The magic of Clos 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.
“Deep glistening ruby-red. Spice- and mineral-accented ripe red berries and cherry on the nose, along with suggestions of garrigue and baking spices. Intense raspberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavours show excellent focus and become deeper and sweeter as the wine opens up. The floral note carries strongly through a very long, energetic finish shaped by smooth tannins.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Dec 2019