Our tasting impressions
The first bottle Nico opened for us and it is a joyful wine! So bright and mineral-flavored. The aromatics are lively. It has so much lift, you get the impression it’s levitating in your mouth. This is sooo Chassagne...and Chassagne is such a beautiful thing.
About this wine
Chassagne-Montrachet is one of the premier appellations for white Burgundy. This 100% Chardonnay village wine is from 2 vineyards planted 55 years ago in clay & limestone soil. The plots total a half hectare and face southeast at an elevation of 270 meters.
Grapes were handpicked on 9/4-6 and yields were 42 hl/ha. Fermentation was by native yeast. Aging was in oak barrels (10% new). Malolactic fermentation was done and bottling took place on 12/10/18. 3,000 bottles were produced.
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 (winemaker’s perspective)
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.
On your table
We enjoyed the 2016 at our 2019 Spring Feast with Roasted Shrimp Salad, Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion, Radish and Avocado Dressing. Serve just below cellar temperature. Drink now or hold for the mid-long term.
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 the Bellenum Collection. Potel purchases collections of outstanding wines from the vintages 1959-2006. After ensuring the quality, he rebottles these treasures before making them available for purchase.
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.