2012 Chambolle Musigny Maison Roche de Bellene

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Average critic rating : 87.0 points



The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Village has a generous, almost sumptuous bouquet with rounded red berry fruit infused with tertiary/forest floor aromas this is very satisfying at this level. The palate is medium-bodied with a stern opening at odds with the nose, but it is taut, fresh and focused with appealing linearity on the finish. Fine. ||Burgundy needs personalities and they do not come much bigger than Nicolas Potel. He’s been on the scene ever since I remember him attending some of the London primeur tastings back in the late 1990s. His path to success has never been straightforward: working his way around Australia and California, starting a small negoce a year before the untimely passing of his father and the sale of the Pousse d’Or estate; the sudden explosion of cuvees under his Maison Nicolas Potel label that ultimately led to liquidity problems and the sale to Cottin Freres; the debacle of then being fired from the brand that bore his own name in 2009 and finally, the creation of Domaine de Bellene from his base in Beaune. The maison was amid renovation when I called in on a freezing Thursday evening for a comprehensive tasting of both domaine and negociant wines. Fortunately, there are no longer the 100+ crus of Maison Nicolas Potel back in the 1990s, but through his numerous friends and contacts, Nicolas has still managed to accumulate a considerable portfolio that includes a number of grand crus. And he knows that with such a diverse array of wines, it is vital to keep an eye on standards. To this end, he has adopted organic viticulture in his vineyards, prudently using whole cluster ferments and monitoring the use of new oak so that it is commensurate with the fruit concentration, in particular through his judicious use of larger 600-litre barrels. I guess in some ways you can draw parallels with the Remoissenet operation nearby: focusing on quality at various price points across a broad range of appellations and crus. Nicolas himself is and always has been quite a character. I can imagine when he was younger and working in Australia he had no problem keeping up with the obligatory beer consumption. He is always candid about the goings on in Burgundy, and I sensed that he acknowledges the importance of building Domaine de Bellene and Maison Roche de Bellene into long-term, stable and viable brands after the trials of the past. In this respect he is doing a great job, because these were mainly excellent wines. Not every single wine was without fault, but as a range of wines and given the reasonable prices asked, one can have few complaints. Echoing the sentiments at Remoissennet, there is a burgeoning need for such wines. Not everyone can afford Roumier or DRC. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013

The highly respected Burgundian winemaker, Nicolas Potel, decided to launch his own negociant business in 1996 following the death of his father and subsequent sale of Domaine Pousse d’Or, which his father had been managing and where Potel had been learning make wine. In 2005, he created his own estate, Domaine de Bellene in the Cote de Beaune with 15 ha of organic vines. This was followed by the launch of his new negociant business, Maison Roche de Bellene, in 2008 when he departed from SAS Nicolas Potel Company.Potel’s philosophy is to focus on offering the finest wines in the Cote d’Or, concentrating mainly on the Cote de Nuits with the widest selection of Grand Crus in Burgundy.He has recently launched Collection Bellenum - a range of rare older vintages. Potel’s years as a fruit buyer for his negociant line makes him one of the best connected men in Burgundy. He is extremely passionate about old wines and through his contacts has gained access to the private reserves of some of the best growers in the region.Collection Bellenum is a parcel of these very special wines. Potel tasted over 1000 wines for the range, but selected only the finest 100 with vintages dating from 1959 to 2006.

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