2016 Morey-St Denis, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Lignier-Michelot
About this WINE
Virgile Lignier has worked alongside his father since 1988, really taking charge from 2000 by which time all the wines were being bottled at the domaine. Significant advances were made in the vineyards, reducing yields and ploughing the soil, along with the introduction of a sorting table and a higher percentage of new wood in the cellar.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Morey is sometimes ignored between its two famous neighbours, Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin, but its wines are of equal class, combining elegance and structure. Morey-St Denis, being that little bit less famous, can often provide excellent value.
The four main Grand Cru vineyards continue in a line from those of Gevrey-Chambertin, with Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche the most widely available. Clos des Lambrays (almost) and Clos de Tart (entirely) are monopolies of the domains which bear the same names.
Domaine Dujac and Domaine Ponsot also make rare white wines in Morey-St Denis.
- 64 hectares of village Morey-St Denis
- 33 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). Best vineyards include Les Charmes, Les Millandes, Clos de la Bussière, Les Monts Luisants
- 40 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard. Clos de Tart, Clos des Lambrays, Clos de la Roche, Clos St Denis and a tiny part of Bonnes Mares
- Recommended Producers: Dujac, Ponsot, Clos de Tart, Domaine des Lambrays
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
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From Très Girard (60 years old), Les Cognées (68) and Chenevery (70, just under Les Millandes), there is more clay here and so more volume on the palate. Long skin contact gives this a very sophisticated sheen over its glossy red fruits. Drink 2021-2026.
Adam Bruntlett, Wine Buyer
Virgile Lignier started working alongside his father in 1988, really taking charge from 2000, by which time all the wines were being bottled at the domaine. Significant advances were made in the vineyards, reducing yields and ploughing the soil, along with the introduction of a sorting table and a higher percentage of new wood in the cellar. The domaine has an exemplary range of Morey- St Denis vineyards, supplemented by one or two cuvées from neighbouring villages. By his own admission, in his early days Virgile Lignier looked for too much extraction from his wines. The tide began to turn in 2006 and today he is very comfortable in his style. He does like to look for good levels of maturity and he waited just a day or two more than his neighbours to pick, beginning on 29th September and finishing on 3rd October in his Faconnières vineyard. He likes long skin contact, starting at a cool temperature, but with limited pumping over. Virgile is perfectly satisfied with his results in 2016, but did remark that it was hard work getting to what was eventually a very healthy harvest.
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