The domaine is led by Benoit Stehly, nephew of Georges Lignier, who worked at the domaine for a decade alongside his uncle, before assuming control of the work in both the vineyard and the cellar in 2008. His approach is very traditional, as he seeks to achieve maximum aromatic concentration, above nearly all other characteristics, including structural or color concentration. To achieve this, techniques such as a slightly later harvest and 80% destemming are employed. At the Villages level, the wines are raised in older barrels, while the 1er Crus see 30% new oak, and the Grand Crus 50% new oak. A vein of seductive elegance runs throughout the full range of wines, inviting a complex and beautiful conversation with each glass. The sensitive palate will thoroughly enjoy this approach, a statement of respect for the grandest of traditions in Burgundy and a sublime expression of the terroir underlying some of the most renowned sites in the Cote de Nuits. Since 2010 the wines are neither fined nor filtered.
When it comes to the vineyard holdings, the depth of appellations in both the Premier and Grand Crus is astounding. Overall, the domaine counts sixteen hectares encompassing 50 parcels, across 17 appellations in both white and red. Moreover, these are generally not single rows of rare plots, but substantial parcels within some of the greatest sites in the Cote d’Or. For example, the estate is the largest proprietor of the Grand Cru Clos Saint-Denis, at 1.49 hectares, and controls over a hectare of the Clos de la Roche Grand Cru. More information is listed in the descriptions below, but these holdings, coupled with an average vine age of over 50 years across the domaine, should catch the attention of anyone who appreciates Burgundy.
|Bourgogne Aligote: Domaine Georges Lignier owns 1.8 ha of Aligote all within Morey St. Denis. Made from 5 plots, the most significant part (70%) is from 60 year old vines located in “les aires”. Fermentation (with natural yeast)and aging is in stainless steel tanks. Deeply mineral and direct, this is classic Aligote.|
|Marsannay Blanc: From a small (less than ¼ hectare parcel) in the lieu-dit of “En la Verde” in Marsannay; a plot that is a mix of clay and limestone; frequently exposed to cool winds coming from the woods above the village, the vines see large swings in temperature during the growing season which re-enforce the dominant minerality of this wine; barrel-fermented and aged. NOTE: very limited availability!|
|Marsannay Rouge: The virtue of this wine from a parcel in the north of the appellation is that it doesn’t try to do too much. There is pure and racy fresh cherry with hints of earth and iron, grounded with gentle tannins. Those who enjoyed the ‘13 will find the ‘14 to be a bit more serious and complete in the glass. Only 20 cases available for the USA|
|Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc: From a tiny planting of Chardonnay in the “Clos Solon” lieu-dit producing only 600 bottles or so annually; 2012 is only the second harvest for the domaine; barrel-fermented and aged with an underlying earthiness and rusticity that makes for an intriguing expression from one of the rare white wines of the Cote de Nuits.|
|Bourgogne Rouge “Champs de la Vigne”: Comes from a small parcel that borders Morey-St.-Denis and exhibits very pure cherry, a bright minerality, and some firm tannins. A very graceful yet serious Bourgogne Rouge. 50 cases available for the USA.|
|Bourgogne Passetoutgrain: This is a traditional blend of 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Gamay, with the two cépages harvested and vinified separately before assemblage. Elevage is all in steel tank and the fruit is sourced from three parcels in Morey-Saint-Denis. Light, fresh, and easy to drink, as is to be expected from a pleasant Passetoutgrain.|
|Chambolle Musigny: The estate owns a prime 0.71ha parcel of 70-year vines that cuts across the “Les Drazey” and “Les Bussieres” vineyards in Chambolle-Musigny, just below the 1er Cru “Les Sentiers”. The finesse of this wine speaks of the Chambolle pedigree, though its ideal location and ancient vines produce a depth that elevates it to a level beyond what one would expect from a Villages.|
|Morey-Saint-Denis Rouge: Four parcels totaling over 1.5ha go into this cuvee, which is enticingly aromatic, with a satisfying acidity through the finish. In its youth, there are notes bordering on sauvage, which evolve into a fine aged leather character with some age.|
|Gevrey Chambertin: The domaine has 2.2ha of 50-year vines (average age) across three parcels at the Gevrey Chambertin Villages level. The parcels are found in Les Murots, Le Fourneau, and En Vosne/En Dérée, which are located across a broad swath of Gevrey making this a cuvée with a classic expression of the village, albeit with a finesse that one finds across the entire range of wines from this domaine.|
|Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru “Clos des Ormes: Domaine Georges Lignier owns a full 2 hectares out of the 4 hectares that comprises the “Clos des Ormes”, making this estate by far the largest holder, as the remaining 2 hectares are split between seven different owners. Obviously, this impeccably situated “cru” is one of the more important appellations of the estate and much attention is paid to rendering a wine of great finesse and grace. Interestingly, the Lignier holdings here are amongst the “youngest” of the domaine as the average age is 45 years, old vines for sure but less so in the context of the domaine as an entirety. This wine typically carries a lighter robe, deceptive perhaps because the concentration levels are high and limn the wine in high relief through its intense aromatics and persistent finish. The grace of pinot noir planted in the most elite sectors of the Cote d’Or is on fine display here.|
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Combottes: A single 0.41 hectare parcel is the source for this wine, which offers a depth and complexity that speaks of the Grand Crus encircling this prime vineyard site. The vines are between 55 and 60 years of age. This formidable lieu-dit provides us with a sturdy wine with plenty of material, a darker robe and significantly more forceful structure. Aged for 18 months in small barrels, approximately one-third of which are new.
|Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru: At 1.4 hectares, the domaine is the largest single proprietor of this great vineyard (total of 6.6 hectares in size), which is slightly elevated on the slope compared to its immediate neighbors. This setting receives a more significant downdraft of air from the “sousbois” above which keeps the vines cooler and yields a wine of exceptional elegance and balance. The Georges Lignier vines cover two parcels, with vines in one planted 70 years ago, and the vines in the other parcel planted 50 years ago. Benoit Stehly renders a supremely fine example of the complex character of this renowned vineyard which has feline grace to its presence that is seductive and alluring – a wine that shines when married to the finest of cuisine.|
|Clos de la Roche Grand Cru: The 55-year old vines in the 4 parcels owned by the Domaine Georges Lignier cover a surface of 1.05 hectare, an impressive holding of vines in this most prestigious of Grand Crus where the vines rest on a slim topsoil that sits on profound bedrock, conditions that produce perfect drainage and a setting that is ideal for creating a wine of depth, power and impressive length … and formidable ageability.|
|Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru: One of the smaller holdings of the estate, their tenth of a hectare yields just over a barrel of wine in a normal vintage, meaning that an allocation on the order of five precious cases will arrive in the U.S. each year. Violets, anise and toasted coffee notes rise from the glass, while a firm tannic backbone suggests the wine needs several years in the cellar to fully develop the silky elegance of a mature Charmes Chambertin.|
|Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: The estate is fortunate to have a jewel of a parcel (slightly more than a quarter-hectare in size) in the great Bonnes Mares, on the eastern edge of the lieu-dit starting on the Chambolle side and edging into Morey. The vines were planted in 1920 and the concentration produced by these very old vines is evident in the powerful aromas that jump out of the glass. Again, expect a wine of ultimate finesse, a style favored by this domaine, which captures the essence of the complex, challenging, and ultimately satisfyingly poetic character that blesses the finest wines of this extraordinary viticultural region.|
Georges Lignier, Bitouzet-Prieur, and Meix Foulot
To get ahead of the potential effects of the threatened tariffs, we at Rosenthal are front-loading the year with great wine, and we encourage you to take full advantage. Over the next few weeks, we will welcome new releases into our warehouse from three stalwart growers: Georges Lignier in Morey-Saint-Denis, Bitouzet-Prieur in Volnay and Meursault, and Domaine Meix Foulot in Mercurey. Among these arrivals are the benchmark 2015 reds from Georges Lignier, Bitouzet’s finely wrought 2016 whites, and the full lineup of 2015 premier crus (plus the 2017 village-level Mercurey) from Meix Foulot.
Marsannay Rouge 2016: this wine was not made in 2016 due to the frost. The small number of grapes he was able to harvest were added to the Bourgogne Rouge. Marsannay Blanc 2016: did not make Marsannay Blanc due to frost damage. Aligotè: 2016: this wine failed to finish its fermentation and is still carrying […]
BY STEPHEN TANZER | JANUARY 25, 2018 Despite extreme weather conditions in both 2016 and 2015, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or has produced an outstanding pair of back-to-back vintages studded with hauntingly beautiful reds. Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur || Domaine Georges Lignier || Domaine Ghislaine Barthod || Domaine Fourrier/Jean-Marie Fourrier Ten years from now, when their painful memories of […]
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