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Domaine Bellegarde Jurancon 1995

Domaine Bellegarde Jurançon 1995

Domaine Bellegarde Jurancon 1995I’m a sucker for Jurançon, a region where the wines revolve around two grape varieties, the Petit Manseng and the Gros Manseng, and many examples see the two blended together (as is the case with this week’s wine). For example, I recently found myself once more in raptures over a tasting of wines from Domaine Cauhapé in the company of estate manager Edouard de Ros. There is more to Jurançon than Cauhapé, though, as this week’s wine should, in theory, demonstrate.

This week I taste the 1995 vintage from Domaine Bellegarde. In the bottle, which is made from clear glass as is often the case with these deliciously sweet wines, as it is in Sauternes and Barsac, the wine has a rich, golden hue. This carries through to the glass, where it displays an intense yet vibrant colour with hints of green alongside. The nose, however, is surprisingly muted. The wine was bottled under an agglomerate cork, which inevitably increases the risk of the wine being corked (certainly this is my experience, and there seems good plausibility to the explanation as to why this might be), but there is nothing here to suggest this is the case with this wine. The only telltale note I pick up is a faint, chemical-glue smell which comes from the adhesive used in the cork. How infuriating that despite so much effort in the vineyard and cellar, the character of a wine can be so easily dominated by the piece of bark that sits above it. Fortunately this wine shows a little better on the palate, where there is richness and texture, although it has a rather deep, solid, fruitcake character rather than the bright, vibrant, focused one which I might have hoped for. There is some good orange leaf flavour, but overall it is rather withdrawn, and I find the acidity a little low to be really seduced by this wine. And, to continue my criticism, the finish is rather short and a touch chemical. Over the next hour or so though, it does firm up somewhat. I am in no position to judge Domaine Bellegarde on this solitary encounter with one of their wines, but all in all, this has been a rather underwhelming experience. 14/20 (26/3/07)

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