A chronological summary of Nicolas Potel’s career.
1969-1997 Early Years and Domaine de la Pousse D’Or
Nicolas Potel is a remarkable man, being both hugely talented and possessing exceptional levels of energy and drive. He is the son of the late, equally exceptional, Gérard Potel, who was the director of the excellent Pousse D’Or estate. Born in 1969 Nicolas quickly found he had a practical bent. He left school before he was 18, and was employed by a Meursault producer Thierry Matrot which he loved. He travelled to Australia and worked for the estates of Moss Wood, Leeuwin Estate, Wirra Wirra, Mount Mary and then Tom Dehlinger in California. In Burgundy he worked for Domaine Roumier and Domaine Juillot before returning to Pousse D’Or for 5 years up to 1997, when his father died.
1998-2007 The rise of his négociant company “Nicolas Potel”
He started his négociant house Nicolas Potel in 1998. The respect in which he is held enabled him to source excellent grapes and wines from some of the best domaines in Burgundy. The high quality of the grapes bought and the attention to many small details such as using smaller crates to collect the grapes during harvest, using a very gentle destemmer which allows whole berries to arrive in the vats intact, replacing his pneumatic press with a high quality vertical press giving clear press wines all contributed to the success of the wines. He grew the business quickly but the economic crisis in 2002 forced him to require more capital, which he acquired through Cottin Frères, who bought 100% of the business and now control the business that bears his name. Our excellent Exhibition Savigny-lès-Beaune 2005 was made by Nicolas during this period.
2007 onwards, Domaine de Bellene (Bellene is the Celtic name for Beaune)
Nicolas parted company with Cottin Frères in 2006/7 to concentrate on his own domaine which now comprises 18 hectares. He is converting the vineyards to organic cultivation. He bought a characterful, old winery in Beaune where he makes the wines. He is carefully and sympathetically restoring it. The vineyards are principally Bourgogne Rouge, St Romain Blanc, Beaune Premiers Crus, Savigny-lès-Beaune village and premiers crus, Nuits-St-Georges village and premiers crus and a little Vosne-Romanée. 2007, his first vintage, was sold as Domaine Nicolas Potel, but after a legal wrangle he lost the ownership of his name so from 2008 vintage this has been called Domaine de Bellene. He is also making some négociant wines since 2008 under the name Maison Roche de Bellene.
Nicolas’ style remains very pure. He vinifies with whole bunches when the stems are ripe. He is careful never to over extract nor over oak his wines, allowing the character of the vineyard and vintage to shine through. His elegant yet intensely flavoured wines are a delight. Now he has total control over the vineyards, as he did when working with his father at La Pousse D’Or, one can expect the excellent quality he has already achieved to get even better.