DOMINIQUE BELLUARD (AYZE, HAUTE-SAVOIE)
Ask Guilhaume Gerard of Selection Massale Imports, and he will tell you that dirty, bruised hands, and dirt under ones boots, is the litmus test of a great vigneron. We tend to agree, and Dominique BELLUARD is one such vigneron.
Created in 1947, Domaine BELLUARD covers twelve hectares in the little town of Ayze, Haute-Savoie. Ayze is home to the indigenous Gringet grape and currently there are only 22 hectares of gringet in production. A strong proponent of biodynamics, Dominique believes that microorganisms give structure to the earth and make it fertile. They make available the different growing elements that are necessary to the plant. He knows to be true that synthetic pesticides have an adverse affect on the earth which causes a decline in microbial activity thus resulting in a loss of terroir. BELLUARD also believes that the rhythmic changes of the Earth (day/night, rising and descending moon, and the seasons) provides an equilibrium and rebalance vital to healthy flora and fauna.
BELLUARD'S vineyards are located in the sunny French Alpine village of Ayze, Savoie at an altitude of 450m. The geology is made up of three distinct terroirs:
-Chalky scree soils in the Chablais Alps
-Clay and limestone strata
-Red clay rich in iron aluminum oxide
95% of the vineyards are planted with Gringet with the balance split between Altesse and Mondeuse.
A hard vintage, says Dominique, as the weather was not cooperative. The grapes are grown on clay-limestone soils, hand-harvested and pneumatic pressing is gently done. Native yeasts and bacteria provide for both the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Aged in stainless steel and concrete eggs, the Les Alpes' 12 is lighter and more focused than previous years. Rocks, minerals, and fresh herbs provide an exceptional white wine experience. We did seriously consider not selling this and drinking it ourselves (we have it on good authority that ours are the last remaining cases of this vintage stateside).