Jean-Noël and Thomas Blard (father and son) have been taking their five-generation family do-main to an upswing in the last twenty years, while also moving to organic and natural practices. ⁣They are making fantastic wines in the Apremont region in Savoie. We’ve been drinking them for many years now, and can’t get enough!⁣

They have been helping, along with a few other winemakers in Savoie, to really turn Savoie into the super interesting wine region that it is now.⁣ Their lineup is wide, and spans across many grapes and styles but they definitely excel in the Jacquère and Altesse grapes, favorites in the ar-ea. ⁣

Thomas, who is in charge now, really elevated the white wines made from these varieties to a new standard, way above the cheesy “ski & raclette” cliché, making them great options for the most refined tables.⁣ The wines of the Domaine are on the menu of many of the Michelin stars of the region, starting with Flocons de Sels, the three stars table of Emmanuel Renaut in Megève, who is one of their best ambassador.

Thomas also continued to move the Domaine in the direction of natural farming and winemaking. As of 2020, the whole vineyard has embraced organic farming, and will soon be certified AB (french organic certification). Indeed, the certification requires a 2 year transition before being able to claim the AB logo. In the cellar as well, Thomas has been introducing more and more natural approaches. All wines are currently made with spontaneous fermentation from the wild yeasts. SO2 levels have been reduced and Thomas is producing since 2020 his first cuvée “zero-zero” with no SO2 added at all.

The wines imported by Living Wine:

Sparkling wines:

Brut Alpin Rosé, 2017

A fresh and elegant sparkling rosé with amazing value. A very dynamic and fresh mouth coming from the Jacquère combined with very elegant floral and candy notes. Absolutely perfect to get started a summer meal.

  • AOP Crémant de Savoie (sparkling wine)
  • Made using the traditional method (‘champenoise’)
  • 60% Jacquère, 20% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir
  • Rosé “de saignée” from the Pinot maceration
  • Extra brut, dosage 2g
  • Fermented in stainless steel, aged in barriques. After 9 months, the wine is bottled and spent 2 years “sur lattes” before being disgorged.
  • Clayey-limestone soil similar on the Abymes’ vineyard
  • Production 4,000 bottles

Grand Brut Alpin, 2015

This is a great sparkling wine which is not shy to be compared with many artisan vintage champagne. It is a “Brut Nature”, made with no dosage, so extremly dry, without residual sugar. As many vintage champagne, it’s only done when the fruits are good enough, so you won’t find every years. 2015 was a great one. The mouth is super mineral, still very meaty. It shows a nice intense color. This is the top of the line for Blard’s sparkling. The domain is also producing Brut Alpin and Grand Brut Alpin, which are not available at the time this is written.

  • AOP Crémant de Savoie
  • Sparkling wine
  • 60% Jacquère, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir
  • Vinified using the traditional method (‘champenoise’)
  • Brut Nature, no dosage
  • After 6 months is barriques, the wine is aged in bottles, 4 years “sur lattes”, and then disgorged.
  • Clayey-limestone soil similar on the Abymes’ vineyard

White wines:

Micraster – Abymes, 2019

This is the entry-level Jacquère from the domain. A young Jacquère done in the traditional way, young, short aging, quick fermentation usually done in October, including the malolactic, no residual sugar. Your typical Abymes, simple, straight forward, no complexity, bone dry here and sometime with a little fiz. Your “casse-croute” wine, or “apero” wine. Also goes super well for a starter, to get things going over some small tapas or light seafood. Will definitely accompany really well the classic meal of the area: raclette and fondue.

  • AOP Vin de Savoie, Abymes
  • Dry white wine
  • 100% Jacquère
  • Vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks during 3 months, native yeast start to finish.
  • Vines are minimum 33 years, some way older
  • Soil: the scree of the Granier mountain, clayey-limestone, a bit of marl, a bit of silex
  • Production ~6000 bottles
  • 11.5% Alc.

Apremont Thomas 2019

The main Apremont cuvée of the Domaine. Amazing value, holding already the precision and the minerality of the Blard style. This is a blend of different plots that can evolve year to year to adapt to the specificities of each year. A very consistent wine that found it’s way on many Michelin rated tables.

  • AOP Vin de Savoie, Apremont
  • Dry white wine
  • 100% Jacquère (blend from different parcels)
  • 36 to 120 years old vines
  • Clayey-limestone, blue silex
  • Vinified and aged on lees in stainless steel tanks during 6 to 9 months in the same tank. Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • Production: ~15000 bottles
  • 12.5% alc.

Roussette de Savoie 2019

Although it’s a simple “entry level” Roussette, this wine placed Blard&Fils on the gastronomic map, as many Michelin stars added it to their wine menu, starting with Emmanuel Renaut from Flocons de Sel, the 3 stars Michelin Mégève. This wines definitely steps the game up. Still on the fruit, it shows a very nice acidity backbone which makes it stand apart from most Roussette from the area. The recent addition of skin maceration during the fermentation process brings even more structure and aromas.

  • AOP Roussette de Savoie
  • Dry white wine
  • 100% Altesse
  • Vinified and aged on lees in stainless steel tanks during 10 months. 20% of the wine is vinified with skin contact after destemming, for 10 days, for the grapes coming from the best parcel. Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • 33 years old vine
  • Same soil as Micraster
  • Production: ~15000 bottles
  • 12.5% alc.

