Dominique Belluard's 'Monsieur Gringet'

8/31/23 -

Earlier this year, we wrote an article about the untimely passing of Dominique Belluard in June of 2021. A reflection on the context of this tragedy, it was a rather somber piece of writing, but today our tone will be celebratory instead. We are excited to share that there will be a future for Dominique's legendary Gringet vines and a continuation of his life project, in the new partnership and winery called Domaine du Gringet!

We received what one could call a press release from the winery, which tells the story in detail of how this new chapter came about. We'll quote a section here, and if anyone is curious to view the full PDF, just email us here and we can send a copy to you.

"Dominique left us suddenly in June 2021. With the death of Dominique and the immediate absence of a suitable successor to take over the family estate, the Belluard family opened up to the idea of a sale in the autumn. Investors began to come but Valérie [Belluard] was categorical: even if the Belluard page is turned, the adventure of the estate and the work undertaken by Dominique and his team must be perpetuated through a winegrower, a creaftsman, not a brand...

Among the talents to apply, there is a young man of 26 years, who has been working for nearly four years with Franck Balthazar, winemaker in Cornas. This young man, Vincent Ruiz, has had a small trading activity since the 2020 vintage in parallel with his job and produces wines with grapes bought from a winegrower in the south of Ardeche...

In the search for an opportunity to settle down , and under the benevolent guidance of Franck Balthazar, Vincent met Valérie Belluard for the first time in December in Ayse. The agreement was immediate: Vincent was charmed by the place and the uniqueness of Le Gringet, while Valérie saw in the sensitivity, determination and dynamism of this young man the fundamental qualities to perpetuate the adventure of the estate. The foundations for an agreement and the prospect of a takevoer were in place, but taking over such an institution was a huge challenge in terms of viticulture, repuation and finance. Vincent did not back down and began looking for support to bring the project to fruition."

As you may assume, Vincent did find the support he needed to embark on this adventure, and the Domaine du Gringet was formed, named after the grape that Dominique single-handedly made famous (at least in our little wine world).

There will be more to this story, and we'll likely be offering wines from Domaine du Gringet sometime next year, but until then we have a special wine from Dominique's last vintage, 2020. Simply called 'Monsieur Gringet,' this is a wine that blends three distinct terroirs, with the Gringet grape as the unifying theme. The folks at Domaine du Gringet provided a bit of info on the wine:

"An AOP Vin de Savoie Ayse white made from the estate's hillside vines, i.e. the white marl of "La Paille," the limestone scree of "Chez Edouard," as well as the red marl and clay loaded with iron alumina of "Le Feu." It was aged for 18 months in ovoid concrete tanks. It is adorned with a specific label chosen by Valérie, and designed by the cartoonist Michel Tolmer, well known in the French wine world."

We in fact also have a small amount of an Altesse bottling on offer today from Belluard, the "Grandes Jorasses," but after tasting Monsieur Gringet, and in honor of this very special grape that Dominique (Monsieur Gringet himself) introduced to us all, we decided to put the spotlight on Gringet, in all of its chiseled, alpine brilliance. While the 'Eponyme' 2020 (bottled by JF Ganevat) was an ethereal and contemplative expression, 'Monsieur Gringet' is a proclamation! Obviously age-worthy from it's acidity and mineral length, it's also a very present wine, firing on all cylinders, and making you wonder if maybe Gringet is the most exciting grape in the Savoie. Michel Tolmer's illustration on the label clearly depicts the best setting for the wine, being shared amongst friends in a jovial setting, but elevated and nerdy food pairings are limitless with this bottle (as many talented chefs who have worked with Belluard's wines can attest). All in all, it's a great bottle of wine, and an homage to a very humble and passionate man. Though there is a mention of an 'Eponyme Mise Tardive' (late bottling of the Eponyme cuvee) in the Domaine du Gringet press release, we're not sure if this wine will reach the states. 'Monsieur Gringet' feels like the last wine we'll have that bears the touch of Dominique's vineyard work, and his hand in the cellar, and it reminds me of the first time I ever tried his wines, so we're very happy to have this be our last offer from the late great Dominique Belluard. 

We highly recommend the profile of Dominique Belluard on the Selection Massale website (click here), and the humble eulogy written by his friend and writer, Wink Lorch (click here) for anyone who wishes to read more about Dominique.

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