Domaine de Bellene Coteaux Bourguignons L'Eclos des Abeille Chardonnay 2018

Potel is now an old hand in the Côte and it shows as the quality is excellent. Stylistically, if you’ve enjoyed the Potel wines in the past, there is no reason that you would not enjoy either variation of the Bellene wines as they are classic in the best sense of the term. BURGHOUND

Coteaux Bourguignons? I know there will be a lot of savvy Burgundy drinkers shaking their heads at the moment wondering how I misspelled Bourgogne so badly. Coteaux Bourguignons, for a little reference point, was created in 2011 to allow producers in the region more freedom to blend wines, among varieties and throughout a larger area. It is designed to promote Burgundy that is of real quality but perhaps fits outside the traditional constraints of AOC regulations. All reasonably uninteresting stuff on the face of it. To Nic Potel this was a breath of fresh air and a way for him to move more freely with some ideas he had been working towards for years.

Michael and I were talking to him at his house in Beaune in 2019 about his frustrations with a number of restrictions that inhibited him from doing some things he thought he needed to achieve in his seemingly endless obsession to create special wines. That is a situation that winemakers in a country like Australia simply don’t understand, being told what you can and can’t do in certain situations on their journey to craft wines that speak clearly of their passion. Imagine the frustration certain rules would cause a restless wine intellect like Nicolas Potel.

One of the principles that drives Nic is to craft wine to be consumed that is accessible, affordable and enjoyable but that also sings of the native Burgundian terroir. Something reflected in a number of his offerings but none more so than his Bourgogne Rouge. For as long as I have been drinking his wines he has talked about his Bourgogne Rouge being the cornerstone of the domaine and the most important wine he makes as it allows consumers to catch a glimpse in to the house style at a reasonable price and is often the first wine anyone tastes from his estate. It is more than just that, Nic always holds to the notion that this wine needs to over deliver in every conceivable way and give his clients a wine that they can drink at their leisure and was affordable.

He was perpetually frustrated that he could not replicate this with a white wine. The solution, finally, was Coteaux Bourguignons, released for the first time in the 2018 vintage with a blend of vineyards in Nuits St Georges and St Romaine. Nico hasn’t pulled any punches here. This is an emphatic statement of the quality he intends to produce under this label in future releases. The quality at this price point for Burgundy is absolutely sensational. In part the reasoning behind releasing the wine first with the 2018 vintage was that, as he states in an interview on Burghound, he believes they are “the best that I have ever made!”.

Initially we shipped a small allotment of the wine along with his other 2018s but the ongoing demand from customers who have purchased some has been remarkable and so we have re ordered more, enough hopefully so we can keep up with demand for a while.

The second shipment is due at any moment now and, as I mentioned before, has already garnered a huge following with our customers. Anyone familiar with Bellene’s whites will know just how good they are normally and I would suggest that this is the equal of his two more premium bottlings in 2018, it is that good. for anyone not familiar with the wines his style is an easy mix of racy minerality and bright fruit, usually whites of comfortable sophistication. This bottling has a snappy saline twang that resounds on the finish and is genuinely invigorating to drink. I think Tim Aitken MW sums it up perfectly in his note in Decanter magazine, below.

We are extremely excited to officially launch this wine to our customers and as an added incentive we are offering it with a more than 25% discount in straight six packs or dozens to encourage everyone to grab some of this brilliant white Burgundy from one of the regions great innovators.