Stunning Mountain Sparkler: 2011 Belluard Mont Blanc

Posted by Joe Salamone

Stunning Mountain Sparkler
2011 Belluard Ayse Mont Blanc Brut Zero
The Best Sparkling Wine Outside of Champagne?

Dominique Belluard is unyielding in the vineyard and in the winery. All this results in a stunning, utterly singular cast of wines.

Every year we wait for our allocation of Belluard. Once it comes through, each year it's smaller than the last - you watch the staff put bottle after bottle on their sales order.

They are shockingly good wines. Every time I drink a Belluard, I'm thankful to be into wine at this particular time. Belluard works in Ayse, a forgotten corner in the eastern part of Savoie, an esoteric region. He focuses mostly on the Gringet, a grape unique to Ayse. Of the 22 hectares of Gringet in Savoie, Belluard works 12 of them. It's really nice that the public will support Belluard's spare-no-expense approach to winemaking. I mean, Ayse is a long way from any recognized classical wine region.

The remaining 10ha of Gringet not owned by Belluard are turned into indifferent sparkling wines for the local market. Belluard reaches for the stars with his sparklers, especially his vintage-dated Mont Blanc.

Every year, Belluard's Mont Blanc is stunning. It's one of the best sparklers outside of Champagne. Back in the 19th Century, Ayse was famous for its sparkling wines. Tasting Mont Blanc today it's impossible not to feel that the area and its Gringet grape have an aptitude for sparkling wine.

Mont Blanc comes from a single parcel (Belluard's highest altitude site) that's composed of iron-stained clay and limestone. It's bottled without dosage and shows an amazing sense of completeness and balance. There's a deeply tactile impression of minerality that's beautifully off-set by the wine's cut.

The 2011 Mont Blanc has a particularly smoky expression of minerality that offers a backdrop to the notes of yellow plum, flowers and herbs. It's incredibly clear and pure.

It seems that with each passing month Belluard's reputation grows by leaps and bounds. This means that each year we see less and less wine. Belluard deserves all his fanfare. I only mention this to say that quantities are very limited.

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

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits