Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer profiles - Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir

Eric Nicolas, Domaine de Bellivière (1995)  

Eric and Christine Nicolas

Firstly, a declaration of interest; Richards Walford are the importers for Domaine de Bellivière in the UK.  

Despite originating from Dieppe and having no formal winemaking qualifications, Eric Nicolas is a very smart, deep thinking and passionate grower. He developed an interest in wine whilst working as a chemical engineer, electing to leave the comfort and security of his career with Total France, and deciding, in preference, to pursue the life of a vigneron. The search for a suitable location started much further south, but prohibitive pricing in more recognized regions eventually pushed him to the Loir where he settled with his Marseillaise wife, Christine in the early 1990s.

Prior to Eric and Christine buying the farm in 1995, Bellivière was given over to polyculture although the house itself was abandoned. The different cellars in the tufa were given over to storing potatoes, making goat’s cheese and producing a little wine for family consumption. The previous occupants also happened to be the neighbours of Eric and Christine. Louis Derré and his wife helped the new arrivals to make new contacts and source vineyards. When Louis died in 2001, Eric created a label for his old vine Pineau d’Aunis dedicated to his memory.

Wine Overview :
On arrival in the valley in 1994, Eric had arranged to rent 12 hectares of vines from Michel Boulay, but after the first season (when he lost 85% of his crop to frost), Boulay reneged on their agreement and took the vineyards back, offering them to another newcomer, Nicolas Renard, who stayed in the region only for one or two seasons. Without any vines, or a home, The Nicolas family began to search for old and often abandoned plots of vines, buying 1.5 hectares of vacant land in Jasnières which they would still need to plant. They restarted their enterprise in 1995 with just 3.5 hectares in the Coteaux du Loir. 

Today they have amassed a total of 17 hectares of rented or purchased vineyards (12ha of which are in Jasnières) across fifty parcels over the five communes of Lhomme, Ruillé-sur-Loir, Chahaignes, Marçon and Dissay-sous-Courcillon. Vines in a sixth commune, Chenu, were dropped in 2002 on the basis that they were too far away and contained some less desirable Gamay Fréau. Below is a list of the parcels that Eric Nicolas works, illustrating the complexity of tending vines over such a widely dispersed area.

Names of parcels farmed

Les Pierres Beurres – Lhomme (Coteaux du Loir)
L’Aillerie – Lhomme (Jasnières)
Les Quatres Vents – Lhomme (Jasnières)
Le Clos du Bénard – Lhomme (Jasnières)
Le Clos des Truffières – Lhomme (Jasnières)
Le Clos des Jasnières – Lhomme (Jasnières)
Les Longues Vignes - Lhomme (Jasnières)
Les Mourines - Lhomme (Jasnières)
La Gidonnière - Lhomme (Jasnières)
Les Mollières – Lhomme (within Jasnières, but planted to Pineau d’Aunis, so Coteaux du Loir)
Les Vignes sous les Bois – Ruillé-sur-Loir (Jasnières)
Les Héridaines - Ruillé-sur-Loir (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Les Roches – Marçon (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Les Maleterres - Marçon (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Les Vignes du Perroir - Marçon (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Les Mortiers - Marçon (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Le Coteau de la Pointe - Marçon (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc) – dropped in 2008
Les Renaudes – Chahaignes (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Le Haut-Rasné - Chahaignes (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)
Les Druillas – Dissay-sous-Courcillon – (Coteaux du Loir rouge and blanc)

Hand drawn map illustrating the parcels worked by Eric Nicolas

All the vineyards are under his control and farmed without the use of pesticides and herbicides, with the wine all certified organic since the 2008 vintage. The fractioned nature of the numerous plots makes organic viticulture a real challenge. Harvesting is all by hand and yields are miniscule.

Despite the average age of the vines here exceeding 50 years, there are new plantings too. In 2005, Eric planted 1,100 Chenin and Pineau d’Aunis ungrafted vines in L’Aillerie and les Quatre Vents, and in another experiment seven ares Le Bénard have been intensely planted at an equivalent density of 40,000 vines per hectare. In keeping with the philosophy of biodiversity, he is selecting his own vine material in order to propagate new plantings and making use of the services of a nursery he trusts in the Vaucluse. 

