Holiday TNs: Lignier "baby Clos de Roche" and W-S Allen pinot

Some belated notes on my two favorite wines enjoyed over the holidays.

Hubert Lignier, Morey St Denis, 1er Cru, V.V., 2001
This “baby Clos de Roche” is one of my favorite sleeper Burgundies. This bottling definitely delivers near Hermes quality at relative L.L. Bean prices. It’s a clean, precise and coolly elegant wine, with an equal mélange of red and darker pinot fruits. It looks regal in the glass. The distinctive mark of this wine is its bold framing – with citrusy lift and striking acidity. It almost verges toward too much structure, but there’s this tight little core of noble ruby-like fruit that serves as counterweight. I’d drink this sooner than later, as it’s now perfectly pitched. A great 2001!

Williams-Selyem, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Allen Vineyard, 2008
Two bottles of this proved to be a great Goldilocks wine for multiple family members over Xmas dinner – enough flavor and fruit for the non-AFWE crowd and enough restraint and complexity to hold my interest. Our guests raved about this wine. (“As soon as you finish a sip, about three seconds later you can’t help but feel like you want to have another one!”) I’ve always had a soft spot for this producer’s Allen bottling, finding it one of the leaner wines in the portfolio. The tannins are fine-grained, helping to showcase the distinctive sour black cherry/baking spice notes I like in this SVD. But the hallmark of the wine is its finish – there’s nothing confected or blowsy. It ends on a stony, succulent note that evokes the notion of “dry extract” to my mind. (I know it’s an imprecise term but it works for me.)

Sadly the Lignier Morey 1er VV can no longer be purchased at LL Bean prices. More like Vuitton. Amazing wine, though, and potentially better than the CDLR - at least it’s drinkable sooner!