2018 Domaine Belargus Quarts Quarts de Chaumes Grand Cru (375ml)
Domaine Belargus is the realisation of a dream by former Parisian investor Ivan Massonnat. While it was his love and respect for Burgundy that ignited his passion for wine, his family connection to Chinon opened his eyes to the potential of Chenin Blanc from the great terroirs of the Loire Valley. A chance encounter with retiring vigneron Jo Pithon lead the pair to meet at the foot of the legendary Coteau des Treilles vineyard one frosty morning, and the fate of each was sealed. Further acquisitions followed, including one quarter of Les Quarts in the historic heart of the Quarts-de-Chaume appellation, along with sites across the river in Savennières. This new estate is 100% dedicated to Chenin Blanc and celebrates the grape's versatility regarding terroirs and wine style. Ivan has installed a young team, and together they are currently converting to biodynamics, with a single-plot approach inspired by Ivan's first love: Burgundy.
Adapting their approach each vintage, the various plots are harvested at their optimum maturity at incredibly low yields of around 25 hectolitres per hectare. Fermentation occurs in barrel using indigenous yeasts, and can last from less than a month to more than a year, depending on each plot and the vintage characteristics. This is one of the most exciting new ventures in France today, and should appease lovers of high quality, terroir specific wines.
"Les Quarts" is the original plot that gave its name to the Quarts-de-Chaume appellation. The magic of the Quarts-de-Chaume terroir is the sunny hillside facing south, exposed to the morning mists of the Layon river and ventilated by constant winds resulting in a botrytis of rare concentration. The schists in the subsoil give this cuvée a vertical structure and an elegant freshness.
"Les Quarts is the original plot that gave its name to the Quarts-de-Chaume appellation," reminds Ivan Massonnat, spiritus rector of Domaine Belargus. The Quarts-de-Chaume terroir—a sunny, south-facing hillside on schists, exposed to the morning mists of the Layon River and ventilated by constant winds—results in "a botrytis of rare concentration," says Massonnat, as the 2018 Quarts-de-Chaume Grand Cru Liquoreux Les Quarts demonstrates impressively. Amber-orange colored, the nose is deep, intense and concentrated, very complex and elegant, with spicy and balsamic apricot notes, nougat and porcini aromas as well as flinty-mineral notes and associations of crispy ham hock. Round, smooth and sweet but with great finesse and elegance, this is a rich yet almost weightless and perfectly balanced liquoreux from the central Les Quarts plot of the QDC appellation that develops a vertical, highly stimulating and filigreed structure that leads to a long, crisp and frisky piquancy and salty finesse that makes this grand cru wine extremely digestible, even at this very early stage. Belargus's 2018 Les Quarts pairs richness and sweetness with crystalline finesse and elegance in an unrivaled way. A fabulous, irresistible grand cru! 11% alcohol. Tasted in June 2021. Drink 2021 - 2100.
Stephan Reinhardt - Wine Advocate (July 2021)
South-facing plot on pudding-stone bedrock. More gingerbread than Les Rouères, Les Quarts displays right from the first whiff all its power and complexity. Density and energy join forces for a full, unctuous wine with significant ageing potential. Superb. Drinking Window 2030 - 2060.
Yohan Castaing - Decanter
One of two cuvées currently made available in this appellation, this comes from 3.08 hectares of vines planted on schist with a south-facing slope of 10% to 20%. The team filled several barrels ranging from new to a few years old, and this is a sample from a new barrel. The nose is simply huge and well-toasted, loaded with scented vanillin lactones, carrying rich scents of dried fruits especially dried fig. I find the same character on the palate, the oak showing quite strongly, but it soon opens up to release the fruit as it fills out on the palate. It presents seams of dried fruits, dried figs, dates and raisins, with a soft and slightly chalky phenolic backbone, and the requisite acidity. I think there is fine potential here but it is a bit difficult to predict from this limited oak-dominated sample.
Chris Kissack - Winedoctor