The cellar consists of five tunnel-like caves that penetrate the tuf to a depth of between 15 and 20 metres each and are typical of those found throughout the valley. The parcels are vinified separately in quantities most producers would consider unviable. The final blends are based on the age of the vines and the origins of their soils. There is no rush for the wines to complete fermentation, and barrels can be heard gurgling gently away in September following the harvest, whilst the malolactic in the reds can extend into a second year. There is never any chaptalization, such is Eric’s confidence that his soils and diligence in the vines will bring the fruit to full maturity. The fermentations are conducted solely by indigenous yeasts and where possible, the wines are bottled unfiltered.

Specifically, the Chenin grapes are now crushed using a pneumatic press, purchased in readiness for the 2004 vintage. Fermentation and the raising of the whites on their fine lees are carried out in second hand burgundy barrels, and, even despite their age, Eric still has certain cooper preferences for different parcels. The red grapes are all destalked to help retain the subtle aromas of the Pineau d’Aunis and are also fermented in barriques, although there has been some experimentation of late with larger wood. The red wines are kept in barrel until the September after the vintage, by which time the malolactic should be complete. Heating the cellars to accelerate the process is not encouraged and the wines are expected to find their own way.

The range of wines produced here is as complex as the character responsible for making them. Not every wine is made in every vintage, as nature helps orientate the style of the wines, but below is the essence of what can be found in any given vintage. About 80% of the wines produced here are white.

In 2008 he started to rent a few rows of Cabernet Franc planted within the Jasnières appellation (and therefore illegal). The first attempted wine went to the distillery but the 2009 was ripe and this due for release as a vin de table from this vintage. There is also an unsulphured Gamay that should appear at the same time. 

Jasnières ‘Les Prémices' - A new addition since 2008. This is a combination of nine separate parcels in L'Homme planted in 2000 and under location from the owner of Château de Poncé. The vines are currently in conversion towards organic status. 

Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’ - A total of six different parcels (marked *, above) on a complex range of soils with vines that age from 5 to 30 years.

Jasnières ‘Calligramme’ – From vines that are aged 50 years or more.              

Jasnières ‘Discours de Tuf’ – Moëlleux made in 1996 and 1997.

Jasnieres ‘Elixir du Tuf’ – Made in very occasional vintages (1997, 1999, 2004 and 2005). The berries are expected to shrivel to 20% of their original size and have a yield to match.

Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘L’Effraie’From ‘young vines’ - less than 50 years old, sourced from the communes of Marçon, Chahaignes and until 2002, Chenu on soils that include silex and argile.

Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Éparses Vieilles Vignes’ - ‘Éparses’ literally means ‘spread out’. The grapes are sourced from the communes of Marçon, Chahaignes and Dissay. Vine age ranges from 50 to 80 years.

Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Haut-Rasné’ – From young vines planted in the parcel of the same name above Chahaignes. Due to the protected site and the higher presence of humidity, the Chenin here has a natural affinity to attract botrytis, so this cuvée generally signifies a wine with residual sugar which can range anywhere between 30 and 70 g/l.

Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Philosophale’ – Moëlleux made in the vintages of 1997 and 1999. The potential alcohol here would generally exceed 18%.

Coteaux du Loir Rosé ‘Les Giroflées’ – Produced from Pineau d’Aunis with a little Grolleau. It was produced in 2004 from grapes that had naturally desiccated by the end of October and had a potential alcohol of 14.2%. The wine was fermented at low temperature and vinified as a demi-sec.

Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge-Gorge’ - Pineau d’Aunis with, until the 2000 vintage, around 3% of Gamay. It has been 100% Pineau d’Aunis since. The vines for this cuvee are over 50 years old and yield on average 25hl/ha. Incidentally, a rouge gorge translates as ‘red throat’ or ‘red breast’ - better known to the English speaking word as a robin.

Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Hommage á Louis Derré’ - Introduced in 2000. It comes solely from four different parcels of Pineau d’Aunis that sit within and above the Jasnières appellation and is interspersed with old cherry trees. The vines, which have trunks as thick as trees are between 80 and 100-plus years old. Introduced with the 2000 vintage, but not produced in 2001, 2006 or 2007.

Vin de Table ‘La Salamandre’ – An onion-skin looking moëlleux produced from Pineau d’Aunis. Vintages include 2000 and 2001. The law within the appellation at this time meant the wine had to be sold as Vin de Table.

Vin de Table ‘Aurore d’Automne’ – A vin liquoreux wine made from Pineau d’Aunis in 1999, 2001 and 2005. About 200 bottles only and with a distinct onion skin appearance.

