For years the Domaine Roger Belland has provided Ansonia customers with a wide range of well-priced Burgundies in both red and white. The 2019 vintage is a particularly attractive blend of high quality and ready accessibility, and reminds us why Belland’s wines are always so popular.
The Domaine is based in Santenay, near the southern end of the Côte de Beaune (with only Maranges farther south). The wines from Santenay and Maranges fall on the ripe end of the spectrum of any vintage, due to the Côte de Beaune’s slight right turn at this end to face more directly south.
Belland’s Maranges 1er cru “Clos Roussots” 2019 is a great choice for near-term drinking. There’s ripe red cherry Pinot fruit in the nose and excellent volume in the mouth (but like many 2019s, without any heaviness). Though it has less complexity than its neighbors to the north, it is a nimble wine that will be attractive in a wide range of settings, including all by itself at the end of a work day.
We have two premier cru Santenays to suggest. Many of you have already reserved Gravières, Santenay’s best-known premier cru vineyard, based on last week’s post (link to post here). The 2019 Gravières is a delicious blend of fruit and minerals, with great energy and enough structure to support aging if that’s your choice; but it should also drink well as a young wine.
So many of you buy its premier cru neighbor “Beauregard” every year that we wouldn’t think of leaving it out of this offering. Indeed, 2019 is a very fine year for this wine. This Beauregard has excellent shape and texture. It offers a round and approachable blend of fruit and spice, and though it’s eminently drinkable now there is enough structure to promise good evolution over the next five years or so, depending on storage. Beauregard has a slightly softer structure than Gravières, and a bit more width — both are delicious and excellent values.
Roger Belland’s signature property is a large premier cru monopole in Chassagne-Montrachet, lying right along the border with Santenay. Though its white wine draws more attention, the red is a fine, ageworthy Burgundy in its own right. Like most red Chassagne, the 2019 Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru “Pitois” rouge has a dense supporting structure that needs some time for integration with the other elements: dark currant fruit, spice, earthy minerals, and a nicely balanced dose of oak. This is serious wine, more dry than juicy, and in a few years it should provide a wonderful accompaniment for all manner of roasts, steaks, and chops of beef, pork and veal. Jasper Morris found it “particularly intense” with “light cocoa powder on the red fruit.”
Santenots is that well-known premier cru vineyard that straddles the border between Meursault and Volnay, and takes a different village name for each color. Belland’s Volnay 1er cru “Santenots” is easily his most elegant red wine, with lively aromatics and plenty of substance. Its structure is hidden in the beautiful fruit and its very fine-grained tannins support a wine that will be perfumed, silky, and lacy when it matures. Burghound, who awarded it 92 points, counsels patience for this gem.
Belland also made delicious white Burgundy in 2019. White Santenay suffers from the same lack of attention as Red Chassagne, with the result that very good value can be found in each category. That’s not to say that Belland’s Santenay 1er cru “Beauregard” blanc is the equivalent of his Chassagne 1er cru — but at just over half the price, is very much worth your attention. The 2019 Beauregard blanc has good freshness to support its ripe fruit, a mix of orchard and citrus. The oak trails the assertive fruit at this stage, but the two should knit together soon. Though the wine is ripe, it is not the least flat or flabby, and should provide much enjoyment over the next five years or so. Morris found “a chiseled backbone,” and “just the right degree of flesh.”
Belland’s Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot “Clos Pitois” blanc is delicious in 2019. It has considerable concentration and intensity, and while it will need a bit of time to round out, it will be excellent. There is more minerality and stoniness mixed in with the fruit here, and the nose includes floral notes of white peach flower. This white wine is focused and serious, and should amply reward cellaring. Morris agreed, awarding 93 points and finding “really significant weight to this, and in balance,” concluding “substantial and very long.”
Belland offers a premier cru from each of the other famous white wine villages of the Côte de Beaune. In Puligny-Montrachet, there are vines from the Champs Gains premier cru vineyard. The 2019 has a lovely nose that opens beautifully with an elegant mouthfeel, the oak and fruit in fine balance. There is good freshness, a bit less prominent than that of the Clos Pitois, and the wine is certain to round out before long. With a bit of time this could be a real head-turner.
From the premier cru Santenots vineyard there is a fine Meursault. As you might expect, it has a good deal more body than the Champs Gains from Puligny, but it is powerful and subtle at the same time. With the fruit there are floral notes reminiscent of Meursault’s Genevrieres vineyard. Burghound, who found it “rich and generously proportioned,” found a “blend of lemon-lime, pear, Granny Smith apples and discreet wood nuances.” He thought it would reward 6 to 8 years of cellaring; we think it will also provide great pleasure much sooner.
Finally, the Grand Cru Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet 2019 unquestionably has the size and weight of a Grand Cru. Burghound, who awarded the wine 93 points, found “excellent richness and volume” and a “compact, powerful finish.” There is all sorts of complexity in the flavors, from orchard fruits like peach and apricot, to confit of citrus, to the buttery flavors that come in butter crackers. Morris awarded 94 points, finding it “rectilinear, powerful, balanced, and with Grand Cru persistence.” Tasting this cuvée young often requires us to peer deep into the future to see its potential; the 2019 required no such speculation — it’s young but already enormous. Quite a wine if you have both budget and patience.
Maranges 1er cru “Clos Roussot” 2019: $325
Santenay 1er cru “Beauregard” rouge 2019: $395
Santenay 1er cru “Gravières” rouge 2019: $395
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Pitois” rouge 2019: $595
Volnay 1er cru “Santenots” 2019: $795
Santenay 1er cru “Beauregard” blanc 2019: $450
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Pitois” blanc 2019: $850
Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru “Champs Gains” 2019: $995
Meursault 1er cru “Santenots” 2019: $995
Criots-Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 2019: $3540