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More 2004’s plus domaine news…

It’s starting to become a nightmare – I have wine-notes everywhere!

The simple rule of thumb is that here you will find notes of wines tasted with their makers (from bottle), but makers who already profiled within Burgundy-Report. Perhaps confusingly, 2004’s can also be found elsewhere in this summer issue, but they are typically within the pages for newly profiled producers and the others section. If that’s all too much to follow, just try wading into my new Note-Finder where everything is in one place. Hope that makes some sense!

Maison Camille Giroud

No major news from Giroud, the wines speak for themselves as perfect examples of the fresh elegance that can be found in 2004. I placed an order for a few of these

2004 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Rouge
I still have a few of the 2003 left and it’s easy to under-estimate how good these wines can be. A friend’s ‘house red’ in recent months was the 2003 Bourgogne from Chanson – worthy, tasty, sweet and simple; we followed one with the Giroud 03 and there was an incredible extra dimension of fruit in the mid-palate and finish – as good as many village wines, but what about the 04 version? A wide and fresh powdery fruit nose. The wine is fresh, with some sweetness but walks a tightrope with the acidity that is just a little prickly. The fruit is nice and so are the aromatics, better than the 2003, but I prefer the texture of the 2003.
2004 Camille Giroud, Santenay
Deeper, redder nose, high floral tones and some minerality. Sweet palate with very good acidity that is forward and just a little racy – but not aggressively so. Should age very nicely on this balance, just a little faint drying tannin on the finish. This is a world away from most 2003 Santenays, but I rather like it.
2004 Camille Giroud, Aloxe-Corton Les Cras
A high-toned nose that gradually becomes deeper, denser and redder. The palate is nicely textured and intense. Again quite racy acidity with a super finish – a real burst. A very good villages.
2004 Camille Giroud, Gevrey-Chambertin
High-toned red fruit against deeper mineral notes. Sweet palate with slightly drier tannins – lots of high-toned fruit in the mouth that has a really super creamy component in the long finish. Another wine that opens out in the mid-palate to the finish – more subtly-so than the Aloxe. Excellent villages.
2004 Camille Giroud, Pommard 1er Cru Epenots
A more effusive nose, only slowly becomes more coherent with red fruit coming through. Lots of vigour and concentration though retains elegance. Great balancing acidity and nice texture to this wine. It’s very long, though without the creamy edge of the villages Gevrey. Very nice.
2004 Camille Giroud, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques
The nose starts diffuse and slightly mineral and earthy – almost melancholy. The palate is the direct opposite, sweet, tight, wide and long. There’s just a little grain to the tannin and again good acidity. A slow diminuendo to the length. Very nice.
2004 Camille Giroud, Corton Rognets
High registers of floral notes, middle registers of ripe red cherry plus a deeper, tighter impression – multi-layering at its best. A step-up in texture and density vs the last wines; linear and concentrated. A very pretty and long wine with super acidity. It’s a little tight, yet despite the linear face there’s no harshness. Super.

Domaine Comte Liger-Belair

It was great to see Louis-Michel again after almost 2 years and in that time there are three main changes:


  1. The label is now changed from Vicomte to Comte – not because Louis-Michel has been promoted, but rather because his father has now accepted that his son can make wine! So now he can use the family title for the domaine.

  2. What has also changed is that Louis-Michel is so much more confident; in his wines, in his winemaking and very obviously in his general demeanour as he discusses his barrels – I think there was a lot of pressure at the start but, on merit, he has overcome much.

  3. The last thing, is that he will have much more work to do! Via the Lamadon family (cousins of the Grivots) Louis-Michel is soon to start producing regional appellations!