Vin de Table ‘Vin de Paille’ – Never one to pass up an opportunity to experiment, Eric also produced, in 2000, some unauthorised straw wine made from Pineau d’Aunis. Jean Thévenet in the Mâconnais showed Eric an old manuel de vigneron which stated that these wines were produced in the region many years ago.

The Wines :
These are hand made wines in the extreme. Eric has established himself, however as the point of reference in this part of the valley and commands a serious and sincere domestic following, particularly among the sommelier fraternity and demonstrated by the fact that his wines can be found listed in some thirty of the most the country’s most highly rosetted restaurants, including a trio of Michelin three star establishments; Michel Bras (Laguiole), Troisgros (Roanne) and La Maison de Marc Veyrat (Annecy).  

2009 Jasnières ‘Les Prémices'
Open, attractive and very delicate yet pronounced on the nose. Distinctive apple and pear. Almost Vouvray-like in profile. Obvious residual sugar (17g/l) but with excellent balancing acidity. This is still a little disperate but will come together quickly. (01/11)

2009 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’ 
Tighter structure and much more restrained on both nose and palate. Well structured with firm acidity. Less evolved at present and would benefit with more time. 15g/l residual sugar. (01/11)

2009 Coteaux du Loir ‘l’Effraie’
Clean, but very closed on the nose. Drier and more mineral expression to the palate. Builds well. Linear, but still very closed at present. The acid profile is distinctly malic. It shows real potential but needs a few years to come together and open up. 15g/l residual sugar. (01/11) 

2009 Jasnières ‘Calligramme’ 
Tasted as a barrel sample: the wine was due to be bottled in March 2011. Lovely creamy, rounded nose. Open and more complete already. Delicate and classic Chenin nose. Lovely structure and length with excellent balance. Powerful, linear acidity with a persistent finish. 10g/l residual sugar. This is the wine of the vintage. (01/11)

2009 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’
Tasted as a barrel sample: the wine was due to be bottled in March 2011. The initial impression on the nose is one of oak, but this is evidently more complex than just this. Linear, tight and very delicate but shows a degree of its underlying power. Again, there is a note of oak on the end of the palate, but well integrated. Taut and grippy to the finish. Already approachable but would benefit with more time. 12g/l. (01/11)

2009 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge Gorge’
Eric used one-third whole bunches for the first time this vintage as the stems were very ripe. This is probably the greatest Rouge Gorge to date. Lovely flesh on the nose and palate with a very pure white pepper character that is the hallmark of the grape. The wine is clearly ripe but not at all confit. Immediately approachable but it will be interesting see see how this one evolves. (01/11)

2008 Jasnières ‘Les Prémices'
Polished but pale appearance. Attractive nose; already forward and open. Ripe, complex with some exotic fruits. Mid-full on entry. Builds well. Rich, but with good balancing acidity. It shows a complex array of fruits; pineapple, melon, quince, apples and pears... Also a little nutty/hazelnut character to the finish. Well textured with a citrus zip. Around 8g/l RS. It shows a little sweetness on the mid-palate, although the crisp acidity ensures a dry finish. (01/10)

2008 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’ 
Bright. Mid-pale, green-straw appearance. Clean with a green, herbal nose. Currently closed. Lovely on entry with great focus and structure. Much more open than the nose suggests. Bright and juicy with an almost crunchy acidity. Good grip with a slight CO2/phenolic edge to the finish. 4g/l RS. This is approachable but would benefit with time in bottle. (01/10)

2008 Coteaux du Loir ‘l’Effraie’
Bright. Mid-pale. Green-straw appearance. Clean but closed on the nose (bottle shock - December 2009). Not very open but still pretty broad. Aromas of sage and thyme. Bone dry on entry - taut but not austere. Shows some good richness. The acidity builds well and carries the finish. The impression is more tartaric than malic. Not yet ready; this is currently closed and backward. Just needs time. (01/10) 

The malolactic fermentation was conducted on all the 2007 vintage wines.

