Masterclass – Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair (20110409)

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair conducted a masterclass with his wines -> Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, all from 2008 vintage. This masterclass was conducted at the same timing with some other masterclass, which the Les Mesnil masterclass was overlap with it. After some consideration, I decided to go for the Les Mesnil masterclass for the Salon 1996 & 1997, however, due to some reasons, I wasn’t able to join the Les Mesnil masterclass and eventually I was slot in to this masterclass, which I must admit, to have the chance to to taste the wines from Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair and having Louis Michel to share his knowledge of his wines and vineyard, was a immense pleasure.

His wines all share a common ground : Classy, pure, elegance, not WOW but full sense of harmonious and calm. The wines from Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair are for purist, and anyone who love Burgundy should at least try their wines once in their life.

Louis Michel : ‘A wine is made to drink, not just for taste’

  • Some of the wines that you opened in a dinner, you taste, talk about it, but eventually you never finish the wine. Some of the wine, you opened and drink, and the wine is so attractive that you can’t wait to drink another glass of it or even another bottle! Obviously Louis Michel is aimed to produce wines for drink and wine lover can finish the bottle even when young. After tasted his wine, I’m 100% sure that he has succeeded.

Louis Michel : ‘Everything begin from the Vineyard’

  • The wine comes from the vineyard, hence, literally, he spent almost 100% of his time to work in the vineyard in order to have the best material to produce his wines.
Louis Michel :  ‘A wine that is not good when young, it will never be good’
  • If a wine can’t attract you when it is young, it will 99% still can’t attract you 10yrs later. Well said, why we want to wait for 10-20yrs for a wine that not impress you when it is young? Life is too short to wait and wait and wait and eventually get disappointed.

Louis Michel :  ‘A Grand Cru, still a Grand Cru’

  • In 1933, during the auctioned of their vineyards, they buy back La Romanee, Reignots and Chaumes. They paid GBP 1400 per hectare for the Reignots, a 1er Cru vineyard that situated just next to La Romanee, a Grand Cru vineyard. The price of the La Romanee GBP 200,000 per hectare. Well, a Grand Cru, still a Grand Cru. For more detail, please refer to the quote below.

Louis Michel : ‘The difference between 1er Cru & Grand Cru’

  • Wine from 1er Cru is just like a teenage that has lots of vigor and muscle that eager to prove itself. Many ppl misunderstood the definition of Grand Cru, they thought Grand Cru is a enormous wine or a turbo charge version of a 1er Cru, which WOW / explode on the palate. Instead, a Grand Cru is all about harmonious and class, you can hardly dissect the wines or the flavors. In short, a wine from Grand Cru plot is not a ‘show off’ wine.

Tasting Notes:

The Village ::

2008 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    High tone of peppery spice, violet and red floral with red pinot fruits in the background. Very fine on the palate, with spices nuances from the entry to the finish, over high tone red pinot fruits and floral. Pure, spicy, powerful long finish that linger with mineral. Delicious. I’m glad that I prefer this to the Colombiere because it is cheaper! A buy.

2008 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée La Colombiere – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée

-> Louis Michel : Soil is quite clean and able to offer better depth.

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    Lower tones of spices, white pepper, more restraint but with better focus of sweet fruits. Pure, fresh acid spine with really sapy, juicy mid palate along with lots of fruits and mineral that linger through the firm, fresh finish, now as power as the Vosne Romanee, but perhaps better depth. I have this instinct the I like the straight Vosne Romanee better for the purity and fine palate.
The 1er Cru :: 

2008 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

-> Louis Michel : Top of the hills. 

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    This is clearly a step up from both village, with enormous depth and complexity. Floral, was the aromas that hit me for the first sniffed, really seductive along with the rounded aromas of spices that only Vosne capable to produce. Curry leaf, sweet red and blue pinot fruits, coffee and brown sugar completed the complex aromatic profile. This medium bodied wine is well weighted on the palate, with fresh and pure fruits, rich spices: clove, anise and sweet fig. Very clean on the powerful finish. Very good 1er Cru.

