Domaine de Bellene was established in 2005 when several of Nicolas Potel's growers proposed that he take over their vineyards. Nicolas viewed this as the ideal opportunity to realize his long-held desire to control the entire production chain from vineyard to market in order to ensure the highest level of authenticity and quality.
The origin of the name "Bellene" comes from the name of the city of Beaune. Centuries ago, the town was called "Belena" of the God of the Sun "Belenos" then "Beaulne" and finally Beaune, which translates the desire to make the estate a reference for the wines of Beaune.
In 2006, Nicolas acquired the Domaine located on Faubourg Saint Nicolas in Beaune. Originally a Cistercian abbey built in the 16th century, the cellars and buildings have since been renovated according to very strict environmental standards (following Canada’s Haute Qualité Environnementale regulations). Today, Nicolas integrates the idea of environmental responsibility into all aspects of the estate – buildings, vineyards, cellar work, energy conservation and generation and packaging materials.
"What I am searching for is definition — definition of place." - Nicolas Potel
|Beaune, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Saint-Romain, Santenay, Savigny-lès-Beaune, Volnay, Vosne-Romanée
(SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC)
Domaine de Bellene now owns 60 acres of vineyards throughout the Côte d’Or from Santenay in the south to Vosne Romanée in the north. The focus is on vieilles vignes (old vines – 40 years or older) in distinctive terroirs. Newly acquired parcels of very old vines have been renewed overtime and, in some cases, replanted by sélection massale — no clones are used. During harvest, careful and selective hand picking into small bins ensures that the best fruit reaches the winery in perfect condition.
Nicolas uses a minimalist approach to winemaking. Fermentation starts naturally with indigenous yeasts. No enzymes, cultured yeasts or acid adjustments are used, and filtration is avoided. The winery facility is equipped with temperature control, stainless steel tanks for fermentation, a gentle destemming machine, a vibrating sorting table, a pneumatic horizontal press for the reds and a stainless steel vertical basket press for the whites — all in a gravity-flow arrangement that eliminates the need for harsh pumping.
Pinot Noir – Depending on the vintage, fruit is gently destemmed but not crushed, and the whole berries are transferred to the fermenters by gravity. In most years, a few days of cold maceration are allowed before fermentation begins to extract color and natural enzymes from the skins. During fermentation, no artificial light is allowed in order to minimize the loss of beneficial, light-sensitive compounds, such as resvératrol. Pump-overs of the must are also done with gravity, and pigeage is employed to gently break up the cap.
Chardonnay – Fruit is pressed in a manually operated, vertical basket press, which allows for long, gentle pressing over six to eight hours. This results in clear juice that does not need filtration. It also allows immediate oxidation of those compounds that are sensitive to oxygen, thus reducing the risk of premature oxidation of the finished wines and minimizing the need for sulfur. Gravity flow is then used once again to move the wines gently from the fermenters to the barrels.