Thibault Liger-Belair is a vigneron I have followed since 2004 – his third vintage, I think. While the wines were good – it took quite many years before the wines began to give me a great hedonistic thrill.
In recent years I have wondered more and more about the work Thibault is doing and the wines he produces – eventually enough to go visit Thibault in his new vinery in NSG.
Yes, I know; it took some time…
And I decided to taste Thibault Liger-Belair’s wines with an open mind and a blank page of note paper. Some feel that this comes naturally for me – the blank mind at least!
Even before the first drop of wine was tasted, I had no doubt in my mind that Thibault Liger-Belair has an organic and biodynamic mindset. Tasting the 2019s confirmed the lively, vivid impression I get mainly from wines made with organic principles, whether certified or not.
Thibault’s wines are quite low in sulphur, and this, coupled with his very precise use of oak, gives them an open, vivid character. They are neither overtly sulphured nor over-oaked.
I am talking, of course, only about the 2019s. But they are indeed very interesting wines.
Let’s taste, with an open mind!
Domaine des Pierres Roses Moulin à Vent Les Vieilles Vignes 2019
A large cuvee, coming from a 6.7-ha plot planted between 1910 and 1955.
All the vines are situated in a belt around the hill of Moulin à Vent. The soil is white and pink sand, which comes from the underlying pink granite and quartz layers. With 40% whole-cluster vinification, there is a slight reduction that gives an attractive, fresh note. Classic and enjoyable? Yes. A vin de soif? Perhaps. More than 15,000 bottles made.
(Drink from 2022) – Good – (86-87p) – Tasted 20/04/2021
Domaine des Pierres Roses Moulent à Vent La Roche 2019
To the top of the hill, and a wine that is more well defined. This has more evident terroir expression, and an old-vine structural element that makes it really interesting, coming from 2.25 ha planted between 1920 and 1945.
I consider this parcel the most beautiful parcel of the domaine. It is located at the top of the hill, about 30 metres from the windmill, on the pink granite outcrop.”
This has lovely structure that presumably springs from the granite soil, and gives the gamay a sappy strength and depth. Whole-cluster inclusion (30%) gives it a nice floral balance. Very enjoyable; wine for a table with friends.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good – (90-91p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne Les Grands Chaillots 2019
A blend of plots in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Chambolle-Musigny. The Nuits plot (1 ha) was planted between 1978 and 1986, while the larger Chambolle parcel (2 ha) was planted between 1954 and 1962. This has a 20% share of whole clusters, and 25% new oak. The fruit is quite delicate, with the Chambolle majority giving it mineral energy. Vinified with a light hand – mainly pump overs. It does drink well – glou-glou.
(Drink from 2021) – Good – (86-87p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Hautes-Côtes de Nuits La Covée de Villy 2019
This is a magnificent Hautes-Côtes de Nuits brimming with fine limestone – almost like licking the mineral soil.
These vines grow in very stony soil, mainly composed of lava stone, the primary limestone that forms the basis of the Côte. The first 30 centimetres of soil are composed of red-orange clays rich in ferrous elements.”
With airy and vivid fruit, this is light-footed and organic style-wise, again with a light-handed vinification. I truly like this; it has a very fine, stony feel, and is fully destemmed, giving the wine a mineral purity. This is a delightful glass.
(Drink from 2025) – Very Good – (88-89p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Hautes Côtes de Nuits Le Clos du Prieuré 2019
This Hautes Côtes comes from the hills of Arcenant, from white marl. It is somewhat more closed than the Villy, yet with more substance from deeper soil that draws another picture. I prefer the limestone of the Villy, as the 40% whole-cluster inclusion paints with a somewhat broader stroke. Interesting, but in a different way.
(Drink from 2027) – Good – (87p) – Tasted 20/04/2021
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2019
The Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes comes from five different parcels. South of Chambolle stands Fouchères, neighbor of the premier cru Borniques. Right above it is the famous Musigny with its limestone soil. To the north, next to Morey-Saint-Denis, Gamaires has deeper soil. Finally, we have Fremières, next to Beaux Bruns – two very different Chambolle village lieux-dits.”
