Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair
Grand Cru Red barrel
Tasted: Jan 10, 2012
Producer note: Thibault Liger-Belair, who is a cousin of Louis-Michel Liger-Belair (see above), told me that 2010 "yielded a small crop but at the same time gave us excellent quality. I began picking on the 24th of September and while there was some sorting work required, it was relatively minor. The fruit had excellent phenolic maturity and good acidities with average pHs. Potential alcohols were strong at between 12.8 and 13.8% and there was basically no chaptalization of any consequence. There was a moderately high incidence of shot berries and in general the skins were quite thick. The berries didn't have a lot of juice in them and between those various factors, yields were definitely significantly lower than they were say in 2009. I did a comparatively soft vinification as there were only 3 total punch downs during the primary fermentation. I relied more on pump overs as the cuvaisons were quite long because as I like to joke that my yeasts were lazy. Because of the high proportion of shot berries there was quite a bit of sugar released during the pressing so there was a material amount of fermentation that occurred in barrel. The wines were pretty difficult to taste before the malos as they were quite strict but afterwards they have improved by the month. I really like my 2010s and believe that they are the best wines that I have ever made. They have everything that I look for in fine pinot noir as there is excellent typicity, elegance, freshness and vibrancy." Thibault Liger-Belair is clearly coming into his own as a winemaker and the wines reflect his growing confidence. This is a domaine to watch as the quality seems to only go from strength to strength. In this same vein, the Liger-Belair '09s have turned out extremely well. Readers should be aware that the Liger-Belair cellars are very deep and particularly cold and thus many of the wines are often strongly reduced. (Vineyard Brands, www.vineyardbrands.com, Birmingham, AL; Lay & Wheeler, www.laywheeler.com, UK, O.W. Loeb, www.owloeb.com, UK and Berry Brothers & Rudd, www.bbr.com, UK).
Tasting note: Reduction. By contrast there is excellent verve to the exceptionally rich and impressively intense large-scaled flavors that possess excellent power on the overtly muscular, precise and driving finish. This is quite firmly structured but there is good buffering extract that should allow this well-balanced effort to age gracefully.