Comte Liger-Belair – 2015


dsc01721Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, 15 November 2016.

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair
1 Rue du Château
21700 Vosne-Romanée
Tel: +33 3 80 62 13 70

Louis-Michel on 2016:
Well, there’s no white. The frost affected all the limits of the commune. Lost 95% of regional reds and whites – and that included some mildew too. Overall, the domaine was maybe 50% down.

Louis-Michel noted that the domaine has now been certified biodynamic since about 2012. About 80% is exported, and most importers have been with for the domaine since the start – about 15 years.

The wines…

Last year I used the word ‘exemplary’ for the 2014s – and that would be a perfect fit also in this exceptionally good vintage – exemplary wines indeed, even in the context of 2015.

I asked Louis-Michel, which of his La Romanées I should now be drinking(!) His response was “Today, 2011 maybe, 2007 and 2006 maybe. 2004 yes. 20002 maybe. 2003 – a lot was drunk too soon. 2000 – it could be the beginning of the end. The rest no!

2015 Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos des Grands Vignes Blanc
A planting of 0.7 ha, ‘just to see.’ This ‘needs’ a real winter so 18 months elevage.
A deep and vibrant nose. Faintly reductive. Large scaled, silky, fine structure to hang the flavours on. Super intensity. Gorgeous. Bravo! This is the first time I’ve seen a great wine while this wine was still in barrel!
2015 Vosne-Romanée
11 different vines in Vosne – 80% bottom slope. 40% north.
Deep and a little reductive, growing a very pretty floral addition. Nice! Very lovely shape, texture and mobility in the mouth. A nice burst of fresh flavour. Simply the most complete rendition of this ‘entry-level’ wine yet.

2015 Vosne-Romanée Colombière
Vines 60-90 years-old.
A little more colour. Also needs a little aromatic reduction to fade. Lovely, lovely, extra weight, slowly melting over the palate – here with a hint of reduction and spice. Today, faintly austere vs the first, but super!

2015 Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château
Ready for bottling – it will be done next week. Like the last years, since 2010, done earlier to keep the freshness.
Modest colour, but a far from modest, floral nose. Large, super-silky, fresh, spicy Vosne. A lovely mid-palate lift of fresh flavour and a hint of modest structure in the finish. Great, if modest intensity, length…

2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Chaumes
About 15-20% positive selection of whole-clusters to give a lift to this limestone 1er. To be racked in the next 2 weeks.
Wide, fresh and beautiful top notes, tighter at the base. Perfect ripeness whilst retaining freshness. A good mid-palate complexity. Very tasty indeed…

2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Suchots
Same amount of whole-clusters as Chaumes.
A little reduction on the nose, but also more weight of fine dark-red fruit. Extra freshness to this palate but with a beautiful long line of flavour, intense, mouth-watering and with a faintly saline edge too. Great Suchots.
2015 Nuits St.Georges 1er Le Cras
This has some creamy, smoky reduction. Fresh, transparent, beautiful mid-palate purity of flavour – despite a reductive inflection. Long with a salty tang. Very long indeed. This needs a little more elevage, and it’s not as open as the Suchots today – but I don’t care!.
2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Petits Monts
Wide, with a pretty top line of faintly spiced complexity. Wow! – There’s fresh volume but this cushioned flavour is simply excellent – involving and long. I swallowed this! Sweetly long, beautiful wine.
2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Brulées
LM doesn’t show this every year now, and he still doesn’t commercialise it – I completely understand why he wouldn’t want to part from it!
Love! Depth, classic spice. Truly great aromatics. Lithe, a subtle extra weight to the texture. Some oak notes, but they are just more notes of complexity. Great wine that you can’t buy. Great length too…

2015 Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos des Grands Vignes
There are now 2 ouvrees planted at a density of 24k.
Deep with a little dirty reduction to start. The reduction lifts very quickly, becoming more muscular and dense. Big and also muscular in the mouth, but with fine dark flavours melting from the skeleton of the wine. Just a top finish!

2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Reignots
Gorgeous weight and depth of aroma. Complex and deep – bravo. Perfect, balance. A weight of ingraining flavour. I also swallowed this! Great wine – in the Clive Coates sense…

2015 Clos de Vougeot
The new wine – yet another ‘Clos!’ From a certified organic producer, a 10 year contract. Liger-Belair are not farming but giving direction. 6 barrels possible from 38 hl/ha. This was once a Liger-Belair holding in 1930s…
Deep, smoky nose – seems to need more elevage. Reductive flavour too, but bigger in shape than the Reignots. Less open and complex than the Reignots today though. Terribly young to taste. En attend.. The last drops in the glass, when the reduction has lifted, have a very beautiful aroma…

2015 Echézeaux
High toned, more Vosne complexity below, also a weight of fine fruit below. A hint of gas. Big volume, fresh, some muscle, ingraining flavour. More intensity than Reignots but, like the Clos de Vougeot, needs more time vs that wine. Superb as usual at this address.

2015 La Romanée
The 2014 was bottled 2 months later last year. ..
Super colour. The nose is rather massive, dense even, and with a modest twist of reduction. This will also take more elevage. Perfect shape, a fine but growing weight of texture. Saline, and super complex. Some tannin in the finish too. Clearly needs more time for clarity, but the last drops in the glass are clean and floral. Not the absolute best to taste today, but with plenty of primary weight.

2004 Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château
A blind wine – which cold from the cellar and opening was impossible for me to place – except that it was older. Warming in the hand – about 5 minutes – and the vintage was aromatically easy to spot.
Older colour. Beautiful, wide, old sous bois. Vibrant, fresh, intense, still a decent base of tannin. A hint of an oxidative impression. As it warms there’s maybe a hint of peanut, slowly it becomes an obvious 2004 – keep cold and enjoy…

2008 Vosne-Romanée 1er Suchots
Also blind. I got the vintage, but guessed Echézeaux – it was just soooo good!
A deep, dark fruit nose, a silky nose, fresh acidity. Weight and intense layers of flavour, with a little more warmth than the last wine – there’s also much more volume. Super length with lovely freshness. Temperature brings more floral notes. A beauty!

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