Domaine Hubert Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis Grand Cru ‘Clos de la Roche’ MAGNUM 2016


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Why is this Wine so Yummy?

Surface area: 90 ares over two parcels:
• Monts Luisants: 62 ares; planted between 1955 and 1965 on hillsides with a 25% gradient.
• Fremières: 28 ares; planted between 1953 and 1960
Thin soil composed of white limestone, clay and marl over compact rock known as “dalle nacrée” (pearly flagstone) from the Middle Jurassic.
The wines are always well-coloured, aromatic, dense and complex due to various mineral compounds. The wines are powerful due to their intensity on the palate, but their tannins are concentrated, fine and silky. This is a charismatic wine of great class! Built for very long ageing.

Appelation : Clos de la Roche
Variety : Pinot Noir

About Domaine Hubert Lignier

When you’re looking at wines from the great producers, like Hubert Lignier, they optimise every year. With 2015 having already proven itself to be one of the greats, 2016 has been an excellent follow-up. Lignier’s wines will be divine!

Their wines are fresh, fine and elegant Burgundies thanks to the very little intervention in the cellar.

The fun bit, is, the personality-filled wine, layered, complex, harmonious, simply put, begging you to drink it!

In the Vineyard

Father and son Hubert and Laurent Lignier manage this 9 hectares estate in Morey-Saint-Denis. They practice organic viticulture in order to create a perfect balance for the vine’s growth but have no intention of seeking certification.

The Domaine Hubert Lignier has long had a reputation for its fine wines known for their concentration, depth and structure. From ‘humble’ beginnings bottling small amounts of two different cuvées of Morey St. Denis (the village bottling and the 1er Cru “Vieilles Vignes”) as well as the fabled Clos de la Roche, Lignier now bottle an impressive range. All of the Domaine’s holdings are now bottled under their own label. Hubert’s son, Laurent, is the next generation of this proud estate and is following his father’s traditional practices to ensure the treasures coming from the family’s impressive vineyard holdings continue to exhibit the best of their respective appellations. The Domaine owns 8.30 hectares principally in the villages of Morey Saint Denis (where their home and the cellars are located), Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny. Recently, the Ligniers have expanded their holdings to include parcels in the appellations of Nuits Saint Georges and Pommard. The Ligniers follow the principles of “lutte raisonnée” (sensible combat) in their viticulture: for example, only organic compost is used when necessary and the vineyard is tilled so that no herbicides are used. Yields vary from 20 to 55 hectoliters per hectare depending on the conditions of the growing season and the appellation. The thin, clay and limestone soil on the slopes is not conducive to vigorous growth and limits the crop naturally. A “green harvest” is used when necessary to further manage production to ensure perfect maturity. Young vines are trained using the Cordon de Royat (spur training) system, which helps control the vigor and yields as well. Of critical importance, the “sélection massale” system (i.e. replacing missing vines with cuttings from the same vineyard) is the only method used to propagate vines, a tradition that gives an extra touch of complexity and character to the resulting wines.

In the Winery

At harvest time, the pickers remove any unhealthy clusters in the field, to avoid contamination of the healthy grapes in the baskets, a practice that is supplemented with a “table de trie” at the cuverie.

Traditional vinification practices are the core of their work: grapes are destemmed and fermentation takes place in open-top cement tanks that allow manual pigéage. Only natural yeasts are used. Laurent uses an extended cold soak maceration period prior to fermentation to allow greater extraction (contrary to his father who believes that the best extraction takes place during the alcoholic fermentation). Fermentation is rather long and generally lasts 15 to 20 days following the cold soak of 5 days. The use of new oak for the élevage is carefully restrained; the norm being approximately 20% to ­ 30% on the village wines and up to 50% for the Premier and Grand Crus. The wines of the village appellations usually spend 18 months in barrel while the Premier and Grand Crus remain in cask for 20 to 24 months before being bottled, all without fining or filtration. All work in the cellar that requires movement of the wine is done by gravity; the wines are never pumped.

Hubert Lignier’s 2016 Vintage

From Stephen Tanzer

The Ligniers picked on the late side in 2016, beginning on September 28 and finishing on October 5, and most of their cuvées¬ were between 12.8% and 13.5% in potential alcohol. “And the yeasts were very efficient in 2016,” noted winemaker Laurent Lignier, “so the wines very often gained a bit of alcohol during fermentation.” The estate lost just 25% of its normal production overall in 2016, as many of its holdings are in its home village of Morey-Saint-Denis, which mostly dodged the frost. (But Lignier was quick to note that there were some crop losses in Clos de la Roche, Monts Luisants and Les Chaffots in 2017 due to hail on July 10.)

