Bistro du Vin, a French Bistro under Les Amis Group, located at Shaw Centre, just next to the LA group flagship Les Amis Restaurant, organized a wine dinner with Thibault Liger-Belair, wine maker and owner of Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair (exclusively distributed by Vinum Fine Wines).
The event was sold out fast as the menu was good with affordable price. Every guest was provided an enveloped with the introduction of Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair.
Thibault Liger-Belair is one of Burgundy’s young rising stars, who set up the domaine in 2002, inherited from his father Vincent, when he was at age 26!
Thibault had spent six years of study on oenology before working as a director of an internet based wine distribution company (Wine & Co.) and as a wine buyer for FICOFI. (A high-end wine-related corporate & wealth management services)
He started implementing organic cultivation in all his vineyards owned, and have fully embraced biodynamic practice from 2005’s harvest onwards.
Thibault’s winemaking style is meticulous, from low yields to fermentation timing; restricted use of sulphur dioxide, limited use of new barrels and other practical methods that allow each wine to reflect its originality or Terroir. As for his philosophy of vinification, he believes firmly in an irreproachable sanitary state and in handling each operation delicately.
Overall, the domaine owns the following vineyards:
- Bourgogne les grand Chaillots – 1.97 acres – planted 1986
- Hautes-Cotes de Nuits le Clos du Prieure – 2.72aces, planted in 1986
- Hautes-Cotes de Nuits le Corvee de Villy – 1.73aces, planted in 1988
- Vosne Romanee Aus Reas – 1.36acres, planted in 1956
- Nuits Saint Georges la Charmotte – 0.98acres, planted in 1962
- Gevrey Chambertin les Croix des Champs: 0.49acres, planted in 1964
- Vosne Romanee 1er Cru les Petits-Monts – 0.247acres, planted in 1954
- Nuits St-Georges 1er Cru Les St-Georges – 5.19acres, planted in 1944
- Richebourg – 1.36acres, planted in 1936
- Clos Vougeot – 1.85acres, planted in 1948
- Moulin-a-Vent (Vieilles Vignes) – 8acres
- Corton Renardes Grand Cru – 0.914acres, planted in 1965
- Corton les Rognets Grand Cru – 0.44acres, planted in 1960
“ Releasing the full potential of a vineyard follows from a cultivation that responds to changing conditions of the weather, its effect on the vines and the way the grapes mature. Our role is to observe, understand and act to meet the needs of the vines and so help them reach their full natural potential. At all times, it is essential to remain humble before the magic our soils. ” – Thibault Liger –Belair
Thibault is an easygoing, friendly and open minded person. He is passionate and willing to share all his insight of burgundy, story, how’s the wine making and work in the vineyard etc etc. To him, the most important is the soil and the vineyard as the wines are from the grapes, and grapes, ultimately they come from the vineyard and, the soil.
A wine is not an expression of the wine maker, the grower and instead, wine is an expression of the soil, the vineyard, the Terroir.
He will only perform racking (separated the wine and the lees by transferred the wine to a new barrel / container) when the wine is ready to bottle and this often resulted in reduction to the wine, which make the wine hard to access when young, need long aging to bring out the real identity of the wines. He mentioned that Jancis Robinson (MW) is the only one (so far) that know how to understand his wines, and foresee what’s the wine will behave like in the future.
To me, Thibault’s wines are indeed reductive and austere when young and need long aging to really show the potential, (decant will do the trick as well) at least of what I have tasted, and very stylish by its own.
Selection of Canapés – Plum tomatoes with Iberico ham, Smoked salmon, Beef tartare
-> Very good Beef Tartare and Smoked salmon, but I love the Iberico Ham, chewy texture with good flavor that made me asked for more!
2005 Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Le Clos du Prieuré (France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits)
- This has slight steamy note with good acidity hide underneath to support the fresh red cherry, strawberry with earth and oak. Medium body, this has quite good concentration for a HCN of sweet fruits, quite acidic with powdery tannin then went on smoothly to the straight forward , creamy finish with slight alcohol heat.
