MCF Rare Wine

Rouges Gorge and Eparses: Belliviere's Two Loire Legends
I'll never forget the first time I tasted the wines of Domaine de Belliviere.  I was 23 and was attending my very first industry tasting.   (To think of how excited I was to attend something that I now mostly avoid is interesting, but another matter.)  I was mostly just trying to keep up with my Uncle and process everything that was going on in addition to all the wine I was tasting.

As we worked our way along, we came to a table with a row of tall, skinny, orange-capsuled bottles on it.  While I can recall many of the other wines we tasted that day, it was these that, by far, stood out the most.

I had never quite tasted Chenin that expressed so clearly, and all at once, the entire spectrum of the grape's character...and I had never tasted anything period as unique and wildly-flavored as the Pineau d'Aunis 'Rouge Gorge'.

Today I'm reliving that memory by offering what I think are Belliviere's (and the Loire's as a whole) most singular wines - the Eparses VV and the Rouge Gorge.

Both wines are appellation Coteaux du Loire, one of the region's Northernmost (and least recognized).

Let's start with the Eparses, which is comprised of the oldest of Belleviere's Chenin vines.  When I said above that this wine expresses the entire spectrum of Chenin character, here's what I mean: there are screamingly dry and mineral examples of Chenin, textured/off-dry versions of it, and way nutty/oxidative, shape-shifting versions of it.  Eparses (especially in this vintage) somehow manages to be all three.

It's got the nice RS that you associate with the classic, platonic-ideal of Chenin, a very racy, mineral finish that you associate with the drier side of Chenin and interwoven among all of that is this really cool, nutty/oxidative side of Chenin that you find in, say, a Roche aux Moines or Coulée de Serrant.  It's one complete glass of Chenin that you can easily open and drink over the course of two weeks, as each day you come back it will be a slightly different wine.  You can also forget about this in the cellar for a couple of decades too.

When I say that I'd never tasted anything like the Rouge Gorge, I really mean it, and there's not a lot that I've tasted like it since.  Pineau d'Aunis is one of the Loire's more obscure red varietals and, while it's always had a place in the geek circles over the last couple of decades, examples of it still aren't that numerous.

The Rouge Gorge is the most Pineau d'Aunis-y of them all.  Its rather aggressively vegetal/peppery profile puts out one of the most uniquely savory bouquets in wine.  Every manner of savory nuance in the wine universe seems to lurk inside it.  On the palate, a soft, delicate red fruit is again accompanied by a rack full of savory.  The firm backbone of acidity imparts a rather impressive structure to what feels like an otherwise dainty wine.  It's definitely best with some bottle age on it, but in a vintage like 2015, you can get away with it young.  Just fasten your seat belt.  


Matt Franco
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10014