Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2012
This domaine, located in Nuits-Saint-Georges, has been in the Liger-Belair family for 250 years. In 2001, Thibault Liger-Belair took over the vines as the winemaker and created Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair. Prior to joining the family domaine, Thibault studied viticulture and oenology for six years, and worked for a communications firm in Paris where he was able to present and taste wines internationally. In his mid-twenties, Thibault also started an internet company with the idea of discovering and selling high quality wines. But the calling of the vines was still strong, so in 2001, at the age of 26, Thibault decided to jump to the other side of the fence, this time to make wine, his true calling and passion. The year 2002 was the first harvest of the Nuits-Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges Charmottes, as well as Vosne-Romanée Aux Reas. In 2003, the domaine enriched its range with Richebourg Grand Cru, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Petits Monts, and Bourgogne Rouge. In 2009, the domaine expanded into Beaujolais, and now a Beaujolais-Villages and several Moulin-à-Vent Cru wines are also produced.
The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.
Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot Noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.
Four styles of Beaujolais wines exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the Beaujolais wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.
Delightfully playful, but also capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-packed wines. From Beaujolais, Gamay generally has three classes: Beaujolais Nouveau, a decidedly young, fruit-driven wine, Beaujolais Villages and Cru Beaujolais. The Villages and Crus are highly ranked grape growing communes whose wines are capable of improving with age whereas Nouveau, released two months after harvest, is intended for immediate consumption. Somm Secret—The ten different Crus have their own distinct personalities—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant and Morgon is structured and age-worthy.