Our tasting impressions
Stylistically, Les Frionnes 2019 is very different from Potel's Chatenière from the same vintage. Frionnes offers purer and deeper mineral flavors. It's more energized and leaner. The length is good and showcases the vanilla flavors from the oak. This is terrific, young 1er Cru Saint Aubin.
About this wine
Located just outside the town of Saint Aubin, Les Frionnes is a small 3ha vineyard facing southeast. This top 1er Cru also covers wines produced from Es Champs and Les Perrières.
The Chardonnay comes from a .3ha plot planted on average 29 years ago in clay & limestone soil. The exposure of the vineyard is south and is at an elevation of 300 meters.
Grapes were handpicked on 9/17 and yields were 54 hl/ha. Fermentation was by native yeast. Aging was in oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation was done and bottling took place on 3/8/21. 2,000 bottles were produced fined and filtered.
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
The 2019 vintage confirms the climatic upheaval we have known since the beginning of this century. The start of the vegetative cycle occurred early. The buds began their growth in the third week of March, exposing the vine to a high risk of spring frosts. April was very hot, allowing rapid growth of the vines. At the very beginning of June, the first flowers appeared. The summer was marked by two heat waves in mid-June and mid-July causing significant water stress. Rainfall in August allowed the vines to recover and veraison began in early August. We began harvesting on September 14 and finished on September 25. The grapes, of very high quality and maturity.
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.