The 2016s were still in barrels at the time of my visit, and they will remain on their lees until May, with the bottling scheduled to take place in July or August. Lignier noted that he’s been doing longer élevage in barrels in recent years, pointing out that in his cold cellar (temperatures do not exceed 58 degrees F. in summer) the wines evolve slowly. The malos took place between May and September of 2017. As to the quality and style of the ‘16s, Lignier describes the wines as “very ripe, but with more red fruits than black. The ‘16s are very precise and they respect their terroirs. In their purity and definition, they resemble the 2010s, but the ‘16s have more flesh.”

The 2015s were bottled without fining or filtration at the end of July and beginning of August of 2017, entirely by gravity and with very low levels of sulfur (about 18 ppm free and between 40 and 50 total). Lignier noted that with substantial tannins and extract, 2015 is not a fragile vintage. Plus, the wines retain high levels of CO2 in barrels because they’re not racked, and the carbonic gas can take the place of SO2 during the élevage. Lignier noted that a rainy day on August 2, followed by two more rainy spells in August, helped to refresh the vines in 2015 and start the sap flowing after a very dry July. “The wines retain freshness but they’re also very rich in ripe tannins,” he told me. He finds the wines “very agreeable to drink now,” but would not be at all surprised if they shut down in bottle. And he finds less differences of terroir in 2015 than in 2016.

Vintage at Hubert Lignier

This is a fantastic short film sharing some of the history of the Domaine and a day in the life of the Lignier’s during vintage.

Where in the World is Domaine Hubert Lignier?

Domaine Hubert Lignier is based in the Côtes-de-Nuits north of Beaune in the village of Morey-Saint-Denis with wines made from Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. In addition, they source fruit from Fixin, a small parcel in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Saint Romain. Recently the Domaine has commenced sourcing fruit from Pommard to the South in the Côtes-du-Beaune. Their prize holdings are of the Grand Cru’s Clos de la Roche, Griotte-Chambertin and Charmes-Chambertin alongside a suite of excellent well positioned Premier Cru’s.

Click on any of the maps below to enlarge.

*Stocks of the Grand Crus and Premier Crus are extremely limited. First come, first served. Wines are available for immediate delivery.

97-99 Points

The 2016 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru is matured in 30% new oak with up to 30% whole cluster fruit, two-thirds from Montluisants and one-third Fremiers. It has an intoxicating bouquet that is extraordinarily complex: shimmering red berry fruit, blood orange, incense and a touch of crushed violet. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannin, wonderful depth and harmony, laser-like focus toward the finish that lingers in the mouth. Stunning mineralité here—the tongue feels as if it licked limestone 30 second after the wine has disappeared. If there is a better Clos de la Roche then I have not tasted it (yet).

Neil Martin eRobert Parker

97 Points

The 2016 Clos de la Roche from Laurent Lignier is an absolute classic in the making. The nose delivers a refined and nascently complex constellation of black plums, sweet dark berries, a touch of lavender, gamebird, a very complex base of soil, violets and nutty new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full-bodied, with a sappy core, ripe tannins, fine backend mineral drive and a very long, complex and utterly complete finish. A brilliant example of Clos de la Roche! 2030-2090.

John Gilman

93-95 Points

Good dark red. Lovely aromatic nose combines purple and red fruits, licorice, violet and spices. Wonderfully silky on entry, then broad and intense in the middle palate, offering superb depth and juicy minerality to its purple fruit and spice flavors. The Ligniers had a good yield here and this wine shows no sense of stress (by comparison, the 2015 bottling is more reserved). Finishes very long, spicy and light on its feet, with terrific palate-saturating breadth and very refined tannins.

Stephen Tanzer

91-93 Points

A whiff of volatile acidity does not really materially diminish the appeal of the earthy and markedly sauvage-inflected aromas of both red and dark pinot fruit that display a top note of various floral elements. There is excellent volume and mid-palate density to the broad-shouldered flavors that deliver fine length despite the same slightly drying finish. Once again my projected range offers the benefit of the doubt that the dryness will eventually round out with some time in bottle.

Allen Meadows

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Lignier Hubert, Grande Rue, Morey-Saint-Denis, France