2009 Domaine Belluard Le Feu Cépage Gringet

2009 Domaine Belluard Le Fau Cépage Gringet

2009 Domaine Belluard Le Fau Cépage Gringet

Gringet….now there’s a grape variety you don’t see floor stacked down at your local big-box format boozatorium. It’s a rare little chappy with only around 22ha or so remaining within the Savoie AOC.

In the past it was thought to have a lineage that linked it with Savignan or Traminer and it was treated that way in the vineyard, but subsequent DNA testing shows it has links to another Savoie variety, Altesse….regardless the end result is a crystalline, clean, zippy white wine…savoury in structure and flecked with herbs and grilled nuts….for me it actually seems to have a lot in common with the dry Furmint wines of Hungary.

Domaine Belluard is one of leading biodynamic domaines in the Savoie, high up in the mountains near the Swiss border with the famous village of Chamonix not too distant. Dominique and Patrick Belluard’s 8ha of Gringet is located around the village of Ayse, famous for it’s production of sparkling wine, but judging from the “Le Fau” it’s not a bad spot to be producing table wines also.

The old Gringet vines  from the Terre Le Feu plot are located on steep slopes and the yields are very low indeed….harvested by hand and fermented utilising natural yeasts the elevage takes place in those funky looking cement eggs that remind me a bit too much of the “Alien” movies.

Pale straw in colour with fresh pure aromas of lemony citrus and pure juicy white peach fruits. There are hints of white flowers, jasmine, marzipan, almonds, minerals and stone with light herbal hints and a touch of cut fennel and a misty, cool almost minty note.

Plenty of fresh flavours in the mouth with energetic, lemony drive and juicy white peach and grapefruit notes flowing through on the mid-palate. There’s plenty of stony, mineral notes to keep the rock-heads happy and hints of herbs, jasmine, aniseed, marzipan and savoury, nutty aspects to the finish.

Balanced, lively and fascinating we drank a bottle with some Comté cheese and the company of good friends as the late afternoon autumnal sun warmed our souls….possibly the perfect match but the wine would be equally at home with white meats and seafood.

Price: $60 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 12.8% – Source: Guest – Importer: Terroir Wines

Gringet baby!.....Gringet!

Gringet baby!.....Gringet!

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4 Responses to “2009 Domaine Belluard Le Feu Cépage Gringet”

  1. Jonathan Wood
    April 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Nice writeup of one of my perennial favorites. I haven’t tried the 2009 yet, though. I’ve also had their Les Alpes, which as far as I know is also made with Gringet – do you know what the difference is?

    (Oh, and is it “Le Fau” or “Le Feu”?)

    • Dave
      April 26, 2011 at 12:35 am #

      Hey Jonathan….it is indeed Le Feu!…..thanks for that.

      I believe the Le Feu is the best selection of the old vine Gringet and is released only in outstanding vintages?…..different soils to the Les Alpes vineyard also.

      Roger or Sue from Terroir might be able to give a better answer but I believe they are at the Domaine in the Savoie today!…..half their luck.



      • Jonathan Wood
        April 26, 2011 at 3:09 am #

        Digging through cellartracker I find this from Jon Rimmerman at Garagiste Wine, which suggests you are right:

        “From chiseled alpine rock and old vines nestled between the Swiss border and Chamonix, the vineyard for this [Les Alpes] wine lies between 1500-2000 ft in elevation on a steep south facing slope that is precarious to farm. In 2008, the crop was so small that both cuvees (the Le Feu and Les Alpes) were combined into one wine (Les Alpes) as it was not even worth bottling 20 separate cases of Les Feu. That is a major bonus as the Le Feu component gives this bottling an even greater depth than normal. Someone called the wine of Belluard “flower glacier water” and that about sums it up.”

  2. Sue and Roger
    April 28, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Yes – Jonathan is right. Le Feu and Les Alpes are different terroir. Le Feu is higher up the slopes and Les Alpes is an area around the winery and less complex terroir. Le Feu hase been a renowned plot for making wine for many years. Visiting it is scarily spiritual. There are several wine makers with vines within Le Feu but Dominique Belluard has slowly acquired most of them, either by purchase or lease. On Monday we tasted some of the 2010 Le Feu gently fermenting in concrete eggs.