Bonjour aux amateurs de la Bourgogne!
I too often hear people bemoan the lack of value to be found in Burgundy, that it is an overpriced minefield whose true beauty is frustratingly elusive.  Well to those folks I put forward the wines of the Belland family, grape growers in Santenay for the past six generations.  http://www.domaine-belland-roger.fr/english/
Santenay is at the southern end of the Cote de Beaune, just south of Chassagne Montrachet.  It is a lovely village, with deep history and one of the loveliest town squares in all of Burgundy.  The wines of Santenay are sort of lost in the shuffle of American Burgundy lovers’ chase to secure the rarities of the prestigious villages further north; this is to their own detriment, as, at their best, the wines offer both terroir driven substance and accessibility of both profile and price.  I feel that the Belland wines may well be the finest in the village, in particular over the past three to four vintages where the impact of daughter Julie Belland is increasingly turning heads.  Julie seems to be bringing even more charm and finesse to the wines;  almost all red cuvees now see some percentage of whole cluster use, which adds energy and nerve to the wines.  Like the wines, Julie is as genuine and bourguignon as they come……In the 2009, 2010, and 2011 collections that I tasted in November, the wines had me joyously enthused at their balance of gourmandise (read yumminess) and substance; to find complete burgundies that will both gracefully evolve and give pleasure in youth at these prices is all too rare…..
The Belland’s holdings are concentrated at the northern end of Santenay: 1ers of la Comme, la Graviere, and Beauregard offer a terrific comparative opportunity to taste the Goldilocks factor of the Cote in full effect: upper slope tension and stoniness, the mid slope golden mean, and the richer profile of the wines from the lower slope.  The Belland’s also have a wonderful gem in their 3 hectare monopole 1er cru straddling the Chassagne border, the Clos Pitois, planted to both white and red.  The Clos was created in 1421 by monks of the neighboring abbey of Morgeot, recognized for its special character.  Chassagne Montrachet, now celebrated almost solely for its prestigious white wines, had always been a red wine terroir in history’s eyes.  It is only in the past 150 years that the village has become dominated by white wine production.  Due to the contemporary soft interest in the reds of Chassagne, the Clos Pitois red is priced incredibly modestly; this is a question of market dynamics, and has NOTHING to do with raw quality…….READ: THE CLOS PITOIS ROUGE IS A STEAL!!!
I have brought in a broad swath of their work, including some delicious whites and their 1er cru Maranges which is a juicy, marrowy mouthfull for the money!  Also available as a special order from the winery is the Criots Batard Montrachet (the Belland’s own roughly 3/4 of this Grand cru, laying just below le Montrachet), inquire if interested.  Both the 2008 and 2010 vintages are available……they also make a terrific Volnay Santenots, and Meursault Santenots.  Again, inquire if interested.
Here’s the lineup, all IN STOCK:


2011 Santenay Comme-Dessus blanc $25
From the upper most slope of Santenay, just above the 1er cru red portion of the vineyard.  This has wonderful tension and length; a silly good value for rockheads.

2011 Santenay 1er cru Beauregard blanc $30
From the upper slope portion of the heart of Santenay’s nothern sector of 1er crus, this has terrific balance and elegance.  Terrific value here….

2011 Maranges 1er cru la Fussiere $24
Wonderfully black fruited and juicy, with good depth and savoriness to boot.  Yummo.

2010 Santenay 1er cru la Comme $30
“This is also quite ripe with an attractively scented nose of violets, plum and cassis. There is a pleasing touch of minerality that adds lift to the seductively textured and mouth coating medium weight flavors that possess excellent volume on the delicious, balanced and lingering finish. This is really a lovely effort for what it is.” 90 points Burghound

2009 Santenay 1er cru Beauregard rouge $35
“Here the nose is more complex still with cassis, earth, red currant and plum aromas marrying into supple and quite seductively textured middle weight flavors that evidence a discreet minerality that adds good lift to the sappy and impeccably well-balanced finish. This high-quality effort could be enjoyed young or aged over the medium-term.” 91 points Burghound

2010 Santenay 1er cru Gravieres $35
“A wonderfully fresh and admirably pure nose of dark cherries, raspberries, warm earth and soft plum aromas is followed by rich, supple and suave yet well-detailed flavors that also enjoy excellent phenolic maturity, all wrapped in a racy, intense, focused and beautifully balanced finish. This is a terrific Santenay 1er that should age well yet also drink well young if desired.” 91 points Burghound

2010 Chassagne Montrachet monopole 1er cru Clos Pitois rouge $39

“(a huge 3 ha monopole of the Domaine, planted 50% to each color and which sits at the south end of the commune on the Santenay border; the pinot vines are approximately 60 years of age). An earthy, somber and quite serious nose features an abundance of floral nuances that add depth to the otherwise dark berry fruit aromas. There is good freshness to the ripe, rich and suave medium-bodied flavors that possess an attractively textured mouth feel and truly striking complexity that propels this to another level relative to all of the other wines in the range. There is excellent mid-palate concentration and impeccable balance that should enable this to age for many years yet be approachable in 6 to 8. Worth strong consideration.” 92 points Burghound

2010 Chassagne Montrachet monopole 1er cru Clos Pitois blanc $59
“A fresh and notably ripe nose displays only a trace of exoticism with pretty yellow orchard aromas that evidence hints of mango and papaya. The opulent, suave and impressively concentrated flavors brim with plenty of palate soaking dry extract and this is remarkably well-balanced given the sheer size and weight. Interestingly, the long finish is actually quite dry and overall, this is worth your attention as it will drink well young and old.” 91 points BurghoundIn the glass, these wines deliver uniquely burgundian pleasure!! They have substance and balance, and they will put a smile on anyone’s face, newbie to hard core.  My pet faves are the Graviere and Clos Pitois rouge, although i’d be a happy guy with any of them tableside.
Check ’em out folks, you’ll thank me!!!!
As always, with any questions or interests, please contact me at rob@downtoearthwines.net
CHEERS TO JULIE ET ROGER AND THEIR LABOR OF LOVE! TO SANTENAY AND THE CLOS PITOIS!!