Domaine de Bellivière, 2014 Update

Eric Nicolas of Domaine de Bellivière remains, in my book, one of the top names of the Loire Valley. And yet, considering he turns out a some superb wines, striking in their crystalline purity and confidence, he always seems remarkably sanguine whenever I meet him. There is no bluster and bluff with Eric it seems.

That his wines hit such heights is all the more remarkable when we remember that we are in Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loir here, some way north of Vouvray, the climate cool and occasionally rather damp. It is this challenging climate that perhaps confers such a wonderfully precise, crystalline character to his wines. But the climate here can also be cruel, as was the case in 2012; most of Eric’s crop in this vintage was wiped out by the inclement weather, and he made only 20% of his normal volume. This is why, looking back over my notes, they move directly from 2011 to 2013; the volumes made were tiny and Eric’s stocks are already exhausted or close to it.

Eric Nicolas, Domaine de Bellivière

And so the focus of this tasting was the 2013 vintage. I met up with Eric (pictured above) in February 2014 to get the low-down on how the 2013 growing season had gone – better than 2012, I hoped – and also taste some wines of course, or rather a selection of very young 2013 barrel samples.

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