Home Posts tagged 'Gringet'

Posts Tagged ‘Gringet’


Matt R.

Celebrating and Saving the Savoie: Domaine Belluard et Fils

MontBlanc1
Imagine if 16 square blocks in San Francisco (roughly 5% of Golden Gate Park) were planted with wine grapes! Now imagine that those 16 blocks were planted with the last remaining vines in the whole world of a particular varietal. Although not located in SF, that’s the case with Gringet, an extremely rare varietal that is only grown in a corner of the Savoie, France.

 

We’re not shy about having a soft spot for the Savoie here at Bi-Rite. This small region of Eastern France tucked into the Alps has a long history and a great food and wine tradition. In particular, the village of Ayse has faced major challenges: The once thriving wine industry in the region was nearly wiped out by a combination of disease and two World Wars. 375 hectares planted in Ayse in the 1760s were reduced to just 19 remaining hectares in 1962.

The Belluard family began farming in Ayse in 1947 with small vineyards of Gringet and some fruit orchards. Today, 5th generation winemakers Dominique and Patrick Belluard run this biodynamically farmed vineyard and own 12 of the last 22 remaining hectares of Gringet planted in the world. They’ve set out to preserve this nearly extinct grape, and now produce stunning wines that truly express the terroir of Savoie and the unique qualities of Gringet. They ferment and age their wines in concrete eggs and clay amphorae and age their sparkling wines themselves in house. (A rarity, as many sparkling wine producers outsource the ‘aging’ process to contracted cellars.) We’re so excited to welcome three of the Belluards’ wines to our shelves this week. As you can imagine, they’re all extremely limited so taste them while you can!
 
Ayse1
NV Belluard Ayse Brut  -  $24.99
Gringet’s history is also remarkable: It is believed to predate the presence of Romans in the Savoie! Once mistaken for Traminer because it looks similar, Gringet has since been determined to be its own varietal and has a distinct flavor and texture. This sparkling is made in the Champagne method and aged on the lees for 2 years. Again, the Belluards insist in doing this themselves rather than outsourcing – a considerable investment in time and storage space. The wine has a stunning golden hue with aromas of apples, quince, and almonds. It has a light, nutty quality, chalky minerality, lush texture, and a dry finish; it’s very elegant and sophisticated!
 
BrutZero12009 Belluard Mont Blanc Zero  -  $34.99
Named for the iconic highest elevation in the Alps, Mont Blanc, this bottling is from a single low-yielding vineyard parcel. It’s a vintage bottling, unlike the Ayse, and is aged for 4 years on the lees before being disgorged. The term ‘Brut Zero’ refers to the fact that this sparkling receives no dosage (the mix of extra wine after disgorgement that is sometimes used to add some sugar back into the wine). The result is an absolutely bone-dry bubbly with fascinating balance of lush yellow plum, ginger, and tropical flavors alongside austere minerality and a crisp finish.
Only 3 cases available (at 18th location).

LeFeu12011 Belluard Le Feu  -  $44.99
This is the newest vintage of the Belluard’s bottling, Le Feu. The name translates to ‘The Fire’ and refers to the iron rich clay soils of this vineyard which dye the earth a fiery red color. This vineyard is also the Belluard’s best site with a steep south-facing slope and their oldest vines. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged in concrete eggs. The nose has aromas of singed herbs, lemon, white flowers, and almonds. The texture is mouth-coating with layered flavors of white peach, dried herb, and a lingering stone-like minerality.
 
Upcoming Tastings and Events at 18 Reasons: