Producer note: As detailed in Issue 33, Hubert Lignier, seconded by his elder son Laurent, has commenced afresh with new facilities down on the main route between Beaune and Dijon as well as using a small cellar beneath his house in Morey. The situation varies for each wine but in essence the Kellen Lignier team (see Domaine Lucie et Auguste Lignier below), which consists mostly of Kellen and her régisseur (domaine manager) Dominique Poirotte, is now responsible for all of the shared vines in terms of viticulture. With professional assistance, Kellen does all of the vinification and Hubert has the right to purchase from her a certain amount of unbottled new wine. He also has the right to purchase one-third of the production in the form of grapes from the Clos de la Roche and the old vines Morey 1er, which he then vinifies himself. With respect to the 2008 vintage, Lignier told me that "September saved the harvest. Without it, I'm sure that there would have been very little worth picking. For the parcels that we buy as fruit, we began the harvest on the 29th of September and while there was sorting required, it was less than was the case with 2007. Basically, the fruit was clean but it was necessary to eliminate the unripe berries. When all was said and done, we had a very small harvest of only about 25 hl/ha. I did a long cool maceration of 7 to 8 days but then very little punching down to arrive at a softer overall vinification. In terms of the wines, they're pretty and classic." I confess to being underwhelmed by both the '07 and the '08 vintages here and I'm not sure exactly what happened. I suspect that it relates to the still as yet uneasy working relationship between Hubert and Kellen in the sense that neither has complete control from start to finish. Still, when I compared my scores to the bottled '07s from both domaines, there was limited correlation for the upper level wines (I am obviously not referring to the Clos de la Roche or the old vines Morey 1er) but almost identical correlation for the villages level wines. I don't know what differences might lay in the respective bottling regimes and the timing of same but clearly there are differences in the resulting wines. Moreover, I have been an earnest collector of the Lignier wines since the very early '90s and neither of these vintages resembles the quality level that I am accustomed to seeing. Given that high-level expertise and fine vineyards are indisputably present, I hope things get back on track quickly. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, www.madrose.com, Shekomeko, NY; and Robert Rolls & Co., Tel: 020 76061166, UK).
Tasting note: A slightly riper and attractively refined nose of red and blue pinot fruit, earth and underbrush gives way to dusty, serious and concentrated flavors that are very firmly tannic and while there is solid length, there is also just a hint of that nagging dryness.