TN: 2012 Georges Lignier Clos St.-Denis

As was mentioned in the recent Clos St.-Denis thread, Georges Lignier is the largest landholder in this grand cru. I am only familiar with this domaine’s wines under young Benoit Stehly, nephew of Georges Lignier. Stehly uses traditional methods and his wines are decidedly in the lightly-colored, aromatic, finesse camp of red Burgundy. Recently, the domaine’s 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes, 2010 Morey-St.-Denis Clos des Ormes, 2012 Gevrey-Chambertin, and 2011 Bonnes Mares all have been lovely and show good potential for when they are mature. The 2012 Clos St.-Denis was, initially, reticent on the nose, but as it came up from cellar temperature sweet red fruits and eucalyptus emerged. It was humming from the get-go on the palate, with deep, broad red fruits that have grand cru concentration and persistence, framed by lively acids and kept cool by that same eucalyptus/forest element. I can see this wine having a beautiful, decayed forest aspect when mature. My appreciation of this wine was confirmed by my wife, who, upon first smell and taste, remarked “oh wow!” I would be among the last to argue that $135 represents a good value for any wine, but I don’t believe that there is much grand cru red Burgundy of this quality at that price.

Disclaimer: I sell Georges Lignier wines

Sounds really nice…I’d love to try. I’ve fallen into a pattern with Burgundy where I seem to drink what I know and am familiar with (which does work because I end up drinking what I “like”) however, your note reminds me that I should be branching out more…so many producers, vineyards, vintages…so little time+money

I have had the G. Lignier CDLR and Clos St. Denis. They are nice wines and well-made but they do not have grand cru depth or concentration. They are stylish but light. Not yet worthy of their grand cru status, IMHO. (To illustrate, we were drinking the Clos St. Denis and there just was not enough there so I went to cellar and pulled a GC Cherbaudes 2007 from Fourrier which had far greater concentration and yet retained the elegance and polish that characterizes Fourrier.) George is not in the same league with the Hubert or other great producers of Morey. I am hopeful that the domaine is on the upswing and that increased concentration and power will follow. I do plan to continue to follow George’s wines as I think that quality may well improve before the price jumps offering a nice opportunity to get in the ground floor an exciting domaine on the upswing.

David, but for being ITB I would be doing the same thing. Being ITB gives me an opportunity to try many producers that I would not otherwise, and to recognize that there are many, many good producers that receive little or no discussion or attention here.

T, I’d be interested to know what vintage of Clos St.-Denis you drank (Stehly took over the domaine in 2008). I will be the first to agree with you that the Goerges Lignier wines are not powerful, and I doubt that they ever will be under Stehly. He is not looking to make structured, powerful wines; rather, aromatic, feminine wines and, IMO, he is succeeding in doing that while getting intensity. In fact, while drinking the 2012 Clos St.-Denis last night with dinner, I was thinking that I was happy that it did not have more concentration and power as it would have overwhelmed the food. I believe that it will stretch out nicely with time. Stylistically, these are very different wines that those of Fourrier or Hubert Lignier (both of which I know and sell). In terms of style, I might say that they are more in the mold of the Volnays from Lafarge or even the Savigny-les-Beaunes from Guillemot given their light color, pretty aromas and red fruit profiles. If one is looking for power, he/she will not find it in the Georges Lignier wines. I am seldom looking for power; in fact, I am typically looking to avoid powerful wines (and certainly polished wines), so I am pleased to see what Stehly is doing at the domaine and look forward to seeing the results after 15-20 years in the cellar.

when did Stehly start making the wines? in the early 90s G. Lignier was 1/4 the price of H. Lignier and still not worth it, though their holdings are fantastic. Glad to see the improvement and the retention of value.

Well, I had a fairly long history with Georges Lignier wines in the mid-80s through the '90s. I always found them worthy and good and good values. Not flashy wines (like Hubert/Romain’s were; I liked them very much, too). Wines that needed aging to show well as a result. (Romain once told me that the CdlR Georges had was an inferior parcel and accounted for the less impressive showing young. The “last” Georges, a pilot, was, like his wines, not showy or flamboyant and they sold their wines mainly through a very loyal, long list of private clients rather than Parker reviews and greedy importers like Lynch/Rosenthal. The prices for all of them at the wineries were then comparable…before the huge add-on margins by the importers.

And, their 1er crus, I thought , were excellent examples, as well as good values.

And, during one of our visits there, Georges gave us a real education on “filtration” – in action–and even gave us some various filters to take home with us.

Even if Marty is shilling the wines, I am happy to praise them. Being honest.

The wines that I had (CDLR and CSD) were 2012s. I am going to taste some others (the Bonnes Mares) and keep an open mind but based on my wines I have to date and my own obviously subjective and personal tastes, the wines did not have the stuffing that they should. Both wines were tasted with other experienced tasters and no one thought that the wines stood up to their appellations.

2008, I understand.

I appreciate you being candid, Stuart. As you say, they are not flashy wines, and they are not for those looking for color, power, sheer concentration or polish, but they do have complexity, finesse and purity. I am going to continue to post on the wines that I sell (as I know them best), particularly those other than the board darlings which get discussed enough, and may hit on a few others we agree upon. Who knows.

The Bonnes Mares is, as you might expect, the deepest and richest of the Georges Lignier wines, but it is still made in the domaine’s elegant/finesse style. As you say, this is all subjective. I had the 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes with experienced tasters, as well, and all enjoyed it as a very good 1er cru red Burgundy, albeit in the domaine’s style. To put my view into some perspective, I sell Fourrier and undertand the appeal, but I don’t cellar them.

No right or wrong. Just would like to drink these together and discuss what we are both tasting.

Deal. I will put some of these away, and we can look for an opportunity to do it.

i recently had the 09 msd 1er clos des ormes. it was pleasant enough but certainly not impressive. the greatest attribute was the distinctive floral aromatics. it was a bit unrefined on the palate and lacked concentration and depth. the finish was short as well as a touch astringent and bitter. while it was old school it did not seem built for aging. perhaps most strange was it lacked the ripeness of the vintage. while not a bad wine, it is not especially good either so i would have to agree with the professional reviews. for the right price however, it is nice with food.

Bought a parcel of 1990 Clos de la Roche and Bonnes Mares from Chambers a couple years ago and only have a few bottles left. Both bottlings were superb examples of mature red burg. I preferred the Bonnes Mares. No experience with subsequent vintages.

Are you putting your name on the labels from your parcels, Peter?

You making the wine, too?


Aha! I wish, and I would.

The “parcel” was 7 or 8 bottles, unfortunately.