Domaine de Bellivière, 2017 Update

If there is one domaine in the Loire Valley that epitomises the requirement to look outside the most famous appellations in order to find the best wines, then it is surely Domaine de Bellivière. If you had told me twenty years ago that each year I would make a beeline to taste the wine of a domaine working exclusively in the Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir appellations, I suspect my response might have been “where?”. But in this cool, northerly corner of the Loire Valley, proprietor Eric Nicolas, a paragon of perseverance who is devoted to his vines, brings forth wines of such crystalline purity and focus that I regard this as one of the region’s very top domaines. How could I miss checking out the latest vintage?

Domaine de Bellivière

The Wines

The tasting focused largely on the 2015 vintage, with a couple of interlopers from 2014. After several difficult vintages, which saw Eric struggle with rot in 2011, followed by a very short crop in 2012 (picking just 20% of the usual volume), and mid-harvest rains in 2013, it is good to know that the 2014 and 2015 vintages have been more benevolent. Eric described the 2015 vintage in glowing terms. “It was a beautiful harvest, because it was dry, and the stress was very good for the quality of the fruit. The grapes were ripe, but not too ripe, with good acidity”.

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