The Latest Sunshine-in-a-Glass from Nicolas Potel: Bellenos

When I visited Burgundy in the summer and fall of 2017, cellars were full of Côteaux Bourguignon. I was surprised at how many vignerons had embraced this category – one that falls into the gluggable, cuddly, one-more-glass-why-not-? sort of category.

Producers that previously made nothing but estate-grown wines were producing it, so it was hardly surprising that a talented négociant like Nicolas Potel was not only making some, but making it under a new, smartly styled label with a nod to the Celtic name of Bellenos emblazoned on the label.

Between the wine, the price, the look and the distribution, I think Bellenos just might crush it!

87
Bellenos 2016 Cuvée Rouge Côteaux Bourguignon 12.5% $16
Ruby red streaked with lashings of purple color, this red has the energetic lifeline of Gamay with the svelte body and curves of Pinot Noir. Its woodsy, brambly fruit is vigorously youthful, just like its color. The finish is crunchy and almost chewy, yet shows so much sap that it’s hard to resist going back to the glass time and again. There’s respectable substance to this delightful mulberry and rhubarb mosh pit, but with just a moderate finish, it’s best enjoyed young. Santé!
Drink: 2018-20

86
Bellenos 2017 Rosé of Gamay Noir 12% $16
Cotton candy pink in color, this wine has a nose of rose petals and field strawberries. Despite the palate-filling texture, there’s not even a whisper of oak influence here; it’s all about stainless steel to protect the wine’s pure fruit core and lean, lithe body. The palate has scintillating acidity and bursts forward with a shower of light tannins on the moderate finish. This is a crispy, dry and minerally food-driven wine made in a markedly different style in comparison to its Provençal cousins. This drinks well now and with its massive acidity will hold nicely in the short-term.
Drink: 2018-19