What can we say about Jérôme Bretaudeau of Domaine de Belle-Vue? First off, he's one of our favourite Loire Valley producers. Secondly, he's not a stranger to extravagance, he farms over 11 different grape varieties and eschews the traditional winemaking techniques of the area. Finally, he's making some serious, high pedigree wines that, although still a bit underground, are making the lists at some of the coolest wine bars in Europe and the world over (hello Paddington).
Before establishing Domaine de Belle-Vue in 2005, Jérôme honed his skills under this likes Jo Landron at Domaine de la Louvetrie and others. He now farms a tidy nine hectares across two plots in Muscadet - one chalk, the other granite. The mix of maritime climate and soil nicely lend themselves to making wines with a pronounced sense of personality, minerality and brininess. Two things that really separate Jérôme from the rest are his low-yielding vines and the fact that he does everything by hand. Add to this his meticulous work in the cellar and low-fi approach - using only natural yeasts for fermentation with absolutely no filter or fining - and you're on to a winner.
The whites are all aged in amphora (rather than stainless steel or oak) and turns the flavour dial way up. Gabbro is 100% muscadet from old vines and because it rests a long time on lees, it tastes like a mineral, saline, zingy-fresh fantasy. Swoon. La Justice, a blend of chardonnay and savagnin, is a textural wonder that has that sea spray, umami thing we like so much going on. More is the order of the day here. There's even the rarely seen but always loved, skin-contact pinot gris, Maceration. While it might just be one of Jérôme's most intriguing propositions it also might just be our favourite? Then, to round things out there's an insanely delicious 'Jura-esque' style red. Such complexity, personality and range. A line-up to be taken out for a long lunch? You don't say.