2007 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’ 
Polished. Pale straw. Very delicate nose. Pure. Apples and pears with some ripeness behind. Tropical even, and faint mineral behind. Dry on entry (2g/l), but has some richness. Very good texture on the mid palate. Good tension and nervosity. Powerful to the finish. Great concentration. Linear. A touch of CO2 helps lift the wine. (12/08)

2007 Jasnières ‘Calligramme’ 
Polished. Mid depth straw/yellow with green hints. Very pure nose. Delicate, crunchy green apple and baked apple nose. Immediate on palate. Structure is very good. Long and linear. Persistent and austere. Chalky, bone dry and mineral. Very long. Will need time. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’
Bright. Straw/yellow. Mid depth. Closed but rounded nose. Soft and stony. Bone dry on entry. Severe, tight and austere. Very mineral with excellent structure. Very juicy and chalky with a long finish. Will need time to soften. Very pure and persistent finish, currently carried by the acidity. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Loir ‘l’Effraie’
Bright. Pale straw and hints of green. Clean, but very tight. The wine is completely closed at this stage, although the palate is more expressive. There is the impression of residual sugar (16g/l) and is riper, but with good balance. More generous and still chalky. Mineral and taut to the finish and gives the impression of dryness. Excellent balance and potential, but will need time. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Haut Rasné’
There was a little botrytis right at the end of harvest which allowed for this to be made. Pale straw with green hints. Dry, mineral nose, but quite tight. The palate is flattered by the residual sugar (66g/l). Lovely delicacy and balance. The sweetness makes it more obvious now. Very delicate and pure with flavours of baked, spiced apples, with a lift of carbon dioxide on the finish. It is much more open than the other 2007s at this stage, but more a function of the sugar. Approachable, but really needs time to age. It’s impossible to believe it carries 66 grams of residual sugar. This has a very long life ahead of it. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Loir ‘L’Effraie’
The driest of all the 2006 wines at 5g/l residual sugar. Polished. Pale straw/green. Still quite closed on the nose and unevolved. The palate is more open and expressive. Good richness to mid palate. There is the sense of ripeness, but the acidity is also present. Hints of oranges and quince. Pithy. Dry to the finish. Firm and austere but rounded and flattering. Approachable now, but would benefit with keeping. Quince flavours to finish. Chalky and with some residual carbon dioxide. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’
Polished. Mid-pale yellow. Very closed nose. Not giving much away. Tight and stony, with the very faint impression of baked apples. It gives the impression of being bone dry on entry (7g/l) but a function more of the acidity. Tight and mineral with flavours of quince. Crunchy acidity. Very powerful. CO2 and chalky. Very closed at present, but more serious. Will need time. (12/08)

2006 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’ 
Polished. Pale straw. Light appearance and delicate on the nose, however the palate is much more expressive: full, with good weight. The flavour profile and texture is of russet apples and pear skins with a hint of green Chartreuse. There is a lovely acid balance and great purity to the finish. (16g/l). Very broad and has a second layer of complexity on the finish. Ideally needs decanting if it is to be broached soon. (12/08)

2006 Jasnières ‘Calligramme’                                  
Bright. Pale yellow. More open with a nose of rich, baked apple and pommeau with some caramel. Very good weight, concentration and structure on the palate giving the impression of the ripeness. Less taut and severe. Dry (7g/l) and pebble-like minerality with good flesh. This has excellent focus and is in a more classic style. This ideally needs a few more years. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge Gorge’
Bright. Pale red centre, but with good graduation. Light, attractive and rounded on the nose, which opens up in the glass to give great intensity of Pineau d’Aunis aromas. Initially taut with good grip, it fleshes out with time in the glass and offers a full spectrum of rich peppery, spicy flavours. More black pepper than white. Very good balancing acidity and a bitter, chicory-like twist to the finish. Very good. Drink now, although best decanted, or will age over the next five years. (01/09)

2005 Jasnières ‘Calligramme’        
This is a demi-sec with around 20-25g/l residual sugar. Quite closed on the nose, but intense and powerful. This is ripe on the palate rather than just sweet. The power follows through and it is both persistent and dry to the finish. There are some complex flavours here, including asparagus. This cuvee took almost 18 months to complete the primary and malolactic fermentation. (06/07)

2005 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘L'Effraie’                                                       
Polished. Mid depth appearance with distinct green hints. Typical aroma profile. Hints of honey, bruised apples, pears and quince, with underlying smoke and flint. The palate is surprisingly sweet, showing ripeness and more apple and pear flavours. You can almost crunch the acidity. This has great structure and length and has an assured future. Very restrained and elegant and showing some obvious residual sugar. It has the raciness of a good Rheingau Riesling. This is ripe, but still a little un-knit and would benefit with longer ageing. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’
Clean but closed on the nose and certainly drier and more severe that L'Effraie 2005. Flinty, with very good definition on the palate, with a long mineral, chalky character. Very good structure, although the flavours still need to develop. This would benefit with keeping. (05/09)

