This is a delicious Bourgogne from Domaine de Bellene. Before I get to the wine, I took away a few of observations from it. First, pinot noir from Burgundy frequently resembles a different grape variety to the vast majority of pinot noirs I taste in Australia. This is not intended as a slight upon Australian pinot noir, of which there are some outstanding examples. It’s just a personal observation, and it is particularly so when I taste these wines blind. The closest match I see in terms of Australian pinot noir styles can be some from Geelong and Gippsland, which happens to correspond with my two favourite local pinot noir regions.
Second, if you can find a good producer, there is value to be had in Burgundy with lesser appellations. Burgundy can be awfully expensive in Australia due to our wine taxation system and the Bourgogne appellation sits at the bottom of the pyramid; yet in the right hands such as Domaine de Bellene in this case deliciousness is possible.
The third (and I promise final!) observation is that the back label of this wine is a wealth of information and is laid out spectacularly well. We quickly learn the average age of the vines is 66 years, vine density is 10,000 feet per hectare, the exposition of the vines is south-south-east, indigenous yeasts were used and the grapes handpicked. In the winery, we equally rapidly learn there’s been no fining, but filtration has been used, and the wine has been aged in oak. This is a lot of really useful information, simply conveyed, while still leaving room for a tribute to the winemaker’s father. Outstanding and so much better than reading the often found generic tasting note that sounds like it’s been written by a copywriter.
The wine itself? It has raspberry, earth and sour cherry aromatics. The palate is textured with chalky and taut tannins, and provides a whole lot of interest for this modest price point and appellation. A yes from me. Rating: Good to Very Good