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DOMIANE DU COMTE LIGER-BELAIR, LA ROMANEE 2012

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, La Romanee 2012

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, La Romanee 2012

@ £14,000 per (6x75cl) OWC (2 cs available)

Erobertparker.com (98-100 pts)

Half the size of La Romanee Conti, Burgundy’s most expensive wine, and a tenth of the production of Bordeaux’s most exclusive property Petrus – the monopole and neighbouring vineyard to the aforementioned La Romanee Conti, is the Holy Grail to many a Burgundy Oenophile. Given its supreme quality and extreme scarcity (300 cs per annum), it’s no surprise that it’s extremely difficult to get hold of either from allocation or on the secondary market.

Tasting Notes

Neal Martin

The 2012 La Romanee Grand Cru is the jewel in the crown and I must confess to spending an evening with friends discussing how we could organize a La Romanee/Romanee-Conti comparative vertical. It will happen one day. Lying just above Romanee-Conti and just below Aux Reignots, this 0.85-hectare vineyard has rapidly become the Holy Grail for many and I have been lucky enough to taste every vintage since its“re-birth” just over ten year ago, when the contract with Bouchard came to an end. The newest release has an entrancing bouquet with a sense of delineation and poise the will rivet you to the spot: utterly beguiling scents of small dark cherries, wild strawberry and minerals that are perfectly placed by Bacchus himself. Give it a few minutes in the glass and it reveals gorgeous ripe mango and even marmalade scents to add a little exoticism. The palate is medium-bodied with an intense, penetrating opening of citrus infused, dark berry fruit struck through with life-affirming mineralite and tension. There is huge presence rather than weight in the mouth with enormous persistency on the finish. This is a profound expression of the vintage.

Score: (98-100)

Neal Martin  

Vintage comparison

The table below shows a price comparison with vintages of a similar quality.  Using the price data that is available from Liv – ex, wine searcher and recent auctions it is clear that in terms of quality, the 2012 certainly offers value.  The reduced production for 2012 has not been factored into this comparison but is sure to increase the investment potential even further.

Vintage

Score

Price/6x75cl

% diff to 2012

2005

93

16,904.76

20.7

2009

97

15,000

7.0

2010

97

16,650

18.9

2012

98-100

14,000

-

 

Previous vintage performance

It is also important to clarify exactly how well the previous vintages have performed over an investment term.

The graphs below show the price history for the 2009 (over last 2 and 5 years) and the 2010 (over last 2, as it has only been physical for that time).

2 year period

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, La Romanee 2012

As you can see from the trajectory above, these particular wines have performed very well since their release. With the 2012 being of higher quality and lower production it is fair to assume an equal if not better performance over the next 2-5 years. If we use the trend line for each graph, more relevant for wines of this ilk, it is apparent that the general price development is positive.

Whilst these graphs are not fully representative, they give a good indication of past performance and combined with the positive auction results and general stigma surrounding top Burgundian producers at present, this is set to be a cracking option.

 

Neal Martin on Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair:

‘’I have been following Louis-Michel Liger-Belair’s wines since he first took the reins of his family domaine just over ten years ago. I remember that back in those first days, he was perhaps quieter and less confident: a young man with the onerous task of re-establishing the historical family name not just within Burgundy, but within the elite produces of this discretely hierarchical region. There are many ways you could go wrong in that task. Running before you can walk, expecting the propitious holdings alone to carry you aloft to glory…ain’t that easy. It would take hard graft, assiduous decisions and a healthy dollop of perseverance and bloody-mindedness. Over the years, Louis-Michel has matured into an assured vigneron, applied his own tenets and successfully installed the domaine within the top tier of growers. Let’s not beat around the bush: these are not wines for those counting the pennies. There is no avoiding the fact that they are expensive and virtually unobtainable on the secondary market. You get an allocation of Comte du Liger-Belair – you have to be either a fool or bankrupt to sell your cache. Curiously, this was the first time that I had actually visited the splendid domaine in the heart of the village of Vosne. It is quite a capacious property that surrounds the courtyard, protected from prying eyes by trees along the front wall. Louis-Michel was standing there in his regulation bright red corduroys that appeared even more iridescent against the morning’s blanket of snow. The property is suffused with a faded, timeworn grandeur, a property with history seeping from every pore, its walls mounted with portraits of the noblesse, a marble bust peering from the upper floor mezzanine. It was here that I tasted through the 2012s, which had not been racked, though Louis-Michel intended to rack those on clay terroirs the following week. “Everything affected the crop,” he told me in typically sanguine fashion. “The lack of wine is due to a bit of frost in May, coulure June, hail and grillure July, a bit of mildew and oidium. The ‘malo’ was later than usual as the winter came early in November. I feel that the wines have shown greater mineralite since 2008 (the year in which the domaine was certified biodynamic.) Yes, the growing season was really hard – the hardest since the beginning. We began the harvest on 23 September. Yields were 40% down, around 24hl/ha. The Vosne Chaumes, Les Suchot, Aux Brulees, Clos des Grandes Vignes, Echezeaux and La Romanee have some whole cluster bunches: a positive selection that we made at the end of the sorting table. But there is no more than around 15%.” This was an exemplary set of wines and yes, given their prices I would not expect them to be anything less. Louis-Michel has certainly honed is crafted, the wines benefitting from the organic and then biodynamic approach in the vineyard, translating the nuances of each propitious climat with style. They remind me of Lalou Bize-Leroy’s wines rather than say, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, which is the obvious comparison. There are perfumed on the nose, satin-like on the palate, bathed in appropriate levels of top quality new oak, polished for total seduction.’’

Reg. Company No: 06350591 | VAT No. GB 129 9514 84 | St Andrews House, Upper Ham Road, Richmond TW10 5LA.

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