2005 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge-Gorge’ 
Dull, ruby red appearance. Open, gamey nose and confit. A very pure expression of Pineau d’Aunis with plenty of pepper and spice. Mid weight entry, this is round and soft on the palate. Very good concentration, length, supple tannins and fresh acidity. Excellent balance. Approachable now, but this would really benefit from keeping. (12/08)

2004 Jasnières 'Les Rosiers'
Rich, ripe nose, but very closed and giving nothing away. The palate is more textured, with evidence of some ‘dry’ botrytis here with flavours of orange peel through the wine. There is noticeable residual sugar on entry (14g/l), although the overall impression on the finish is of dryness. Builds well, with excellent structure and a great finish. This is taut and just needs time as it shows real promise. (02/06)

2004 Jasnières ‘Calligramme’                                        
This had an élevage of 18 months in barrel due to extended fermentation. Very rich, forward nose. Apples and pears with a lactic element behind. Mineral. This is already showing some complexity with excellent Chenin expression. Intense and broad mineral palate with good structure and focus. Multi-layered with a very long finish.  (02/06)

2004 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘L’Effraie’                                                           
Very closed nose. Mineral behind. The palate is more expressive. Some obvious residual sugar (6g/l) on entry. Very good focus, with good palate intensity. Chalky, mineral texture. Long on the finish. This has yet to evolve a real flavour profile, although there are hints of (crab) apples here. (02/06)

2004 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’                           
‘Plus sec’. Very pure nose which is quite open and rich. Apples/pears and mineral. A touch of cinnamon honeycomb and clove. Intense on entry with very good structure. Austere, dry and mineral and more closed than nose suggests. Needs time. (02/06)

2004 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge-Gorge’                                                
Bright. Mid depth, Pinot Noir like appearance with good graduation. This is showing more like Cabernet Franc on the nose at the moment; it’s more herbal than the 2005 and less expressive. Tight and structured, tight and mineral. It is approachable now, but would benefit from further ageing. Less flattering than the 2005 at present. (12/08)

2003 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’                                                                             
Typical nose of bruised apples and pears. Good minerality behind the obvious sweetness. Lacks a little balancing acidity presently, being a bit unknit. It should come together in time. (02/05)

2003 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘L’Effraie’                                                           
Primary, rich, aniseed nose which retains some malic hints. Obvious ripeness on the nose, although currently restrained and a little atypical. Residual sugar shows on entry, although it retains good balance. Well textured with some pear like flavours to the finish. This spent 17 months in oak before bottling. (02/05)

2003 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’                                     
Clean, but backward nose. Well textured palate with ripe fruit and flesh. Sweetness shows with much greater concentration than the l’Effraie. This is typical of the vintage but somewhat atypical of the appellation.  (02/05)

2003 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge-Gorge’                                                    
This shows the ripeness and heat of the vintage and is a little ‘confit’. There is less obvious varietal character here. The palate is dry and mineral with good focus. Rich and ripe with firm tannins. This will need time to soften up. Still pretty austere, but should come right. There is good varietal definition to the finish. (02/06)

2002 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’                                                                             
Light and delicate nose of bruised apples. This is very restrained, taut and mineral, but with very good focus. Mid weight entry and classic Loire Chenin. Very direct and although approachable, this would benefit with further ageing. Excellent structure and texture. Vouvray-esque. (05/09)

2002 Jasnières ‘Calligramme’    
Mid depth, straw appearance. Very pure apple-like nose. Clean and fresh. Ripe, open and yet restrained. Very pure on the palate. Mid weight, but good structure and a positive Chenin profile. This could be Vouvray. Good gras and a touch of residual sugar, but with acidity and flesh to balance. Approachable now, and not massively acidic. (11/03)                                    

2002 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘L'Effraie’
Polished. Backward nose but with some white pepper behind. Very clean, fresh and lively. More immediate with great concentration and balance. Tight and unevolved, but shows great potential. Calvados like flavours. The acid is quite soft for the appellation. Persistent finish. (02/04)

