2019 Domaine Belargus Anjou Noir Anjou
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.
Anjou Noir is a regional cuvée that provides the gateway to the Belargus universe. It results from a blend of the Domaine's vines and provides a snapshot of the various terroir worked by the team. Produced for the first time in 2019, this emblematic cuvée of the Domaine benefits from a minimum aging of one year in vats and barrels, and expresses the quintessence of Chenin on schist. As a tribute to its region of origin, it is simply called "Anjou Noir".
Produced for the first time, the straw-yellow 2019 Anjou Noir blends different south- and north-facing schist vineyards in Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay and opens with a finely intense, even complex, pure and coolish schist bouquet with ripe and concentrated lemon and stone fruit aromas. Aged on the lees for a year, the 2019 also has white floral aromas and a serious terroir expression. The stony notes become even more intense and pure with more aeration, and I absolutely like that. Lush and round yet very elegant on the palate, with dense fruit, a fine acidity/tannin structure and a long and aromatic finish, this is a full-bodied, concentrated and perhaps more textured yet also more tannic dry Chenin compared to the, for now, lovely puristic and fresh 2020 successor. This is a serious terroir wine that I would cellar for a few years and serve for many years. 14% alcohol. Tasted in June 2021. Drink 2023 - 2038.
Stephan Reinhardt - Wine Advocate (July 2021)