From Our Cellar

Domaine Belle Crozes-Hermitage Roche Blanche Blanc 2017

Domaine Belle


Our tasting impressions

Our first ever offering of white Crozes and this one is special.  The aromatics transport you to this historic vineyard by way of the strong clay and mineral notes.  A slight musky note means this could only be a white from the Rhône Valley.  It’s medium to full bodied and the palpable viscosity demonstrates the old vines as does the complexity.  The wine is uncommonly acidic for Marsanne and this helps to contribute to a long finish that suggests spiciness. 


Aging wines like this is a highly personal call.  I lean toward enjoying over the next few years while fresh and bright but I likley will stash a bottle or two to see what develops over the mid term.


About this wine

100% Marsanne from 80 year old vines in a vineyard in the village of Larnage near the 300 year old ruins of Château Larnage.  The soil is Kaolin (white clay & limestone) or Terres Blanches .  The vineyard approach is Lutte Raisonée, organic fertilization and hand harvest with low yields of 30 hl/ha. 


Vinification is at low temperature in oak barrels - 25% new/40% one-year old/35% 2-years old. Aged 12 months in same barrels on fine lees with malolactic fermentation.


About the grape

Marsanne thrives on steep, rocky slopes.  It likes a dry climate as it is prone to mildew and oidium - though it does like some summer rain.  It is crucial to pick the grapes just prior to ripening to maximize their limited acidity, which helps highlight their virtues - good body, richness, sweetness, fatness and an oily texture. 


About the vintage (Domaine perspective)

2017 is a magnificent vintage, one of the most beautiful in the 28 years of the Domaine.  Spring was nice and the vineyard was spared the frost, allowing early budding.  A hot and dry summer resulted in optimal maturity and health for the grapes.


On your table...

Consider crab in a mango cream sauce.  Serve slightly chilled.


Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté

Domaine Belle

The property of the current Domaine Belle can trace its winemaking roots back to the 17th Century. 

Today, Philippe Belle carries on the commitment to the highest standards of excellence in vineyard maintenance and winemaking.  The Domaine covers 25-hectares, six communes and produces red (Syrah) and white (Marsanne & Roussane) wine and apricots from the orchard tended by Philippe’s brother, Jean-Claude.

Farming practices feature close pruning, very moderate application of organic fertilizers, mechanical working of the soil, reasoned use of natural phytosanitary treatments, leaf thinning, green harvesting when necessary, and manual harvesting.  Philippe is steadfastly committed to low yields. 

Their wines are pure expressions of the region’s wonderful terroir.