Bugey, Vins du

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Bugey, Vins du, collective name for the wines of the Ain département in the southern Jura Mountains just west of savoie in eastern France, sometimes just called Bugey. Since the turn of this century total vineyard area has been a stable 500 ha/1,235 acres and after decades the wines were finally elevated to aoc from vdqs in 2009. From the three chief vineyard zones of Cerdon, Belley, and Montagnieu, the main ACs are Bugey, Bugey Mousseux or Pétillant, and roussette de Bugey, with certain crus added as a suffix. Bugey was once part of Burgundy and under the medieval influence of monks and monasteries the area was an important wine producer. In recent times until the 21st century most of its varied wines were consumed locally, but international interest in them has grown alongside that for wines from Savoie and jura. The delicate, medium-sweet, pink Vin du Bugey Cerdon at around 7 % alcohol is made by the méthode ancestrale from the Gamay grape of nearby Beaujolais and some of Jura’s poulsard. It accounts for nearly half of the Bugey’s annual four million bottle production. Also important are other white and pink traditional method sparkling wines. The still wines are mainly varietal with more whites than rosé and reds. Chardonnay dominates whites, but there are small quantities of aligoté and Pinot Gris as well as Savoie’s altesse, jacquère, mondeuse blanche, and molette, with the Altesse performing well as Roussette du Bugey. Among reds, Gamay and Pinot Noir are joined by the interesting mondeuse noire of Savoie. These were the wines with which the notable gastronome Anthelme Brillat-Savarin grew up.