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2010 Beaune Grèves, 1er cru, Domaine de Bellene
While running Maison Nicolas Potel in Nuits St Georges, Nicolas Potel set up his négociant company in 1997, the year after his father’s death and the sale of Domaine de la Pousse d’Or which Gérard Potel had been managing. Though his own business was taken over by the Cottin brothers of Maison Labouré-Roi in 2004, Nicolas continued to run the operation until 2009 while looking out for vineyard land of his own. In 2005 he was able to buy some vineyards (the former Domaine Carementrant, in Beaune) though the 2005 and 2006 crops were included in his négociant operation, then bottled as Domaine Nicolas Potel for 2007. The concern has been renamed Domaine de Bellene from the 2008 vintage onwards.
From the 2007 vintage Domaine Potel has been up and running in some marvellous old cellars, renovated to an ecologically admirable standard (‘Haute Qualité Environnementale'), on the Dijon road out of Beaune. Including some farming contracts, the domaine now comprises 22 hectares as below. The vineyards are being converted to organic farming, with some biodynamic elements.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
The wines of Beaune are usually on the lighter side, especially if from the flatter vineyards on the Pommard side, or the sandier soils towards Savigny. The sturdiest wines with the greatest depth of flavour come from the steeper slopes overlooking the town itself.The Hospices de Beaune charity auction on the third Sunday in November is one of the highlights of the year. The Hospices building, known as l'Hôtel-Dieu, is well worth visiting. Beaune is also home to several of the region’s best known merchants such as Maisons Louis Jadot and Joseph Drouhin.
- 128 hectares of village Beaune and 52 hectares of Côte de Beaune
- 322 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards. The finest vineyards include Les Grèves, Clos des Mouches
- Recommended producers: Germain, Devevey, Domaine des Croix, Jadot, Drouhin, Camille Giroud.
- Recommended restaurants: Ma Cuisine (not least for the wine list), Le Conty