Vail Finds from the Vine: Belleruche is a crisp, light floral wine
VAIL, Colorado -Michel Chapoutier’s wines rival any from the Rhone region. His reds are dark and earthy, with nice fruit, but definitely lean towards Old World style. Michel Chapoutier’s higher-end whites, from the Hermitage region in the northern Rhone, are the best white wines I have ever tasted – at close to $200 a bottle, they should be awesome. For a tiny glimpse of their work with whites, and for only $15 a bottle, try the 2007 M. Chapoutier “Belleruche” Blanc, a white Cotes-du-Rhone blend of grenache blanc, clairette, and bourboulenc grapes.The Belleruche Blanc is aged in vats, not small oak barrels, and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. This results in a crisp and lightly floral wine, one with honeysuckle and hazelnut aromas, and white grapefruit, mellow Fuji apple, and pear flavors. The grenache blanc gives the wine the body of a chardonnay, but with added viscosity and light almond notes. This makes the Belleruche Blanc perfect with light pesto pastas, macadamia-crusted halibut or grouper, and brie or other mellow, soft cheeses.Michel Chapoutier took charge of the family winery in 1990, at the age of 26. His family had settled in the Rhone region in 1808, and started making wine shortly thereafter, but had let the quality slide over the years. Michel embraced organic and biodynamic farming, and the wines improved dramatically. In 1993, in response to a blind friend’s awkward experience at a wine store in New York, Michel began using Braille on his labels. The Braille tells the basic info of the wine, just like the writing on the label. Jarrett Osborn is the wine buyer at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards.