Domaine de Bellivière, 2018 Update

I make no secret of the fact I place Eric Nicolas, of Domaine de Bellivière, on the very top tier of Loire Valley vignerons. He works in a somewhat obscure corner of the region; I say that because, despite travelling to the Loire Valley multiple times over the last fifteen years, my knowledge of the wines of the Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loir appellations is still limited to just a handful of names. And yet Eric’s wines could hold their own against any from more famous vineyards in Vouvray or Savennières. Indeed, they would put many of them to shame.

Domaine de Bellivière

His wines can be challenging (but not impossible) to get hold off, although largely this is down to the limited volumes he produces (a consequence of his commitment to organics and some recent difficult vintages) rather than the unobtainable pricing that characterises some Loire Valley cult wines, such as those of Clos Rougeard, and increasingly those of Richard Leroy too. I sometimes wonder if the application of ‘cult status’ to Loire Valley wines depends as much on the simplicity of the portfolio (two or three wines is best), or the facial hair of the vigneron in question (the more voluminous the moustache or beard, the higher the prices) as it does the actual quality of what is in the bottle.

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