Wine of the Week: Domaine Belluard NV Ayse Brut

The wines of Domaine Belluard are some of the most intriguing we’ve encountered in a while. In particular, I’ve taken a shine to the $24 Ayse Brut, an affordable sparkling wine made from 100% Gringet – a nearly extinct grape from the Savoie. Belluard’s estate is located in the French alpine village of Ayse, near the border of Switzerland. The grapes are from the lower slopes of Belluard’s Biodynamic vineyards, planted in chalky, stony slopes, with Mont Blanc towering in the background. Gringet makes an exciting and unusual varietal wine, while still being approachable, versatile, and delicious.

These unique, rare vineyards produce a wine that’s mineral-dominant, with notes of yellow citrus and floral alpine air. Belluard only uses concrete eggs to raise his wines, which are neutral vessels that don’t impart any flavors into the wine. What you get with this exuberant bubbly is pure terroir – a beautiful, unadulterated expression of the grape, soil, and alpine air.

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(If you’re in our wine club, you’ll be receiving a bottle of this with your next wine club shipment)

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Winemaker: Dominique Belluard
Bio: Deep in the eastern French Alps, near the Swiss border, the Belluard family has been making wine in the village of Ayse since 1947.  They started with vineyards of Gringet (a rare grape variety endemic to the region) and fruit orchards. They now own 12 of the 22 remaining hectares of this nearly extinct grape, and are doing their best to preserve it. Their vineyards are certified Biodynamic, and all of their wines are fermented and aged in concrete eggs instead of wood or stainless steel. Great care is taken in the production of these wines, utilizing only native yeasts, and even aging their own sparkling wines in the bottle (most producers outsource this).
Region: France>Savoie>Haute-Savoie
Vineyard: Biodynamically farmed. Southern exposure, chalky scree soils in the Chablais Alps. Soils of clay & limestone. 55hl/ha.
Blend: 100% Gringet
Aging: Concrete eggs
Production Notes: Native yeast fermentation. Methode traditionelle. Bottled with minimum SO2.
Tasting Notes: This is a sparkling wine for serious wine lovers. Initial aromas of crushed rocks make way for citrus and white flowers. Medium-straw in color, it’s rich and electric on the palate. Assertive, linear, and bright – this wine will change the way you think about bubbles.
Food Pairing: Oysters, smoked fish, mountain cheeses, asparagus

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