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The Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair is both ancient and modern: ancient because it was acquired by Louis Liger-Belair, Napoleonic General, in 1815; and modern in that it was re-launched by his successor Vicomte Louis-Michel Liger-Belair in 2000. Since 1827 the diamond in the crown of the estate has been the monopoly of La Romanée, one of the very few grand cru monopolies in Burgundy, and the smallest.
The free run wine and the press wine are then blended and left in vats to settle the lees, a process that takes close to ten days, before transferring the wines into barrel when they are as clear as possible, since the wines are rarely racked during the aging process. Clarification enzymes are used to hasten the process should the vintage require this step. The wines are put into barrel by gravity in the cellar.
The wines are aged in new oak: two different cooperages and three different forests. Malolactic fermentations begin naturally either before or after the first winter succeeding the harvest. The wines stay in barrel with the least number of rackings possible and with no additional sulphur until the racking preceding bottling.
This racking is done without pumping, the wines being pushed by air and blended (by appellation) in bottling vats, usually 13 to 15 months after harvest. The wines are then sulphured and left to rest for two to three months in tank. There is neither fining nor filtration before bottling.
Bottling is done by gravity with the help of a small bottling unit at the bottom of the tank. The bottles are corked with a corking machine enabling the air to be evacuated in the compression chamber. The corks are not placed in a large funnel but one by one in a column so that each cork can be verified so that the best end of the cork will come into contact with the wine.
The wines are then stocked in pallets and are shipped after at least two months of rest. Most of the wines leave the Domaine in wooden cases. Each bottle is wrapped in tissue paper and straw protectors (when authorized).
An indifferent spring caused uneven flowering and mildew risk. At the end of June the weather changed for the better, continuing into July. Apart from local hail in the Côte de Beaune at the end of July, the summer began well. August arrived fairly cold and variable, but fortunately the last week of the month brought fine, warm weather. The lead-up to harvest saw sunny skies, apart from two days of rain in mid-September. A challenging vintage.
From day one the red wines have had a rich, pure fruit character with fine, silky tannins. The whites offer a good balance between ripe fruit and vibrant acidity. A vintage not to be overlooked because the wines deliver potential and pleasure.