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Le Clos du Prieuré (France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits)
- Served blind. The has the typical Beaujolais aromatic floral nose with fresh red berry fruits like strawberry. However, it offered more than the normal Beaujolais, more serious, and focusing with better complexity with green herb, sweet red fruits with creamy mineral and spices. The intense mid palate is well-balance with silky mouth feel, medium structure that need sometime to mellow down with refreshing acidity that provide good grip on the palate with vanilla, red cherry finish, with touch of heat. A very good Beaujolais! Those who has a perception of Beaujolais (Nouveau maybe?) is a diluted wine, should give this a try.
1st course – Pan-seared foie gras with caramelized onion, dates & white balsamic
-> A big, generous chunk of Foie Gras. Not the normal crispy skin type, but a good one nevertheless. Very rich, soft and melt in the mouth. The pairing of the sweet date and white balsamic of onion give this a very good pair. Thibault commented that the concept of pairing Sauternes with Foie Gras is not exactly right as a Pinot and thick rich white burg can easily does the trick better.
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges La Charmotte (France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges)
- Peppery and the pungent spiciness dominant the slight austere, aromatic profile with red Pinot fruits at the core. The pungent spiciness give away it’s NSG identity as spice that show at VR is more refine, and polished. My friend told me the spiciness present is because this plot located at north of NSG which is close to VR. Another wine that drinking well now alongside with the HCN with its kinda straight forward, smooth entry with lightly sweet tone that again show kinda intrusive spices with hint of rustiness and light herbish finish.
One of the famous sites owned by Thibault in Nuits Saint-Georges is “Les Saint Georges”. Considered to be a Grand Cru status (if there was ever such a revision of appellation), this large plot of vineyard is planted with vines of over 60yrs old.
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges (France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru)
- Compare to the Charmotte, this has rounder and more refine aromatic profile, but this is so tight that only giving away note of earth, spices and dark fruits. One can sense the underlying potential is better. If Charmotte is a female, this is definitely a masculine man. Structure, powerful palate that offer good depth and complexity with acidic spine, sharp mineral that towards rustic and metallic then turn to sweet, creamy long spicy finish. Not a crowd pleaser like Charmotte, but a more serious wine that take time to understand. This will only start to show in another 5yrs time.
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Clos Vougeot (France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru)
- The most reductive, tightest wine for tonight line up. The nose is broad and deep with slight austerity that come with orange tones and dark Pinot fruits intermixed with roasted herb, coffee and perfume floral tones that tightly wrap by the minty, peppery spice. Not voluptuous, no lush fruits, in fact, slight lean but intense mid palate that is so well-balance with super focus and precision with all the materials tightly coiled by the dry extract and fine-grained tannins with firm acidic backbone that flow on to the mouth watering long finished with hint of spice that gripping your tongue and will not let go. This is a wine with best potential for today line up and I believe this will be a sensuous wine when it get ready.
Main course – Pork belly confit with stewed lentils
The pork is very tender and nicely done, but I think it lack a little bit of flavors.
2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Corton-Renardes (France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru)
- This has very different aromatic profile compare to the 2007, while this is still austere, it does show better expression of dark cherry and raspberry that is sweet and lively intermixed with animal wild factor and expand a little bit more of the aromatic spectrum with the deep earthy tones and everything remain focus. The intense mid palate show good concentration and purity of sweet ripe cherry fruits with hint of spiciness. While the wine is tannic with big structure, it does has more polished, and softer texture, less austere than the wine from 2007 (for the night) with long finish that is slightly less drive than the 2007 Vougeot, it is juicier with gentle spice ad mineral aftertaste. Very good. Though this is still young, the integration of the oak is evident and I believe the lush fruits in 2006 does the trick.
Dessert – Dark chocolate terrine with vanilla custard
This is very sinful, seductive dark chocolate terrine that is so rich in flavor, with super fine texture hence the silky mouth feel that you will keep eating it even though you know this is not right!
Coffee | Tea to end the day.