Reveling in the Obscure
Part II: "The Fire" in Savoie
2010 Domaine Belluard Le Feu
Belluard's Magnum Opus
Last week we announced the East Coast debut of the singular, compelling, mountain wines of Belluard with their "Les Alpes" bottling.
Today, we're happy to offer Belluard's top wine, "Le Feu."
Le Feu translates to "The Fire," and it's a suitably passionate name for a wine from such an ambitious grower as Belluard, who's working in the beautiful if under-the-radar Savoie region. He's based in the village of Ayse, which is pushed way over to the eastern edge of France, bordering on Switzerland, and his main focus is the rare and obscure Gringet grape.
Le Feu is Belluard's magnum opus: his low-yielding, old-vine selection from a very particular high-altitude site. Its name refers directly to the high iron content in the soil, because it stains the clay soils a fiery red.
You can refer back to last week's offer for complete details, but the quick background is that, of the 22 total hectares of Gringet in Savoie, Belluard works 12 of them. In Belluard's hands, Gringet becomes something truly noteworthy - if you've spent time in Paris' wine bars, it's likely that you've heard of Belluard, as he's legendary in those circles.
Belluard is one of the most quality- and terroir-driven winemakers out there; he converted to biodynamics in 2001 and spares no expense when it comes to making great wine. When he was unhappy with the results of wood and steel tanks, he even shelled out a considerable amount of money for Noblot concrete eggs because he liked the aeration they allowed.
The results are almost startlingly evocative of their origins. They feel decidedly alpine with pure notes of flowers, moss, sweet herbs and a steely, rocky spine.
To compare Le Feu to Les Alpes that we offered last week, Les Alpes is snappier and brisker. It's not difficult to empty a glass (or bottle) of it. Le Feu conversely trades some of that obvious refreshment to build a more densely, multi-layered complexity that encapsulates the bright, firm core of mountain nervosity. There's more palate presence, more rocky, foresty minerality and more stone fruits and citrus. It finishes with a pristine, finessed and rock-imbued clarity.
Le Feu is a strong testament to the high caliber of winemaking at Belluard, and it offers one of those delightfully surprising discoveries that wine still has new insight to offer even the most well-versed of us. Expect Le Feu to benefit from five or more years in the cellar.
Le Feu is very limited, even in the already-tiny context of Belluard's wines. There really isn't much to go around. Please give us you maximum order, and we'll do our best.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits