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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).
2012 was beset by unusual weather that didn’t spare the vines! A mild winter, spring-like March, cool spring with frosts, summer-like May, cooler, wetter June, a variable summer with heatwaves, hail and storms… Because of the cold damp spring, some of the vine flowers didn’t set and form fruit, there was millerandage (where the flowers aren’t fully fertilised and give small berries) and high pressure from mildew and odium. Temperatures went right up during the short periods, over-heating and scorching the berries. This weather caused a significant fall in yields, without, however, impacting on the quality of the grapes, as well spread out bunches with small berries guarantee concentration and intensity.
All in all, the grapes achieved good ripeness in aromas and good sugar to acidity balance. The white wines are characterised by their finesse and concentration. The reds set themselves apart with their lovely colours, ripe and silky tannins and their harmonious mouthfeel