Domaine Belluard Les Alpes 2014
Wine from the Savoie rarely makes it into the B.C. market. Those that do are generally interesting but not exciting. With Belluard, however, you not only get a very high quality wine, but also something utterly distinctive – a textural, honeyed masterpiece made with a nearly lost indigenous grape called Gringet.
For me, Belluard represents the best results of the insatiable passion for novelty in the wine world, particularly among sommeliers. There have been many articles written for and against the ‘trend-setters’. To me, such perspectives are not particularly insightful. There are always trends in every industry. Who cares?
What matters to me more is intellectual curiosity. It is inevitable that some will follow the intellectually curious. It is inevitable that some results of curiosity can become marked with status and markers of identity. But these incidental effects are not, for me, the relevant focus. Rather, intellectual curiosity is akin to humility – embracing that you do not know, and then celebrating it by seeking out new challenges and ideas. Standing still is anathema to thinking. This type of intellectual curiosity is not the same as ‘progress’. Instead, it is the development of an expansive rather than insular sensibility for culture and aesthetics.
Belluard is in our glasses because of intellectual curiosity. Dominique Belluard inherited a family estate with an almost extinct indigenous grape and decided to dedicate himself to maximizing its potential. Since he took over the estate in 1988 he has embraced biodynamics, indigenous ferments, and highly neutral fermentation vessels (concrete and amphora). On top of this, curious U.S. importers discovered Belluard and introduced him to sommeliers and curious drinkers in that country. Some, myself included, read about and sourced these wines at that time. Today, an intellectually curious importer in B.C. – influenced by those U.S. pioneers – has brought these wines to our province. The circle of curiosity continues to grow.
In any event, this is a great wine that is quite easy to drink and understand. Novice drinkers will have no problem enjoying this wine, especially given its textural softness and medium acidity coupled with stone fruit and incense aromatics. It is compelling and completely consumable. Made from 100% Gringet, grown at 350-400m above sea level and fermented entirely in clay amphora.
$43 + tax (hospitality price, imported by Sedimentary). Available at Kits Wine and other private stores for varying prices.