2008 Clos de la Roche Maison Roche de Bellene

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Average critic rating : 90.5 points



The Bellene 2008 Clos de la Roche (of which there is the impressive amount of seven barrels, all new) smells of red raspberries in fresh and confitured form, soy, caramel, and resin. Pure, juicy, sweet fruit along with soy, cherry pit and chalk accents come up against rather gum-numbing tannins on the palate and for all of the sheer length exhibited here the wine never lets you forget its 100% new oak. Still, there is a lot to like already; the potential for ten or a dozen years' reward in bottle; and the possibility - if less than a promise - of more finesse and complexity over time. ||Operating with a crew of more than a dozen from the same imposing facility as his domaine (for more about which, consult under -Domaine de Bellene-) Nicolas Potel is assembling contracts (favoring organic and moreover biodynamic growers) to support an array of negociant wines in red and (around one-third) white nearly as vast and as studded with illustrious crus as was that associated with Maison Nicolas Potel (which became a subsidiary of Laboure-Roi in 2003, and from which Potel has been estranged since last year). I find the ambitious scope of this project - encompassing the sophisticated remodeling of an ancient Cistercian press house - even more impressive than I do its two initial collections of wines, but then, the exceptional, often very tiny lots of young wine or fruit that informed the best lots from Maison Nicolas Potel and the degree of control that could be exercised over them are not things one would expect anyone to replicate in two years, not to mention years of meteorological challenge as well.. (All Roche de Bellene contracts so far have been for must or young wine, not fruit.) Since most of the 2008 collection had only just been bottled when I tasted it in March, allowances should be made for the possibility that many wines were suffering from this - I could almost have added a "+?" after each entry - which time did not permit me to re-taste. (And for all of the wines I tasted, and report on below, these do not represent the entire 2008 Roche de Bellene collection, as Potel did not assemble samples for me of a number of wines that were still in barrel at the time of my visit, nor, regrettably, could I have found time to taste them all since I had not anticipated such a vast collection.)||No U.S. importer has yet been named for these wines. eRobertParker.com.June, 2010

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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