The clouds part as the Comte Liger-Belair comes to London

The clouds part as the Comte Liger-Belair comes to London

Thursday 26th January 2017
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

A day of being immersed in the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair wines is a most effective way of lifting the spirits and January gloom. 

Louis-Michel Comte Liger-Belair came to town recently to present his glorious array of 2015s, a full line-up which included his much-anticipated new cuvee, Clos de Vougeot.  If anyone is capable of raising Clos de Vougeot to more ethereal heights, then it is Louis-Michel. 

The flight started off with a monopole, Clos des Grandes Vignes Blanc. This is his best to date, which is saying something after the splendid 2014.  Huge qualitative strides have been made here, ones that transcend any kind of vintage variation.  Then on to the reds, a breath-taking range, among which there were many highlights.  La Romanee was all potential, texture and depth, a wine that combines complexity and power with refinement. This Grand Cru rarely shows off until at least 8-10 years of bottle age, but always carries a sense of greatness. The rest of the wines were impressive for their divine textures and hall-mark Comte Liger-Belair elegance, a perfectly-judged counter-weight to the lushness of the vintage. 

We feel confident this will be looked back on as one of the domaine’s great vintages. A personal highlight on the day, above all others, was the Reignots.  It seems that over the last few vintages Louis-Michel has been coaxing this wine out of its youthful surliness.  Polished, full of suave forest fruits, minerals and velvet-wrapped stones, I have never seen it show so well at this early stage, and without sacrificing any vineyard character. Utterly brilliant. 

A bottle of 2006 La Romanee Grand Cru, part of the fantastic line-up of wines at lunch. 

We finished the tasting with three Aristos wines, Liger-Belair’s joint project with top Chile wine-maker Francois Massoc and world-renowned “terroir-ist” Pedro Parra.  From vines, 1000m high up in Chile’s Cachapoal, the wines display Chilean charm with old world classicism and drinkability.  This is indeed one of the new world’s most exciting ventures, the latest releases, 2010s, are their most brilliant efforts yet. We await a Pinot Noir with great anticipation….

Justerinis' dining room, ready to welcome guests for the spectacular Liger-Belair lunch.

Moving eagerly upstairs to lunch many treats lay in store.  A beautiful brace of 2011s, the monopole Vosne Clos du Chateau and Nuits Lavieres.  Chalk and cheese, but both showing how much allure and fun can be had with this overlooked vintage.  It may not be a vintage to age 15-20 years, but the wines are simply gorgeous now, something we have noted with many other domaine’s 2011s, too.  Next came a pair of 2008s: Reignots – strong-headed, mineral and brooding and the Petits Monts, my pick of the day and one of the most beautiful wines I have had the great fortune to drink over the last year – very pretty and attractive without being blowsy or over the top.  Charming yet ethereal, bursting with crisp, crystal-clear alpine strawberry character.  The crescendo came with a La Romanee 2006, which is starting to offer those rewarding secondary characteristics of sweet earth and truffle to compliment the intense, gripping fruit.   

All things considered it was a truly memorable day. Batten down the hatches and bring on more January gloom! 

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