Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wine Review: Maison Roche de Bellene Bourgogne (Pinot Noir) Vieilles Vignes 2011

Let me see, let me see... how many Burgundy's have I reviewed... hmmm... it appears I have reviewed none.... NONE? I've been doing this blog for a year and I haven't reviewed a Burgundy yet? Well that will have to be fixed immediately, won't it? Let's pour some Pinot down the hatch!

So what I've got right here was suggested by Alexandre leclercq, a French fellow from Burgundy that now lives in Chicago. Alex and I have spent some time on Twitter sharing bottle shots and the occasional friendly argument over things like the official definition of wine. He's a good guy with a wealth of knowledge on French wine, so when he posted a picture of a bottle that I could obtain that day in my own place of employment I jumped on it.

Domaine de Bellene is a Burgundian Domaine that was founded in 2005 by Nicolas Potel after he left Domaine de la Pousse d'Or, which he inherited from his deceased father. He founded negociant Maison Roche de Bellene in 2009. According to Alex, Nicholas is in love with anything organic. Their water is recycled, their labeling is recycled, the glue is organic, they don't filter, they don't fine (almost), and they don't use commercial yeast. You name it they reuse it and do it organically. All the vines at the Domaine properties (owned and rented) are 50 to 100 years old, while all the growers he buys from for the Maison are certified biodynamic with 40 year old vines or older.

Pinot Noir is tough, man. I feel like I'm not impressed with it as often as I should be. Too often it's too light, too big, too brett-y, too coppery, too raspberry, or too bland. But it can never be too dirty. I like it dirty. I want it to fill my mouth with mud and leave me naked and shattered on the floor like a broken toy. Awkward...

So on with the tasting notes. The color of the wine is ruby with the light density that you'd expect from a Burgundy or a Pinot without Mega Purple or Petite Sirah. An alien sight nowadays.

Beach sand is the first scent I get on the nose, and then anise, caramel and tobacco show up. The more I smell the more the anise strengthens with the rising alcohol vapors. Flaming Sambucca shots all around! On the beach! I hid the shotglasses in my mom's old packs of Pall Malls! Let's do it!

Better Call Saul
I was messaging Alex at this point and telling him about what I was smelling. He thought I was nuts. He said there's no anise and a lot of cherries, so I retorted that I totally got no fruit on the nose at all. He then told me to go change tomorrow at Walmart, it's full of fruit. I'm not sure what that meant but as an American my natural instinct is to sue the bastard. I know who I better call tomorrow...

So the palate is full of fruit, I'll give him that. It's a cherry and cranberry and flat cola extravaganza. But the most important part is that it doesn't have that watered down feel to it like a lot of affordable red Burgundy is plagued with around these parts. The body is light but solid. The flavor is full instead of thinned out. The acidity is very much a major factor in the wine but it's backed up with the body and flavor, so it isn't running around out of control like my four year old at bedtime. This is balance. This is the kind of stuff I usually can't afford.

The finish is pretty long lasting with cranberry and Grey Earl tea, which I guess could also be described as minty and tannic if you want to get less impressive with it.

Towards the end of the bottle the fruit on the nose that Alex talked about started to come out. If when he said that it smelled like "red crunch berries" that he meant "Cap'n Crunch Berries" then he was absolutely 100% right. If he meant some kind of variety of berry that I'm completely unaware of then he's a damned liar. But Cap'n Crunch Berries is exactly what this wine smells like after it's been allowed to open up and settle down. If you wanted to, you could totally decant this bitch.

$20 is what this wine will cost you. That is fucking STUPID. A perfectly balanced Burgundy just doesn't happen like that.

Price: $20
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended.
(what does that mean?)

The bottle used was purchased by myself for the purpose of this review.

Thank you to @aleclercq on Twitter!


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