We’d flown into Geneva from London and driven straight to one of the special regions of Savoie - Ayse - to meet up with Sophie Barrett of Chambers Street Wines, New York.
Sophie was completing a hectic week visiting Champagne and the Jura before ending in Savoie, The first visit was at Domaine Belluard, whose 10 hectares of vines nestle on steep slopes at 450 metres above sea level, in the heart of the valley of the Arve, between Geneva and Chamonix Mont-Blanc.
Since 1988 Dominique Belluard has made wine at his family’s estate, certified biodynamic in 2001. 95% of his vines are the very rare variety, Gringet. There are only 20 hectares of Gringet in the world, all grown in Ayse, of which half are lovingly cared for by Dominique. The other 5% are Altesse and Mondeuse.
We visited his iconic vineyard, Le Feu, rising steeply above the village and requiring terrific manual labour – but whose vines are well worth the effort!
We tasted egg-samples (sorry!) in the concrete egg cellar, with occasional gurgling of the still-fermenting wine.
It was back to Chinaillon as the following day we will be visiting more regions of Savoie, our Savoyard appetite having been whetted in Ayse.