Our tasting impressions
If aromatics could speak, this one's would scream Grand Cru and with time in the glass, they go from scintillating to incredible. At this stage, the body is a bit light (I expect that will change in time) but it really spreads out on the palate. There is some oak expression but it seems to be integrating already. A fabulous, young BBM!
About this wine
One of just 6 Grand Cru Chardonnay vineyards in the Côte de Beaune, Bienvenue-Bâtard Montrachet is about 3.4ha that sits below Bâtard Montrachet in Puligny. It received its top classification in 1937.
Potel sources his B-BM Chardonnay from a 50 year-old plot of just .041ha that faces southeast at an elevation of 250m. The soil is clay and limestone. Yields are 35hl/ha. The manual harvest took place on 9/7/17.
Fermentation was with indigenous yeasts. The wine aged in oak barrels (50% new) until it was bottled with filtration but no fining on 5/23/2019. A mere 192 bottles were 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.
Nicolas' view of the vintage
Freezing April temperatures jeopardized the new buds. Strategic fires were set to protect them and most were saved. From there on, weather conditions were fine. A summer drought helped to advance maturing and ripening in the grapes.
September harvest conditions were ideal. The fine and abundant crop required no chaptalization or other interventions. The vintage is largely approachable and enjoyable early yet should cellar nicely.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
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.