2002 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Vieilles Vignes Éparses’                                      
Broad nose. Very mineral and direct. This is still quite dry and austere on entry with flavours of quince and honey behind. Powerful and concentrated, the acidity is still present, but will act as a preservative. Juicy, dry and mineral. This is still very tight and un-evolved but with excellent potential. (05/09)

2002 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Haut Rasné’ Moëlleux (50cl)
Bright with some green hints. Pale appearance and hardly evolved. Lovely, delicate, nutty, almost autolytic nose with faint quince and bruised apples. Lovely and delicate on entry, there is a hint of residual sugar, but countered by a thread of lovely acidity running through the wine. It's faintly sweet and sour. Lovely texture and great freshness. Red apple flavours to the finish. Great potential still. (05/09)

2002 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge-Gorge’                                                       
Open and evolved nose with fresh red fruit. Quite facile at this stage, but with good varietal expression. Intense white pepper on the palate with fresh and lively acidity. Balanced, forward and spicy and drinking well now. Chalky textured. The tannins are soft, although the acidity carries the finish a little. (02/06)

2002 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Hommage à Louis Derré’                                     
The most austere of the pair of 2002 reds, but more serious. The white pepper and strawberry fruit is more hidden. Mineral and spicy with good grip. Not an immediate charmer and still very tannic, I'm not sure the this will ever really soften and come round. It's a little too extracted and ideally needs food to combat the tannins. (05/09)

2001 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’                                           
Deep orange/tawny appearance. Oxidative with a rustic edge. This is very old fashioned Loire Chenin and typical of the vintage. Faint toffee and the impression of the sweetness to come, but the palate is strikingly dry. This is still quite restrained, firm and mineral. The acidity is just beginning to soften, but this vintage is a year for purists only. It's not a mainstream wine. (05/09)

2001 Coteaux du Loir ‘Éparses Vieilles Vignes’                     
Polished appearance with yellow/green hints. Very attractive and already complex nose. Great palate concentration, weight and balance. Full bodied, but still refined and elegant. Great persistence. Bone dry and austere, but with the texture of a moëlleux. (02/03)

2001 Coteaux du Loir ‘L’Effraie’                                
Mid depth, orange/tawny. Tight nose with austere mineral character and some 'dry' botrytis character. Bone dry with good weight and a nutty, almost autolytic character of long lees ageing. There are hints of coffee and caramel and an oxidative edge. The acidity on the palate is still very firm and severe, it really needs food to help combat this. There is a saline edge and flavours of crab-apples and a bone dry, chalky finish. This will continue to age, if not improve. (05/09)

2001 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge-Gorge’         
Polished appearance, but very pale. It looks like rosehip syrup. This is now beginning to dry out and needs drinking up. (05/09)

(2001) Vin de Table ‘La Salamandre’
An onion-skin coloured moëlleux produced from Pineau d’Aunis. This has 70g/l residual sugar. Pale rim. Heavy ‘legs’. Very delicate, if rustic nose. The white pepper still manages to show through. Richly textured, yet balanced. The palate is one of sweetness with flavours of orange peel and white pepper, with high acidity and a somewhat phenolic finish. Time may offer more interest. (02/03)

(2001) Vin de Table ‘Aurore d’Automne’
From Pineau d’Aunis. Polished, pale yellow/pink appearance. Quite bizarre. High toned nose. Ripe and delicately honeyed. Despite the delicate entry this is intensely sweet. Very faint spice and white pepper. High acidity, but very much in balance. Persistent. Approachable now, but this should keep forever. 9% alcohol and 220g/l residual sugar. Excellent potential. (02/03)

2000 Jasnières ‘Les Rosiers’
Quiet nose, although it displays some richness behind. Bone dry with an austere edge. Mineral and stony with great structure and length. Flavours of bruised apple and calvados. (09/02)

2000 Coteaux du Loir ‘Éparses Vieilles Vignes’                     
Open nose with bruised apple and goat’s cheese and honey. Fine palate. Very focused and refined. Lovely structure and length and not yet closed up. There is the hint of the influence of the wood here and some yeasty, autolytic characters. Approachable, but likely to close up. (09/02)

2000 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Hommage à Louis Derré’
Deep appearance with oxidative nose. Bone dry and very austere. White pepper shows through on the finish. Currently tannic and unknit. It will need 15 to 20 years to mature. (02/03)

Eric & Christine Nicolas
Domaine de Bellivière
T: + 33 2 43 44 59 97
F: + 33 2 43 79 18 33

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