Domaine de Bellene 2018 'Value' Releases

As I write this email I am sitting in Burgundy having spent the last week tasting through the cellars of some of the greats and revisiting the 2018 vintage, which I first tasted in barrel a year ago. I was keen to see how the vintage had evolved and I am happy to report that there is no shortage of great wines that have both the richness of the year but also good buffering freshness.

One thing about tasting so widely, apart from drinking some pretty rare and beautiful wines, the process also serves to provide context for everything else you taste along the way. One thing, that struck me was that few producers, no matter where they sit on the hierarchy, can match the quality/value proposition of the entry wines from Domaine de Bellene. The 2018s are just excellent and for the money, no one makes better wines at this point in the hierarchy. The Bourgogne in 2018 is rich, ripe and delicious but there's no doubt it's also serious and not some dilute Bourgogne so common when a producer treats their Bourgogne as an after thought rather than a priority. There's tannin here and while it's delicious now it will cellar. Potel treats his as his shingle on the door and the cares shows.

Similarly, the St Romain Blanc is now in such demand that I have to fight for our small allocation each year. In a warmer vintage like 2018 these cooler climats for the whites have benefited rather. The wine has beautiful transparency and terroir definition - mandarine pith and nutty nuance. I love it.

The other wine I have added to the value offering is the Beaune 1er Cru (formerly Cinquantenaire). I managed to extract a big discount on this wine last year and many of you loved it so much you came back for more and kindly sent emails to tell me how good it was. The new vintage is flat out great wine for $88. I mean, 1er Cru of this quality at this price is the stuff of a decade ago. Maybe two decades ago!

In summary, the wines he has released from 2018 are excellent and they are the greatest I have seen from him. The whites have ample weight but the yields of the vintage also mean that they have kept their freshness and clarity so you get a lovely mix of lively richness. The reds have great, power, depth, intensity, structure and concentration but they are by no means overweight, in fact they are well delineated and retain a degree of freshness that's surprising considering their relative sizes and depth. All in all they are striking group that really do justify Nico's excitement.

For those of you who are familiar with the Domaine de Bellene, the story of Nicolas is well-known. Since his foray into a Maison business bearing his name 20 years ago and then with the Domaine de Bellene he has always run counter to the crowd in Burgundy. His infectious energy is underpinned by a huge intellect and clarity of vision about what he wants his domaine and his wines to be.

The first offering of the Domaine de Bellene 2018s are here and as is usual with this release we are offering the value prospects first. I cannot recommend them more highly and for those who opine the loss of affordable Burgundy of quality then I offer these wines as an example that their are still "unicorns" out there and Potel's Domaine de Bellen is one you should grasp with both hands...especially in 2018 vintage!