DOMAINE BELLUARD, DOMINIQUE BELLUARD, Savoie – Biodynamic
‘The village of Ayze is a little commune in the Haute–Savoie situated in the heart of the valley of the Arve between Geneva and Chamonix Mont-Blanc. Vineyards have been established here since the 13th century. The vines are 450m high on exposed south-facing slopes where the soil is composed of glacial sediments, moraines (continuous linear deposits of rock and gravel). The Alpine climate ensures a big temperature difference between day and night, ensuring both physiological maturity in the grapes as well as good acidity.
Patrick and Dominique Belluard make use of the virtually unique ancient grape Gringet said to be related to the Savagnin grape of Jura. Also called Petite Roussette and said to be part of the Traminer family, other research suggests that it was brought back by monks, returning from Cyprus in the 13th century. Wilful obscurantism apart this is a wine that expresses a lungful of mountain air, heck, it’s as glacial as a Hitchcock heroine, with exuberant acidity that skates across the tongue and performs a triple salchow on your gums. No malolactic fermentation – the fruit is beacon-bright, crystalline and the acidity sings. Aromas of white flowers and jasmine, citrus-edged with a hint of white peach, violet and a twist of aniseed to finish. The brilliance of the acidity provides a profound palatal expergefaction (you heard it here first). These are wines sans maquillage.
In 2001 the vineyards started undergoing a total conversion to biodynamic viticulture. Now the wines are natural. Belluard have run through the gamut of fermentation vessels. Now all wines other than amphora Mondeuse are fermented and aged in cement ovoid betons, the liquid inside in biodynamic suspension.’ ’ Doug Wregg
Gringet from two parcels are used for Les Alpes. The first parcel close to Dominique’s house has a base of marl and the other is rich in limestone. The grapes are directly pressed and the juice is fermented with only indigenous yeast in several concrete eggs where it stays for about 6 months. The contents of all the eggs are then blended in stainless steel tanks prior to bottling. A small amount of sulphites are added at this stage.