The magic of Close Bellane comes from southern Rhône varieties grown in that region’s coolest clime: the estate’s elevation (high) and aspect (east-facing) and location (north) come together to mitigate the region’s heat. It’s a unique spot. The fruit is slow to mature, the wines are a pleasure to unwind. This one gets its name from the soil where the vines grow, rooted in ancient Urgonian limestone.
Stéphane Vedeau hand-harvests organically-grown fruit from his steep vineyards high in the hills above the valley. On average, the vines are 30 years old. Bunches were de-stemmed and fermented by native yeast, pumped over and punched down, and remained on skins for three to four weeks in total. Following malolactic fermentation, the wine spent 12 to 15 months ageing, 80% in concrete, 20% in one to two-year-old oak barrels. The wine was treated with minimal sulfur and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The final blend is 75% Grenache, the remainder Mourvèdre.
You’ll know this isn’t your average Châteauneuf-du Pape by the nose alone, sultry and inviting and full of blackberry and mixed herbs: lavender, fennel, garrigue, and cinnamon. The palate matches black cherry and fig with licorice and pepper. Fresh, lively acidity and polished tannins lead into a long, clean finish. This is a surprising, beautifully complex, utterly delicious, mineral-driven Châteauneuf-du-Pape, focused and elegant.
“These impeccable beauties are made by Stephane Vedeau, who’s the driving force behind the quality coming from his Ferme du Mont estate in Châteauneuf du Pape. The deep ruby/purple colored 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Urgonien gives up outstanding notes of plums, strawberries, violets and spice, as well as a beautifully textured, layered style on the palate. The tannin is present, yet sweet and nicely polished, which will keep this drinking nicely in its youth.”
(90-92) points, Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2016