Okay, the regional appellations will not be seen under the domaine label(!) but coming with the bourgognes (which include some aligoté) are prime slices of Echézeaux (35 ares in Cruots, 22 in Champs Traversins and 3 in Clos St.Denis) sited between the plots of Lamarche, Grivot and Henri Jayer. There is also a nice collection of Vosne-Romanée premier crus: Brûlées, Suchots and Petits Monts plus some Nuits 1er Le Cras and villages Vosne and Nuits. Altogether 12 labels from 2006 and an additional 5.5 hectares! The Petits Monts will be very interesting to contrast with the domaine’s Les Reignots as it is almost contigious, lying just above the plot of Veronique Drouhin. Lamadon was a share-cropper of many years standing, but given a few health problems he decidied to give up, aged 54. He looked for someone to take on his responsibilities and Louis-Michel was the first to offer to take everything – rather than cherry-pick – so he got the nod and gets 5.5 of Lamadon’s 7 hectares, the rest (mainly Echézeaux) is split between the Lamarche family who are long-time friends, and Lamadon’s cousin Etienne Grivot – quite obviously I will not be leaving it another two years before revisiting!

Before tasting the 2004’s (which were bottled in January) we had a tour through the 2005’s in barrel. The wines had pretty-much completed their malos, though some showed a little reduction or a trace of gas; key points are the excellent texture and balance, plus a finish to-die-for from La Romanée – just so special! They are not the cheapest wines in the village, but ‘pound-for-pound’ they offer great value.

I chatted to Louis-Michel about the barrels he is using for his La Romanée, and was given some insight into the thought that goes into this. Always (to-date) in 100% new oak, the barrels are bought from 2 coopers, but that’s only the the first level of detail. 50% of the oak comes from Alliers, contributing a relatively fine grain but making the wine quite hard to taste while young – the benefits come with age. There is about 35% Betranges oak which is wider grained and makes the wine easier to taste when young but has less longer-term effect. Finally about 15% Tronçais oak provides a little extra spice for the blend…

2004 Domaine Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée La Colombière
Sweet, slightly powdery red fruit, almost a trace of blood-orange too. Following on from the 05’s in barrel, the house-style of supple, very fine tannins is again evident – lovely mouthfeel – it’s almost as if they are not there until you get a little dryness in the finish. Sweet, forward and interesting.
2004 Domaine Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château
The nose really foxed me at the start, if the wine had been served ‘blind-folded’ as opposed to ‘blind’, I would have guessed gewurztraminer – it just had that slightly heavy, spicy feel. Swirling, warming and a little time in the glass convinced me that this was actually Vosne-Romanée as the red fruit started to shine through and the spice fade into the background. Again there is great texture and higher-toned fruit vs the Colombière and a slowly contracting finish. The acidity is just on a slightly higher level, and helps to show an edge more elegance than the first wine.
2004 Domaine Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Chaumes
Only two barrels. Louis-Michel really needs to watch this cuvée because the smaller quantity can ferment all-to quickly and produce an edge of harshness. Be keeping tabs and generally bringing more control into the cuvaison he’s sure that the wine is greatly improved. Deeper colour. A quite lovely nose of red berries and cherries, wide, high-toned and perfumed. Extra density vs the village wines, super acidity and again great texture. The finish widens out beautifully. Real class.
2004 Domaine Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Reignots
Deeper colour again. A deeper nose to match, with glossy cherry notes that are much closer to black fruit than any other wine. More structure, this is the only wine in the cave that shows a little grain to the tannin. It’s a bold yet rather tight wine, surprisingly Louis-Michel said he opened this about 6 hours earlier and it’s quite open vs then! Again super length – more linear in character than the Chaumes.
2004 Domaine Comte Liger-Belair, La Romanée
Spicier, initially less fruit-driven nose, yet each sniff brings new aromas as the nose widens out, but at the centre is a tight core of fruit that never-quite opens out. Velvetty tannin that’s on a higher level than the other wines, yet very well balanced. Super acidity and really impressive length – it’s a more linear length than the ‘panoramic’ 05 in barrel – but it’s a rather haunting diminuendo.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?