Domaine Belargus: Unveiling Anjou’s Chenin Symphony.
Chenin Blanc is one of France’s iconic grape varieties, and if you want to learn about its rich history and taste the best Chenin’s there is one region that matters; the Loire region. Within the Loire Chenin is produced in multiple sub regions, but one that stands out is the Anjou region. Here the grapes were traditionally used to produce impeccable sweet white wines. Increasingly however this region is the birth ground for excellent dry Chenins, and one success story here is Domaine Belargus.
Domaine Belargus is a hidden gem, awaiting to be discovered as it blends into the idyllic landscapes of the Loire Valley. With a unique collection of grands crus, single-plots, and monopoles, this winery embarks on an extraordinary journey through Anjou’s diverse micro-climates, using the versatile Chenin Blanc as its sole instrument. Cultivated in harmony with biodynamic principles, the wines of Belargus emerge with the distinctiveness of millenary plots, translating the essence of Anjou into each cuvée they produce.
Terroirs That Sing Stories
As one delves into Domaine Belargus, a captivating tale of terroirs unfolds. Wind-sculpted croups, sun-soaked steep hillsides, and resilient sand plateaus form a stunning collection of landscapes, each with a chiseled character. Underneath the surface, a symphony of mingling elements – purple shists, magmatic rocks, rolled pebbles, and delicate clays – breathe life and complexity into the soil. Vines, their roots delving deep, extract both complexity and mineral finesse. Amidst this ecosystem thrives a myriad of native species, from fragrant heather to colorful shrubs, creating a harmonious microcosm.
Within this intricate dance of exposures and biotopes, Domaine Belargus gracefully navigates. At its heart is the emblematic blue butterfly, once a historic inhabitant of the renowned Coteau des Treilles. Its delicate wings imbue the wines with a subtle vivacity, a living connection to the land’s past and present. Under its wings, time stands still amidst the bustling life of Anjou.
A Dream Fulfilled: From Vision to Reality
The journey of Domaine Belargus traces back to the vision of a determined wine enthusiast. Stone by stone, Ivan Massonnat constructed the estate, dedicating it entirely to the Chenin Blanc grape. With a mission to rekindle the prestige of Anjou’s ancient vineyards, the estate explores the micro-terroirs of Anjou Noir. This single-plot approach, inspired by Burgundy’s climates, pays homage to the historical viticulture of the region.
Beyond its estate, Domaine Belargus champions regional projects, like the Paulée d’Anjou, an international event promoting Anjou’s excellence, and the efforts to officially recognize “Ronceray,” a dry Chenin from the Quarts-de-Chaume area, as a Cru.
Ivan Massonnat fundamentally believes in the virtues of a collective approach: since inception the Belargus project has been designed as a team adventure, bringing together young talents (notably winemaker Adrien Moreau and vineyard manager Amaury Chartier), experienced professionals (Franck Veillat) and iconic Loire pioneers (namely Jo Pithon and Guy Bossard).
Unearthing History and Embracing Modernity
From the 11th century, Anjou’s hillsides, shaped by geological chaos from the primary era, were home to vineyards nurtured by religious orders. Chenin Blanc reigned supreme, and Anjou wines graced royal tables across Europe until the 19th century. Modern times brought changes, but the mosaic of millenary terroirs endured. In the face of technological “innovations” and historical upheavals, Domaine Belargus chose to unveil these facets through an unprecedented selection of grands crus, single-plots, and monopoles.
Chenin’s Noble Expression
Domaine Belargus calls Anjou Noir, a realm of schists, its home. Across three main islets – Savennières, Quarts-de-Chaume, and the Layon Valley – lie singular terroirs, defined by exposure, subsoil, and slope. This mosaic of terroirs finds its eloquent voice in the collection of single-plot cuvées – a testament to Anjou’s rich tapestry of flavors.
Twenty-four hectares of the noble Chenin grape find their home at Domaine Belargus, cultivated in biodynamic harmony. The estate’s mission is to express the essence of renowned Anjou terroirs through a single-plot approach. Notable plots include the Quarts-de-Chaume grand cru, the sprawling Coteau des Treilles monopole nestled in a “Regional Natural Reserve,” and the rare purple schist-clad Clos des Ruchères monopole in Savennières.
Domaine Belargus respects the vintage’s personality, crafting an annual collection of dry white wines. In exceptional years, the magic of botrytis is harnessed to create sweet wines. Guided by the belief in collective progress, Ivan Massonnat has woven a spirit of collaboration into the project. Young talents, iconic Loire pioneers, and the land itself converge in this shared pursuit of excellence.
Unveiling Anjou’s Tapestry: Domaine Belargus and Chenin’s Symphony
In the heart of the Loire Valley’s Anjou region, Domaine Belargus stands as a testament to the marriage of land and grape, tradition and innovation. Through its exceptional collection of grands crus, single-plots, and monopoles, this winery embarks on a remarkable journey that delves into Anjou’s micro-climates. Chenin Blanc, the sole instrument in this symphony, weaves a narrative that speaks of terroir, history, and passion.
Cultivated in accordance with the principles of biodynamics, Belargus wines encapsulate the essence of the ancient plots from which they originate. With each cuvée, they tell a vibrant story of Anjou – a story that is both a testament to its rich history and a declaration of its modern renaissance.
Rooted in a wine enthusiast’s vision, Domaine Belargus is a testament to dedication. Ivan Massonnat’s dream of restoring Anjou’s thousand-year-old vineyard to its former glory led to the creation of an estate dedicated entirely to Chenin Blanc. The meticulous exploration of micro-terroirs in Anjou Noir, following the footsteps of Burgundy’s climats, underscores the estate’s commitment to both tradition and innovation.
Anjou’s hillsides, once cultivated by religious orders, bore witness to Chenin Blanc’s reign from the 11th century until the 19th. Through upheavals and changes, the mosaic of millenary terroirs remained steadfast. Domaine Belargus’s choice to spotlight these facets through its selection of grands crus, single-plots, and monopoles is an ode to the timeless character of the land.
As the sun sets over Domaine Belargus, the estate’s mission to express Anjou’s quintessence is palpable. From the Quarts-de-Chaume grand cru to the wild Coteau des Treilles monopole and the unique Clos des Ruchères in Savennières, each terroir’s essence is captured in a bottle. Through meticulous winemaking, the vintage’s personality is respected, offering a collection of dry whites and sweet wines in exceptional years.
Guided by a belief in collaboration, Domaine Belargus is not just an endeavor of individuals but a collective journey. Young talents, visionary pioneers, and the Loire region itself converge to create wines that are both exceptional and rooted in a sense of place.
As you raise a glass of Domaine Belargus wine, you become part of this collective spirit – a celebration of terroir, history, and the eternal dance of nature. In every sip, you experience the symphony of Anjou, the story of Chenin Blanc, and the legacy of Domaine Belargus.
We would like to thank Ivan, Adrian, Franck and the Belargus team for their hospitality, time and the insights they shared. Your wines have a place in our cellar forever.