Owner | Dominique Belluard (born 17 January 1966) took over from his father Albert, after the latter retired. Dominique is low-key, serious-minded, and very hands on. Dominique’s brother Patrick takes care of the commercial side.
Vineyards | At 13 hectares this is the largest domain in the tiny cru of Ayze. Most of Belluard’s vines are in the communes of Marigny and Ayze with a tiny bit in Bonneville. Soils in Bonneville are glacial sediments with clay limestone, and limestone scree. In Marignan the soil is red clay, rich in Bauxite from glacial deposits. Overall 40% of the vines consist of small plots on steep slopes which pose high, perhaps unsustainable costs. Gringet is the main grape with 12 hectares (29.6 acres), with 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of Mondeuse.
Biodynamics | By 2003 Dominique had converted half his vineyards to Biodynamics, but only on those sites with the gentlest slopes. Dominque says since adopting Biodynamics the soil is softer and has more life and yields are more regular. He saw Biodynamics as a route for quality (to re-drees the negative impact chemicals had had) rather than fashion. The main sprays here are Prepared horn manure 500, 502-507 in autumn, Horn silica 501 in spring with Maria Thun’s barrel compost 502-507, and pruning paste in winter.
Certification | 2001 Conversion to organics began. | 2004 First vintage with full organic certification for 6 hectares (14.8 acres) of vines which were possible to mechanise. | 2007 Dominique got an inter-vine weeder allowing him to put the rest of his vines into organic certification. | 2011 8.5 hectares (21 acres) had full organic certification + 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) which were still being farmed conventionally.
Winemaking | Dominique is moving away from stainless steel vats “which give the wines a hardness” and replacing them with egg-shaped concrete vats.
Vin de Savoie-Ayze, Le Feu | The name refers to ‘le Feu’ or fire, meaning a vineyard site which is particularly warm. Soils are glacial sediments rich in bauxite, red soils. 100% Gringet. 2009 V interesting, exotic, almond, mineral, grilled, smoky, gunflint (Natural Wine Fair 2011).
Vin de Savoie-Ayze, Les Alpes | 2009 100% Gringet. Assemblage of terroirs. Lovely width, and softness (Natural Wine Fair 2011).
Vin de Savoie-Ayze, Grandes Jorasses | Grandes Jorasses takes its name from a peak on the east ridge of the Mont Blanc Massif. | 2009 Altesse. Soft, creamy, bright fruit, very good (Natural Wine Fair 2011).
Vin de Savoie Blanc, Petite Arvine | 100% Petite Arvine, found in the Valais in Switzerland. Dominique Belluard told me (in 2004 by ‘phone) that Petite Arvine ripens late like Gringet but gives a more concentrated, exotic wine.
Vin de Savoie Rouge | Mondeuse. Unoaked.
GAEC Le Mont Blanc
Les Chenevaz, F-74130 Ayze (Haute-Savoie), France
Telephone conversation with Dominique Belluard on Thursday evening 8th January 2004.