Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair.
A decade of the Winehog began at this fine estate at a memorable tasting with some of the great wine writers of the time: Roy Richards, wine merchant extraordinaire; and the great Clive Coates, who now is enjoying well-deserved leisure after producing some tremendous books over the last 40 years.
Times have changed over the past decade, however. While not always for the better, in general, Burgundy wines have improved, and the world of Burgundy has many new names in the starry sky.
Global warming is the only pebble in the shoe, and time alone will show how Burgundy changes during a second decade of the Winehog.
Hedonistic indulgence and joy have become my mantra after a long, philosophical discussion at a small house in Vosne-Romanée. This has caused some important, and in some cases quite dramatic, re-evaluations of many producers whose wines I have tasted over the years.
The question is really simple: Do the wine and the producer provide hedonistic joy and energy, or even create a true vin d’emotion?
It did not take long for me to determine that the wines of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair do bring me joy, hedonistic pleasure, and tremendous indulgence. They have a certain ability to thrill and seduce me – often followed by the urge to get another bottle to share with my friends.
The best wines from this estate are sinfully decadent, and in some cases, almost mythically delicate – they are above all the archetypal definition of vin d’emotion.
Yes, they have a distinctive style, like all good wines. And yes, they have a strong reference to the essence of the wines of the great Henri Jayer, although in my opinion the Liger-Belair wines on average take the hedonistic thrill to even higher levels – the gratification is in the same league.
I am normally very careful with comparisons to Henri Jayer. But only the Comte Liger-Belair wines show the hedonistic grace and liveliness to match the best wines of the grand master. While the style is different, the wines are from my point of view even better in many cases, although the joy, the exultation, and the seductive flair sometimes show a surprising resemblance.
In the end, Louis-Michel Liger-Belair’s wines have 100% their own character – joy and drinkability in a modern and biodynamic context.
The 2020s from Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair
The 2019 vintage is unique, as its reds offer energy, purity, and very fine balance and complexity that are almost second to none – a historically great vintage.
The 2020s will be seen in the shadow of the mighty ’19s. But hopefully, the merits of its own fine qualities and cooler stance will support its status.
Make no mistake: The 2020 vintage was as hot as the two previous vintages. But the drought and altered ripening process have given many wines a bit more acidity than the 2019s, helped as well by slightly cooler nights.
So 2020 produced wines that are less exuberant than the ’19s, with less flamboyant fruit, and yet with a cooler feel, and in the best cases with ripe phenolics. The 2020s are more classical, with a more linear and structured nature.
An exciting proposition – yet with some risk of unripe phenolics.
Tasting notes for the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair 2020s
The tasting included the usual lineup, but also included a fairly recent addition: the Nuits-Saint-Georges village made from young vines in the Clos des Grandes Vignes. Neither the Reignots nor the Vosne-Romanée were tasted due to elevage timing.
For the record, Louis-Michel Liger-Belair uses 100% new oak for all wines except the white and the aforementioned NSG village, where the share is around 30%.
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Grandes Vignes Blanc 2020
The Grandes Vignes 2020 white is showing fine promise with its cool stance. It’s fresh and vivid, with lovely depth and intensity, tremendous length, and fine phenolic ripeness. I do like this wine in 2020 – it could be the best yet.
(Drink from 2030) – Fine (92-93p) – Tasted 06/07/2021 – CASK –
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges 2020
This is the fourth vintage of this relatively new cuvee made from the young vines in the Clos des Grandes Vignes. It’s a fresh, vivid 2020 with good depth and intensity. Clearly an entry-level wine, it lacks a bit of the intensity and hedonistic charm of the other cuvees. A third new oak makes this ready to rock within a reasonable number of years, or even earlier. Still, it lacks some of the liveliness of the 2019.
(Drink from 2028) – Very Good (87p) – Tasted 06/07/2021 – CASK –
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges Lavieres 2020
Interestingly, the NSG Lavieres seems much more influenced by typical Nuits-Saint-Georges notes than in previous years. It has a fairly strong, mineral hint of iron to remind us of its origins. A bit on the structured and inky side, and not showing much currently.
(Drink from 2028) – Very Good (88p) – Tasted 06/07/2021 CASK
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée Colombiere 2020
The Vosne-Romanée Colombiere is some steps up from the lesser cuvees (the regular Vosne-Romanée was not tasted). It is vivid and elegant, with layers of Vosne spices and depth. Old vines are in play here, offering good energy even in a dry vintage.
(Drink from 2031) – Fine+ (90-92p) – Tasted 06/07/2021 – CASK –
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