On Friday the 4th of February we are joined by Ivan Massonnat from Domaine Belargus in episode 6, season 4, of our talk show Cellar Talks. Ivan runs one of the hottest wine projects in France’s Loire region and is producing high quality Chenin Blanc wines in the Anjou Noir region.
About Domaine Belargus
Belargus is a wine lover’s dream come true.
At the origin of the project: the vision of a wine enthusiast, determined to restore the prestige of a thousand-year-old vineyard, in the heart of Anjou. Built stone by stone by Ivan Massonnat, the Estate is 100% dedicated to Chenin Blanc and explores the micro-terroirs of Anjou Noir in a single-plot approach inspired by the climats of Burgundy.
From the 11th century the hillsides of Anjou, stemming from a geological chaos from the primary era, were planted in vines by religious orders. Chenin reigned supreme there and, until the 19th century, Anjou wines were served on royal tables across Europe. Then came modern times. These brought so-called technical “innovations” and their share of historic vicissitudes, which impressed a profound change on this wine region, like many others in France. But this mosaic of millenary terroirs does remain, and Domaine Belargus has chosen to reveal all its facets through an unprecedented selection of grands crus, single-plots and monopoles.
On twenty-four hectares dedicated to the noble Chenin grape, the Estate cultivates some of the most renown terroirs in Anjou, in biodynamics. Its mission is to express their quintessence through a single-plot approach. Among its most remarkable plots:
- The Quarts-de-Chaume (grand cru), centre of gravity of the Estate with ten hectares in one piece, centred around the three plots historically composing the appellation
- The “Coteau des Treilles” (monopole), a wild and steep hillside, located in the heart of a classified “Regional Natural Reserve”
- The “Clos des Ruchères” (monopole) in Savennières, planted on a rare hillside of purple schists
Respecting the vintage’s personality, Domaine Belargus produces each year a collection of dry white wines and, in exceptional years only, uses the magic of botrytis to create some sweet wines.
About Ivan Massonnat
Nothing predisposed Ivan Massonnat, happy in his day-job as an investor in Paris, to become a winegrower if not his passion for wine. This passion was born in the Savoie region, in his grandfather’s vineyards.
Ivan’s winelover journey was built on his passion for Burgundy wines: with its thousand-year-old heritage and the hierarchy of its mosaic of terroirs, Burgundy was the anchor of his fascination for “terroir wines”, capable of expressing an infinite variety of expressions from a single grape variety.
By rooting his family in Chinon in 2006, Ivan discovered the two key grape varieties of the Loire Valley. After years of looking for exceptional terroirs in the Loire, Ivan fell in love with Anjou, the historical home of Chenin Blanc. Thus was born “Domaine Belargus” in 2018, named after a blue endemic butterfly.
About the Tasting
During the show we will taste the 2018 Ronceray. Coming from a terroir producing world-renowned sweet wines, the Quarts-de-Chaume Grand Cru and Chaume 1er cru appellations can also give birth to great dry wines. The Ronceray cuvée is a blend of these terroirs. It refers to the Ronceray Abbey, which used to own the Chaume vineyard from the 11th century. The complex geology of this terroir creates a mineral and powerful cuvée, with long ageing potential. The first vintage of this wine was already an instant hit, being awarded 94/100 points by Robert Parker, Wine Advocate.
We are looking forward to talking to Ivan and learning from his background, experiences and the winery. Be sure to tune in on Instagram Live through our Dutch Wine Apprentice account on Friday the 4th of February, 19:30h CET.
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You can find a link to the recording of the show here.