Face Sud 2019

In 2019, Thomas noticed that a special plot that was usually vinified part of the Apremont Thomas cuvée had some very interesting maturity. Grapes were different and he decided to vinified them aside and slightly differently. The result gave a more sunny wine, slightly warmer and bigger but without losing the edge of the Jacquère. As for Lébraz, this wine could have been labelled as Apremont but because it has a very special profile, Thomas prefers to stick with the Vin de Savoie standard appellation!

  • AOP Vin de Savoie
  • Dry white wine
  • 100% Jacquère
  • Vinified and aged on lees in stainless steel tanks during 12 months. Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • Clayey-limestone
  • Production: ~3,000 bottles
  • 12% alc.

Lebraz 2017

Lébraz is a single vineyard white wine from the Jacquère grape, from a plot situated above the lake Saint-André. It could be designated as Apremont, but Thomas prefers to keep it simply as Vin de Savoie as it’s profile differs from the classic Apremont. The soil of the plot as well as a long vinification on its lees makes it a very special white wine with a lot of tension and minerality.

  • Single vineyard wine
  • AOP Vin de Savoie
  • Dry white wine
  • 100% Jacquère
  • Vinified and aged on lees in stainless steel tanks during 18 months. Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • Clayey-limestone, blue silex
  • Production: ~3,000 bottles
  • 11.5% alc.

Monemvasia, 2018

Another typical grape from the area but less common, Malvoisie is a grape varietal that can be confusing as it does not relates to other “Malvasia” know in Italy, Greece and others. As confusing as it is, Malvoisie in Savoie can be either referring to Pinot Gris or to Velteliner Rouge Precoce aka Fruhroter Veltliner (a natural crossing between Rote Veltliner and Sylvaner) but never to Malvasia. In the case of Blard, it is the Velteliner Rosé which is used. This wine is all on the aromatic and the fruit, remaining very clean, precise and dry. It is not made every year. It will depend on the fruit quality and quantity. Some years, Thomas and Jean-Noël do a sweet wine from the grape from “passerillage” (drying the grapes at the contact of ambient air to concentrate sugar and remove).

  • AOP Vin de Savoie
  • Dry white wine
  • 100% Malvoisie- Vinified in stainless steel tanks then aged 12 months in a combination of stainless steel vessels and old oak barriques from the Crémant, during 12 months. Spontaneous fermentation.
  • Young vines from 2012
  • Soil: clayey-limestone
  • Production:  ~2000 bottles
  • 13% alc.

Anno Domini, 2017

This is another Jacquère from the Domaine, but very different than Micraster, Lébraz or the Cuvée Thomas. The main difference comes from the parcel, a beautiful, higher elevation parcel. The winemaking is more classic than Micraster, giving the wine the time to build  its structure during the aging. Less a thirst wine and more a gastronomic wine, this shows all the span of the Jacquère grape. The name come from the year 1248, year where a gigantic landslide that killed thousands of people but also that gave birth to the soil for all the Apremont and Abymes vineyards…

  • AOP Vin de Savoie, Apremont.
  • Dry white wine.
  • 100% Jacquère.
  • Vinified in stainless steel tank. Spontaneous fermentation.
  • Aging on lees 12 months 90% in stainless steel.
  • 50 years old vines.
  • Soil: marl. The highest altitude of the vineyard, at 400m which is quite high for the appellation.
  • Production 3000 bottle
  • 11.5% alc.

Belemnite, 2016

This is an exceptional Altesse, a “grand cru” if there were such a classification in Savoie. It’s names comes from the parcel, which is the only one where it is possible to find fossil of this squid-like animal called bellemnite. This wine is only released when the vintage is good. If the fruits are not to satisfaction, Thomas will use them his main blend of Roussette.

  • AOP Vin de Savoie.
  • Dry white wine.
  • 100% Altesse.
  • Clayey-limestone. A nice soil of “terre blanche” unique to this very small parcel (25 ares), facing south.
  • Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • 20 years old vines.
  • Production: 1500 bottles
  • 12% alc.

Red wines:

Pierre Emile, 2018

Pierre-Emile comes from the name of Thomas’ grandfather. He indeed planted this parcel of Pinot Noir. He is actually one of the first to bring the Burgundian grape to Savoie. The result is a very joyful Pinot that can age well but still remain on the fruit, with limited extraction.

  • AOP Vin de Savoie.
  • Red wine.
  • 100% Pinot Noir
  • The grapes are destemmed and then vinified in stainless steel with a short 10 days maceration, then the wine is aged 1 year in old neutral oak barriques from Burgundy.
  • Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • 30-40 years old vines
  • Soil: three different parcels of Clayey-limestone soil.
  • Production ~5000 bottles
  • 12% alc.

Mondeuse Noir, 2018

Although the domaine is on the Apremont and Abymes appellation which is rarely used for red wine, and even less for Mondeuse, Thomas is now producing a Mondeuse. In fact, in 2017, Thomas took the opportunity to lease a small plot (0.3 ha) on the Arbin appellation which is not next to the domain but still reasonable distance (~5 miles), since then the Domaine produces a very elegant Mondeuse d’Arbin.

  • AOP Vin de Savoie, Mondeuse d’Arbin.
  • Red wine.
  • 100% Mondeuse Noire
  • The grapes are destemmed and then vinified in stainless steel with a short 10 -12 days maceration which result in a gentle extraction, then the wine is aged 1 year in old neutral oak barriques from Burgundy.
  • Spontaneous fermentation from natural yeast.
  • 50 years old vines
  • Soil: three different parcels of Clayey-limestone soil.
  • Production ~1200 bottles
  • 12% alc.