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Though Domaine Belargus dates to 2018 we discovered the wines just last month. They came to us on the advice of the savviest Loire lover I know: ‘Ask to try them, but if you can’t just buy them anyway.’ So we did try them, and count their discovering among the happiest of the year.
The domaine is all Chenin. Holdings center on Côteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume though vinification to full dryness has the wines labeled ‘Anjou Blanc’ rather than the sweet-suggestive ‘-Layon’ or ‘-Chaume.’ Terrific sites, obsessive farming, and long barreled élévage imbue the range with rare depth and sophistication. Genuinely exciting stuff, in short.
‘Ronceray’ is effectively dry ‘Quarts de Chaume’ entirely from the ‘Les Quarts’ portion of the appellation. There’s more schist here which lends the wines fuller mineral intensity than elsewhere. A superbly satiny texture and impressively focused white currant and lemon curd-like aromas are shared ’19-’20 features. Touches of almond and spice echo patient barrel-aging, though the wood adds more shape and textural layering than flavor. The style - here as elsewhere at Belargus - trends toward clarity and definition to the point that deliveries track closer to Puligny than other top Loire Chenins.
Belgargus references a local butterfly seen often in the vineyards around Anjou. If an appreciation of delicacy and distinctiveness has prompted the association, ‘Belargus’ fits just right.