Fire in the Savoie: 2012 Belluard Le Feu

Posted by Joe Salamone

Fire in the Savoie
2012 Belluard Le Feu

Le Feu is the pinnacle of Belluard.

Dominique Belluard has dedicated the majority of his energy to the Gringet grape, an obscure grape that's native to his corner of eastern Savoie. Le Feu is the monument to his efforts.

Le Feu is Belluard's top site. It's an impressively steep, perfectly exposed vineyard where Belluard's oldest vines sit on iron-stained clay soils. Le Feu means the fire, a reference to the red tinged soils.

This wine brings Belluard's entire idiom to its shocking conclusion. Le Feu manages to be simultaneously more concentrated and more complex yet more focused, transparent, elegant and vividly mineral.

This is a wine that I go deep on and cellar every year.

The 2012 vintage at Belluard is easily one of the best we've seen from him. The sense of the cut, clarity and overall completeness in his 2012 collection is just stunning. And, sadly, this level of quality was won only after a lot of hard work and painfully low yields.

Belluard has a huge reputation in France and he is starting to really gain steam in the U.S. People take notice when someone like David Schildknecht writes in the Wine Advocate that Belluard's wines are: "Some of the most remarkable vinous excitement and promise I have witnessed." Since then, Belluard has really started taking off.

This is all to say that Belluard is in even shorter supply these days, especially Le Feu and especially in 2012. We receive one modest allocation per year and that's it. This is going to sell out fast.

Le Feu's multi-layered complexity is startlingly evocative of its origins, complete with a bright, firm core of mountain nervosity. It boasts a flavor spectrum that's mind-bending: herb-accentuated figs, lemon marmalade, a meadow of spring flowers, stony and smoky minerals and gentle vegetal undertones. It finishes with a pristine, finessed and rock-imbued clarity.

Belluard is one of the most exciting and skilled wine makers that we know. We say this every offer and are unapologetic about it. Each time I taste his wines, this becomes more clear. There's a purity, a precision and an elusive, depth and soulfulness that we love. We're very happy to be able to work with such singular and life-affirming wines. If only there were more available.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits