Today we’re visiting Domaine Hubert Lignier, a father-son duo that produces 24 wines in Côte de Nuits of the Burgundy region. In celebration of their family legacy and their great selection of wines that, in their own words, “bring pleasure, sometimes emotions, but never taste alike,” we’re exploring some of our favorite bottles.
As Laurent Lignier of Domaine Hubert Lignier puts it, “We aspire to make authentic and sensual wines that express their own terroir.”
2018 Bourgogne Aligoté
The Lignier family owns a 0.4-hectare parcel of Aligoté in Gevrey-Chambertin proper, planted in 1944, and this wine offers a salty, racy profile of blasted chalk and golden fruit. It is a restrained, finely wrought Aligoté that avoids some of the variety’s occasionally coarse notes in favor of a prevailing mineral character. Vinified and aged in stainless steel on its fine lees, this wine was bottled without fining or filtration just prior to the succeeding harvest.
2018 Saint-Romain Blanc
Hubert and Laurent began producing a Saint-Romain Blanc in 2004, the year Romain passed away, and they continue to make it in his honor today, sourcing the fruit from a 0.3-hectare parcel in the steep, southeast-facing Sous le Chateau vineyard. This site’s stony, poor-soiled terrain yields a wine of notable minerality, framed by luscious pit fruits and a tense acidity typical of the appellation. This cuvée undergoes alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel (20% new), and rests on its fine lees for 15 months with minimal batonnage before bottling.
2018 Fixin Blanc
A rare white wine from the Côte de Nuits, Hubert and Laurent’s Fixin Blanc comes from a minuscule parcel of poor topsoil in this appellation known more for its relatively foursquare reds. While Chardonnay here struggles to reach the heights of the Côte de Beaune’s best sites, this wine deftly balances palate-coating richness with vibrant acidity, and a subtle saline element adds intriguing complexity. This cuvée undergoes alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel (20% new), and rests on its fine lees for 15 months with minimal batonnage before bottling. Unfortunately, 2018 marks this wine’s final vintage, as the Ligniers’ metayage contract for the parcel expired that year.
2018 Bourgogne Rouge “Grand Chaliot”
The Grand Chaliot vineyard is situated just south of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Ligniers work 1.25 hectares of 30-year-old vines there. Given its proximity to Nuits-Saint-Georges, this wine possesses a seriousness and complexity uncommon in a Bourgogne Rouge. This 2018 displays the vintage’s inherent richness—one which is accentuated by a natural concentration of fruit due to a July hailstorm—but it remains fresh and balanced, in true Lignier fashion. As with the Passetoutgrain, this is raised in used barrels and bottled just prior to the following harvest.
2017 Pommard “En Brescul”
Although the Lignier domaine is historically associated with the Côte de Nuits, their firmly classical house style melds beautifully with the mineral rigor of Pommard. Hubert and Laurent ventured into this zone during the period of uncertainly following Romain’s death, and this “En Brescul” comes from a 0.4-hectare parcel of 20-year-old vines on which the family has a 25-year lease. Effusively stony, this 2018 presents mouthwatering red fruits on a firmly mineral frame, with impressive concentration for its level. It was de-stemmed entirely and raised in 25% new wood.
2017 Nuits-Saint-Georges “Les Poisets”
In 2010, the Ligniers purchased a third of a hectare of old vines (circa 1947) in this vineyard that sits just below the great premier cru Les Cailles in the southern part of Nuits-Saint-Georges. The 2017 displays a firm mineral backbone typical of its village of origin, but with a very Lignier sense of drive and freshness. This vintage was fully de-stemmed, and saw a modest 15% new wood during its 18-month élévage.
From the south-facing Regnard lieu-dit in the southern sector of Gevrey-Chambertin, where
the Ligniers are in contract to access a parcel of Pinot Noir here between 40 and 70 years of age. 2017 marks the first vintage it was bottled separately, and Laurent decided to de-stem it entirely to preserve its purity of fruit. Indeed, this is a fresh, silken wine with intense minerality and marked tension—a wonderful counterpoint to the more somber “Les Seuvrées” below. Its modest 20% new oak is all but invisible even now.
