From Our Cellar

Maison Roche de Bellene Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes 2017

Roche de Bellene

Our tasting impressions

True to its terroir, this Puligny is the steeliest of the 3 village wines. Impeccable balance and razor-sharp precision make this wine appealing to the heart and mind. Drink now for fruit or hold for more complexity. This is so good, we didn’t bother with a 1er Cru Puligny.


About this wine

Many consider Puligny-Montrachet the pinnacle of Côte de Beaune Chardonnay. This village wine is from 3 vineyards planted 42-62 years ago in clay & limestone soil. The exposure is east/southeast and elevation 280 meters.


Grapes were handpicked on 9/5-7 and yields were 45 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.


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.


On your table

I usually reach for red Burgundy with salmon but if feeling paler, Puligny and pan roasted salmon can be a revelation. Serve the wine slightly chilled.


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 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.