Our tasting impressions
Leave it to Potel (and his Collection Bellenum program) to unearth a healthy stash of 10-year old Meursault from this top 1er Cru vineyard. The aromatics are hypnotizing. The freshness belies its age. It tastes bright, creamy and citrusy. It is incredibly complex and we expect that will continue to build. A real treat and very attractively priced.
About this wine
Despite having no Grand Cru vineyards, Meursault is considered one of the big 3 Chardonnay appellations of the Côte de Beaune. The 1er Cru vineyard Genevrières is one of the best (French for juniper, which was planted here prior to grapes). It is in the southern portion of the village, along with the other 2 top vineyards - Charmes & Perrières. The soil is limestone and the vines are optimally south and southeast facing.
550 bottles of the 2011 were made available as part of Potel's Bellenum Collection. He purchases bottled wines from cellars of top producers, after careful consideration, and re-labels them.
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
Meursault was one of the brightest stars of this curious but ultimately very good vintage. Flowering was early and the harvest was done by the end of August. In between, a huge array of weather phenomena posed challenges to farmers. Overall, a vintage that emphasizes finesse and delicacy more than power and ripeness.
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.