Les Seuvrées sits just below the grand cru Mazoyeres-Chambertin on the slope, bordering the northern edge of Morey-Saint-Denis. The Ligniers own a hectare of very old vines here, planted between 1938 and 1966, and this cuvée always displays a darker, more rugged side of the appellation, with meaty depth and intense concentration even in a relatively easygoing year like 2017. Laurent retained 20% whole clusters during the vinification and employed 20% new barrels for the élévage.
2017 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Aux Combottes”
Aux Combottes is one of the more enviably situated premier crus in the Côte de Nuits, flanked on three of its four borders by grand crus, and perched just north of Clos de la Roche on the slope. The Ligniers own a 0.15-hectare sliver of vines planted in 1957, and this wine is a perennial standout in their cellar, offering power in reserve and a chiseled structure that beckons for a bit of cellaring patience. A mid-July hailstorm reduced yields here in 2017 and amplified the wine’s sense of concentration. Laurent produced just two barrels—one second-passage and one third-passage—and the subsequent oak influence is negligible even at this early stage.
Since 2009, the Lignier family has purchased grapes from a half-hectare parcel in this well-positioned vineyard just below premier cru Clos Sorbé on the slope in southern Morey-Saint-Denis. Its 40-year-old vines produce a lithe, energetic wine that leans toward Chambolle-Musigny in its overall graceful character, but with a textbook Morey-Saint-Denis savory underpinning. The 2017 was entirely de-stemmed and raised in 25% new oak, and it should provide for excellent early drinking.
2017 Morey-Saint-Denis “Trilogie”
Lignier’s “Trilogie” is produced from small holdings of very old plantings in three different Morey-Saint-Denis lieux-dits: Chenevery, Clos Solon, and Porroux, with vines planted between 1936 and 1972. There’s a greater intensity of structure to this wine than the “Très Girard” above, with deeper mineral thrust and a wilder spice element, yet it preserves a sense of lift and drive. Laurent employed 20% whole clusters for this 2017, which saw just 20% new oak during its 18-month élévage.
2017 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru “La Riotte”
Situated at the foot of grand cru Clos-Saint-Denis, La Riotte is a cru full of small stones, and it possesses a distinctively vivid, tight-grained minerality from which all other elements of the wine seem to flow. Beneath the dominating calcareous elements of this 2017 are gorgeous red fruits, wispy spices, and a notable floral character; it’s a powerful wine that nonetheless refrains from drawing attention to its power. This vintage was vinified with 20% whole clusters and aged in one-quarter new wood for 18 months.
2017 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru “Les Chaffots”
The Ligniers own just under half a hectare of 50-year-old vines in this great premier cru, which sits just above Clos-Saint-Denis on the slope. In striking contrast to the “La Riotte” above, this vineyard yields a wine of brooding tension, blacker of fruit and sterner, with a more rigorous acid profile and far more blatant power underpinning it. “Les Chaffots” is unfailingly a profound wine that beckons for some patience, but the purity of fruit—as in all of Lignier’s 2017s—is striking here, even in the context of such tight-grained structure. A July hailstorm reduced yields here by about one-third.
2017 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru “Vieilles Vignes”
The Ligniers’ iconic “Vieilles Vignes” encompasses tiny holdings in two different premier crus: 0.33 hectares in Les Faconnières planted between 1947 and 1960, and 0.2 hectares in Les Chenevery planted between 1936 and 1942. Both crus are situated just beneath Clos de la Roche on the slope, and the resultant wine always possesses an ineffable grand-cru “x-factor” and an exceptional sense of sappiness from the vines’ extreme age. This vintage displays exceptional finesse, with a kaleidoscopic spiciness on the nose and plenty of freshness to balance the cuvée-typical notes of freshly turned earth and darkly savory fruit. Laurent employed 20% whole clusters and 30% new oak for the 2017, which spent a lengthy 21 months in barrels.
2017 Chambolle-Musigny “Les Bussières”
Les Bussières sits just below the premier cru Les Sentiers (and just down-slope from grand cru Bonnes-Mares), hard on the border of Morey-Saint-Denis. The Ligniers exploit just under a half-hectare of vines here—a total of four parcels, planted between 1947 and 1983—and the wine they produce from here combines a classically Chambolle elegance with a certain mineral-derived strictness, a structure deriving more from intense calcareousness than overt tannins. One-quarter whole clusters were retained in the vinification of this 2017, which spent 18 months in barrels of which 20% were new.
2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru “Les Chabiots”
Les Chabiots is a tiny vineyard of particularly excellent positioning, situated immediately above the fabled premier cru Les Amoureuses on the slope, and just next to Le Musigny. From vines planted in 1997, Laurent and Hubert produce a Chambolle of breathtaking finesse, dazzling aromatics, and all the gorgeousness one would expect from such real estate, made even more vivid by their careful, patient élévage. The Ligniers produced just three barrels of 2017 (one new), and this should drink beautifully on the early side despite its layered complexity.
2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru “Les Baudes”
Located at the foot of the hallowed grand cru Bonnes-Mares just south of the Morey-Saint-Denis border, “Les Baudes” is the classic Chambolle premier cru of the domaine, and the Ligniers own a scant 0.18-hectare parcel of 55-year-old Pinot Noir here. Explosive and muscular where the “Chabiots” is delicate, this bristles with energy and possesses real cling on the palate, whose resoundingly long finish promises years of positive evolution. Laurent employed 20% whole clusters and one-third new wood for this 2017.
2017 Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru
Beginning with the 2014 vintage, Hubert and Laurent have sourced grapes from a 50-year-old plot in this minuscule grand cru—producing just two barrels of wine per year. Of the three grand crus issuing forth from the Ligniers’ cellar, this is the most airy and delicate, emphasizing higher-toned spices and floral elements in its aromatics, and with a mineral-drenched, lifted palate of notable energy. This 2017 spent 18 months in wood—one new 228-liter barrel and one older 350-liter cask—and was de-stemmed 80%.
2017 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
The Lignier family owns a mere tenth of a hectare in the Mazoyeres-Haut climat of this Gevrey-Chambertin grand cru. From their old vines (planted in 1948), they render a wine of immense power and concentration, yet always with a sense of underlying refinement. This 2017 is magisterial, with poised intensity but an uncanny sense of equilibrium, and a mineral core of incredible depth. Laurent used 20% whole clusters here, and the wine has all but swallowed its 30% new wood even at this youthful stage.
2017 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
The Ligniers own just under a hectare in this hallowed grand cru, split among two plots: 0.62 hectares in the climat of Monts Luisants, and 0.28 hectares in Les Fremières. Laurent’s grandfather Henri planted the first vines here in 1955 and propagated the remainder of the holdings via selection massale between 1960 and 1966. One of the most iconic wines in our portfolio, Lignier’s Clos de la Roche is also one of the greatest wines in Burgundy, vintage after vintage. The site’s particular terroir—a few inches of pebble-strewn topsoil above solid limestone rock—yields a wine of unfathomable mineral intensity, with rugged spices and a profound sense of earth framing its flinty, smoke-tinged core. It is a site that always asserts itself with force, showing its pedigree even among such lofty company as can be found in the Lignier cellar. This remarkable 2017 was vinified with 30% whole clusters and spent a full 21 months in barrels, a third of which were new; as always, it should be cellared with utmost patience.
2017 Clos de la Roche “MCMLV” Grand Cru
For the first time, Laurent Lignier produced a separate cuvée of Clos de la Roche in 2017 in honor of his grandfather Henri. The magnificent Clos de la Roche “MCMLV” comes entirely from Henri’s first planting in 1955: 27 rows of Pinot Noir in the Monts Luisants climat, which he used to propagate the rest of his holdings during the 1960s. This original parcel is highly susceptible to millerandage, which results in small berries of immense concentration, and Laurent harnessed the full power and intensity of such fruit in this stupendous bottling—of which he produced a mere two barrels. To imagine a wine of even greater profundity and simmering complexity than the traditional Clos de la Roche at Lignier is difficult; however, Laurent has indeed reached new heights with the “MCMLV,” and the lucky few who will gain access owe it to themselves to hold the wine for a spell.
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