Proponents of Chenin Blanc will tout its versatility and adaptability in the vineyard, cellar, and at the table. Like Riesling […]Keep Reading
Proponents of Chenin Blanc will tout its versatility and adaptability in the vineyard, cellar, and at the table. Like Riesling and Pinot Noir, it is a keen conduit of terroir, and it is transfixing to trace its development as it ages in bottle. Chenin’s great estates are almost exclusively dedicated to a single terroir or closely grouped minor variations on a theme.
That is until now.
Domaine Belargus was created in 2018 after Jo Pithon sold his estate to Ivan Massonnat. Though born in the Savoie, Ivan is a passionate wine enthusiast with family roots in Chinon. He has long believed in Chenin Blanc’s potential for diverse terroir expression equal to Pinot Noir in Burgundy. Now totaling 24 hectares, Ivan has assembled a collection of parcels and monopoles in the Anjou Noir – the geologically complex and ancient volcanic vineyard lands that stretch from Savennières in the northwest to Bonnezeaux in the southeast. The reputation of this region was established by religious orders, which planted these vineyards in the 11th century, and the royal courts across Europe that served these wines until phylloxera devasted the region in the late 19th century. The famous hillside of Chaume was replanted in the early 20th century and was awarded the only 1er (Chaume 1er cru) and Grand Cru (Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru) in the Loire Valley. By the 1970s however, industrial farming and shortcuts in the cellar seemed to have irrevocably tarnished the reputation of Quarts de Chaume, Chaume, and Chenin from the Anjou. But starting in the 1980s a new generation of vignerons began to gradually chart a new and promising future for the region, among whom was Jo Pithon who rediscovered and rejuvenated the dramatic and lost terroir of Coteau des Treilles – the “Côte Rotie” of the Layon Valley. With Ivan Massonnat stepping in to carry on Jo’s efforts, the future of wines in the Anjou looks more promising than ever.
With a team that includes winemaker Adrien Moreau, vineyard manager Amaury Chartier, and consultants Jo Pithon and Guy Bossard, Ivan has created a collection of wines that not only reflect the future of Anjou but he has revived the reputation of Coteaux du Layon and Chaume. To achieve this, Domaine de Belargus is farmed organically and is in conversion to biodynamics. All the fruit is picked by hand and frequently in several passes through the vines. Selection is strict, and fermentations are long and spontaneous. Wines are bottled not by the calendar but by how they taste, and they are released only when they are ready. We are honored that Ivan has selected us to represent these profound wines in the US.Close