Some of the most remarkable vinous excitement and promise I have witnessed - 2012 Belluard Les Alpes

Posted by Joe Salamone

Singular Alpine Stunner
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2012 Belluard Les Alpes

If you haven't heard of Belluard, you will. The wines are too compelling and too original for this not to be the case.

We've been fans since the first bottles we tasted. Before Belluard was available in the U.S., I'd make it a point to drink as much as possible when I was in Paris.

Needless to say, the moment that Belluard's wines became available here we jumped all over it. That was the 2010 vintage.

Dominique Belluard

Belluard was working in a forgotten corner of the Savoie region and working with an obscure, nearly extinct grape. As a retailer, on paper, there wasn't much to make you want to go deep on the wines. But that was exactly what we did. We really believed that Belluard was making some of the most exciting wines we've tasted. Immediately, it became clear that we weren't alone. People who bought bottles were writing in for 6-packs.

Today, I'm happy to offer Belluard's 2012 Les Alpes for $31.95 per bottle and $28.95 on 4-packs.

Belluard is one of those producers where you can see the wines improving with each vintage. With that said, 2010 stands as the best vintage that I tasted from Belluard. It was a break-out vintage for him. 2012 is certainly a vintage that will give 2010 a run for its money. It's just that clear, complete and incisive.

When it comes to Les Alpes specifically, the 2012 is killer. Last week, I received an email from Belluard's importer asking if I'd tasted the 2012s yet. He said, "I think it's the best Les Alpes that I've tasted." I have to agree. There's a combination of rigor, mineral cut and depth that makes it really successful.

Belluard works in Ayse, a high altitude area in eastern Savoie, in the French Alps. He has dedicated the majority of his energies to the local Gringet grape. It's understandable if you've never heard of Gringet: there are only 22 hectares of it planted and Belluard farms 12 of those. The rest of the Gringet vines are scattered throughout Ayse, in miniature little parcels belonging to sundry producers - a hectare here, a hectare there.

In Belluard's hands, Gringet becomes something truly noteworthy.

The 2012 Les Alpes boasts its alpine origins with its tautness and high energy with chiseled, stony minerality, floral notes, citrus, and earthier tones (think subtle notes of mushrooms, pine needles, a faint nuttiness, etc.) It's hard to compare Belluard's to more familiar wines. They are singular wines. The best that I can come up with is to think of Muscadet mixed with dry Chenin and taken into the mountains.

Les Alpes is sourced from a south-facing vineyard at 450 meters with glacial moraine, limestone and clay soils. In many ways, it's the perfect introduction to Belluard, showing the bracing mountain minerality and forest notes that define Belluard's range.

Since our first offering, Belluard has begun to blow up. There's' probably no better evidence than David Schildknecht's coverage in the Wine Advocate where he stated: "Some of the most remarkable not to mention improbable vinous excitement and promise I have witnessed anywhere in France during the past decade."

Belluard is making some of our favorite wines anywhere. He's part of a new generation of growers that aren't afraid to pour considerable energy and money into elevating local, previously obscure regions to the world stage. The results are really impressive and recommended.

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

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2012 Belluard Les Alpes

Special Email Bottle Price: $31.95

Special Email 4-Pack Price: $115.80 ($28.95/btl)