2008 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Reignots – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    From a big parcel which produce approx 10barrels every year. Aux Reignots offer more complexity for the mixture of soil.
    Similar complex aromatic profile to the Petit Monts, but this is even spicier on the nose with better focus and depth, very fine. This doesn’t possess the mid palate punch and power as the Petit Monts, but with better depth and purity, very classy, sophisticated I would say. Impeccable balance, harmonious, seamless finish that doesn’t like the explosive finish that Petit Monts could offer, instead, it lingers with juicy sweet dark fruits and spices with great persistent. I prefer this than the Petit Monts. A Zen wine and of course, a buy.
The Grand Cru ::
2008 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
-> A serious stuff. However, it was a shame that the La Romanee is not presented. Hope there will be another masterclass with the La Romanee in the line-up! 
  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    A shy kid. This too display lots of alluring spices, very deep but this is still very tight and reserved, with good sense of harmony. Larger scale with perfectly ripe dark and red fruits, rounded spiciness, polished, refine and elegance that differentiate itself from all the Echezeaux that I had previously, which all has this rustiness. Classy, remarkably fresh with stunning depth and complexity, everything remained super focus and razor sharp precision. Complex long finish. Delicious! Very calm and warmth, a Zen wine. I’m fan now!

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Quote from the introductory notes of the masterclass ::

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair is a very recent domaine created at the beginning of the year 2000 by Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, agricultural engineer and oenologist, with those few parcels of vineyards remaining in family hands. In reality, the domaine is not at all recent; Louis-Michel is renewing two hundred years of family tradition dedicated to the vines and wines of Burgundy, and to Vosne-Romanée in particular.

The Liger-Belair family settled in Vosne when Louis Liger-Belair, Napoleonic general, acquired the Chateau of Vosne in 1815. The domaine grew considerably under the general’s direction and that of Louis-Charles, his adopted son who was the son of his sister. Louis-Charles married Ludovie Marey, a well-known family who owned vineyards and had been negoçiants since the eighteenth century.

When Comte Louis-Charles past away, the family’s holdings covered more than sixty hectares principally in the Côte de Nuits with ownership of some of France’s most prestigious appellations: the monopolies of La Romanée, La Tâche, La Grande Rue, a large portion of Malconsorts, parcels of Chaumes, Reignots, and Suchots in Vosne Romanée, Saint Georges and Vaucrains in Nuits St. Georges, Clos Vougeot and Cras in Vougeot, Chambolle, Morey, as well as Chambertin and a domaine of fifteen hectares in Fleurie in the Beaujolais region.

The Comte Henri Liger-Belair, grandson of the Comte Louis-Charles, the eldest child of the family and great grandfather of Louis-Michel died in 1924. He left a wife and ten children in possession of twenty-four hectares of vines and the chateau. The domaine held together until the death of the Comtesse Liger-Belair in 1931. The ten children were still there but two were minors and the law of that era required that all children must be of age in order to distribute the inheritance or the estate must be sold.

Three of the family members did not want to wait until the younger children reached legal adulthood and insisted that the entirety of the domaine be put up for sale. On a sad August 31st, 1933 at the town hall of Vosne Romanée the vineyards were auctioned off. The children witnessed the departure from their patrimony of La Tache, the Malconsorts, the Brulée…..However, two of the children, Just, a priest, and his brother, the Comte Michel, Louis-Michel’s grandfather, banded together to buy back La Romanée, Reignots, and les Chaumes. The vineyards were entrusted to local vignerons, and sales to Burgundian negoçiants.

The Comte Michel died in 1941, during the war before he could redevelop the Domaine. His son, the Comte Henry, Louis Michel’s father, enlisted in the army in 1949, pursued a brilliant career and rose to the rank of general following in the footsteps of his ancestor six generations earlier. He managed the domaine leaving vineyard work to sharecroppers, and commercialization to various shippers

When he was eight years old Louis-Michel informed his parents that he intended to live in Vosne-Romanée when he grew up. His father informed Louis-Michel that he could not take charge of the domaine unless he became an engineer. Therefore, Louis-Michel majored in science, is a qualified agricultural engineer and has a degree in commerce and a diploma in oenology from the University of Dijon.

End of quote

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One Response to Masterclass – Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair (20110409)

  1. Pingback: Burghound in Asia Grand Tasting (20110409) | SimplyWines's Blog

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