beautiful day in July of 2018 with my family. This alcoholic grape juice we call “wine” can be a pretty special thing.