Maison Roche de Bellene Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières 2018

Roche de Bellene

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Our tasting impressions 

Perhaps a bit richer and fuller than previous vintages but the 2018 Folatières once again demonstrates why we think this wine (at least in the hands of our boy Potel) is an underrated (and as result lesser priced) gem of the appellation. This wine always seems like the vinous equivalent of a fireworks show. Fireworks is of course a relative term here as we are still talking about Puligny, a model of grace and subtlety .


About this wine

Puligny-Montrachet is probably the most famous village for Chardonnay in the world. The steely, mineral driven wines are, for many, the epitome of white Burgundy. Les Folatières is the largest Premier Cru in Puligny-Montrachet. 


This wine comes from an east-facing plot, .28ha planted, on average, 45 years ago. The soil composition is clay and limestone and the elevation is 280 meters.


Hand-harvested on 9/2 to yields of 40hl/ha. Fermentation was with native yeasts and the wine aged in French oak (10% new) until bottling without fining or filtration on 4/23/20. 1,500 bottles made.


About the grape

Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the US. Winemakers love the green-skinned grape as well because it’s so easy to grow and adapt to many different production techniques. Grown everywhere, Chardonnay’s greatest expressions are widely believed to come from Burgundy. Indeed, this is believed to be where the grape originated. Chablis, in Northern Burgundy and Champagne also offer superlative examples of Chardonnay.


About the Vintage

Historically high temperatures in 2018 but there was plenty of rain as well. Yields were very high and the Chardonnay, surprisingly, offered good energy. The fruit also was intensely concentrated. It certainly had an easier time of it than did the Pinot Noir but unless a vigneron was willing to put quality above finances, the potential for dilute wines was high.


Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru

Roche de Bellene

Roche de Bellene was established in 2008 by Nicolas Potel. It is a diversified and global wine production and trading company. The company includes Domaine de Roche Bellene, which offers wines from estate owned vineyards in 10 different Côte d’Or appellations.


Maison Roche de Bellene is the company’s négociant arm. Potel and his team source grapes from respected and consistent sources throughout the Côte d’Or. All are very old vines from which Roche de Bellene produces white and red wines. Another part of the Maison operation is Collection Bellenum. In the first decade of the 2000’s, Potel began purchasing large quantities of outstanding wines from the personal cellars of 26 domaines, starting with 1959. A wine must be at least 10 years old to be included in this special collection. After extensive tasting to ensure the wines were sound and of high-quality, he offers them with his label. Some of the corks will reveal the seminal source.


Nico is the son of the legendary Volnay producer, Gerard Potel. In addition to learning “at home,” he trained at excellent estates in Australia, California and Burgundy. Potel is widely respected by his peers for his remarkable wine production talents, as well as his keen sense for sourcing grapes and wines.