The Best Sparkling Wine Outside Champagne? 09 Belluard Mont Blanc Brut Zero

Posted by Joe Salamone

The Best Sparkling Wine
Outside Champagne?
2009 Belluard Mont Blanc Brut Zero

Once you leave Champagne, finding really compelling sparkling wine gets rough. There's Huet's Petillant. Then, things start getting difficult.

Today, we'd like to add another to the list.

Belluard's Mont Blanc Brut Zero is without a doubt one of the most serious and complex sparklers that we've tasted.

Emails like this are difficult to write. Belluard is making some of our favorite wines. They are beautiful, clear and honest. It's easy (and justified) to get worked up over them and fall into hyperbole, but that doesn't seem to suit the wines at all.

Let's just say this, Belluard is making gorgeous, rigorously detailed wines and out of his strong range, the Mont Blanc is one of his best.

Dominique Belluard

Belluard is based in the town of Ayse in the Savoie region. Even for Savoie, Ayse is an obscure corner pushed way over to the eastern edge of France, bordering on Switzerland. The local white grape is the rare and esoteric Gringet grape. In the 19th century, Ayse was famous for the quality of its sparkling wines. In recent times, Ayse and its Gringet grape have fallen off the map. Of the 22 hectares in Savoie, Belluard works 12 of them.

Saying that Belluard's Mont Blanc is easily one of the best sparkling wines outside of Champagne is accurate, but may lead you astray. Mont Blanc is emphatically its own thing. There's an oily texture full of yellow plums, flowers, herbs, minerals, etc. It doesn't receive any dosage and it feels spot on - the wine shows a depth of complexity, vibrancy and a length that's lovely. Belluard's Mont Blanc, based totally on Gringet, does Ayse's sparkling wine history proud.

Comparisons seem almost futile, but here goes: think of a cross between Huet's Petillant and Pepiere's Muscadet Clisson with a dose of mountain aromatics, energy and some added richness.

The quality of Belluard's sparkling wines (both Mont Blanc and his lower end Ayse Brut) is a great indicator of his commitment to quality. Many sparklers on the market taste like sparkling water with a healthy dose of lemon juice. In contrast, Belluard's are studies in intricately woven complexity and thoughtful composition.

The best way to situate Belluard is to compare him to Jean-Francois Ganevat - an incredibly skilled and dedicated winemaker who is placing an esoteric region on the world stage. Ganevat has gone cult with the pricing and tiny allocations that such status brings..

Belluard hasn't hit the tipping point in this country, but his days seem numbered. The wines are that good and in France Belluard is a super-star.

Not to mention that the Wine Advocate's David Schildknecht has given Belluard a big boost by writing that the wines offer "some of the most remarkable not to mention improbable vinous excitement and promise I have witnessed anywhere in France during the past decade."

The wines are already limited, especially his Mont Blanc, so it's best to get on these now.

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

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2009 Belluard Mont Blanc Brut Zero

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