This uses 33% new oak and 50% whole clusters; each parcel is vinified and was tasted separately, with the Fouchères showing the most pleasure in the glass with its classical limestone note. To evaluate this wine properly would take a blended sample, although the wines from both the southern and northern side each show an 89+-point potential – if one likes points.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good – (88-90p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges La Charmotte 2019
Home sweet home, from the neighbourhood just north of Nuits-Saint-Georges. This is a classical, yet slightly shy Charmotte. Somewhat reserved, it shows nice, stony minerality with some iron notes, and is airy and elegant without the NSG density and occasional slight clumpiness. I do like this style – meaning a Nuits from north of the town.
(Drink from 2028) – Very Good – (89-90p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Belles Croix 2019
Nuits Les Belles Croix is just south of the village, below the Faiveley winery. This has 50% whole clusters, and more extraction. It’s fairly classic, with an iron note many associate with NSG – and rightly so. A bit on the denser side, yet without reaching the inky darkness that shows in some NSGs when extraction takes over.
(Drink from 2029) – Very Good – (88-89p) – Tasted 20/04/2021
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Gevrey-Chambertin La Croix des Champs 2019
La Croix des Champs is from the area east of the town between the road and the rail line – an area with material from the alluvial fan of the Combe Lavaux. This is a quiet, mineral wine made with a very light toast of the 50% new oak, and 60% whole-cluster inclusion. Lovely balance and length, and with what I would call a rounded, organic feel.
(Drink from 2029) – Very Good – (90p) – Tasted 20/04/2021
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée Aux Réas 2019
Very Vosne: classical spices, violets, peony, and lilacs on a medium palate with delicate and purely flavoured notes – no whole clusters here.
It is a plot with a steep slope where the vines grow practically on the rock which, in places, is flush with the surface of the soil. The upper part of the plot is on rather dark clay.”
This is quite intense, yet delicate, with a lovely classical imprint. It’s from a strong terroir and it will take time to unfold and flourish.
(Drink from 2032) – Very Good+ – (90-91p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Charmes-Chambertin Aux Charmes 2019
The Charmes-Chambertin is a rented plot located in the vineyard’s upper section Aux Charmes – just across the road from the border between Latricieres and Le Chambertin. This is perfumed, and quite a sexy beast; 70% whole clusters does make a statement, as does the age of the vines, which were planted in 1946. Lovely pink – or perhaps a combination of red and white – roses give a sensual perfume. Intoxicating indeed, although more hedonistic than truly complex.
(Drink from 2033) – Very Fine+ – (93-95p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Clos Vougeot 2019
The Liger-Belair Clos Vougeot 2019 is a true delight, with all the airiness one could dream of from the big clos. It’s from a large plot on the southern side of the clos along the wall. This has a 40% whole clusters, and while tight with a vivid airiness, it is on both the delicate and refined sides. Ripe, yet balanced, and magnificently perfumed – roses, peonies, violets, and even hints of lilac.
(Drink from 2035) – Very Fine+ – (94-95p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 2019
Now we get serious as the big NSG enters the room: the mighty Les Saint-Georges, and I actually I feel Thibault is talking to me through this intense yet delicate wine. It is floral, with peony and rose gracing the relatively powerful terroir, yet it remains light-footed and effortless with a delicate feel – airy and organically rounded with plenty of detail. The inclusion of 40% whole clusters brings the wine home, and the result lights the way towards hedonistic grace. This is a highly enjoyable glass, showing both the greatness of the terroir and the filigreed side of 2019.
(Drink from 2035) – Very Fine+ – (93-95p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Richebourg 2019
This is an old boy, from vines planted in 1931 and 1934 in the upper core of the Richebourg vineyard. It is floral, with 30% specially sorted whole clusters (the main stem only of the cluster is removed) giving a nuanced, yet not so stemmy feel. This technique brings out the more perfumed. delicate notes of pink roses and peonies, and it it is refined with greatness only found in a big Richebourg. Still, this is not about power, rather about seduction and refinement. A rare bird!
(Drink from 2042) – Outstanding – (95-96p) – Tasted 20/04/2021 –
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc 2019
This is a third pinot blanc, coming from 50-year-old vines in a white marl clos. It’s a mineral-driven wine, with the pinot blanc driving the acidity. Saline and mouth-watering, this has a lively, stony feel. The 2019 vintage ads slightly exotic fruit to balance the pinot blanc perfectly.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good – (88-89p) – Tasted 20/04/2021