Lignier-Michelot Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru 'Les Faconnieres' 2012

Lignier-Michelot Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru  'Les Faconnieres' 2012

Lignier-Michelot Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru 'Les Faconnieres' 2012

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"Tasted blind at the annual "Burgfest" tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru La Faconnieres from Virgile Lignier has an intense and vigorous bouquet with mulberry, blackberry and undergrowth aromas that are detailed and quite captivating. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, grippy tannin. This is a masculine Morey-Saint-Denis, bold and forthright with a spicy, structured finish, a premier cru that needs at least five years in bottle to soften, yet the potential is all here." 93pts WA

50% de-stemmed, cold pre-fermentation maceration, rapid de-vatting. 1 year aging on fine lees in oak barrels (30% new), 5 months settling in tank, unfiltered.

The vineyard is one of several that run in a line below the Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru climats just north of the village of Morey-Saint-Denis itself. It is planted exclusively to Pinot Noir, making a medium-bodied wine with cherry flavors and structured tannins. The four-acre (1.7ha) vineyard lies almost at the base of the Cote d'Or escarpment. Clos de la Roche is directly above it on the hillside. Les Faconnieres is distinguished by its soil, which contains a high proportion of clay and limestone. This is less rocky than those on the hillside above, and stores sufficient water to keep vines hydrated throughout the growing season. The climat's clay-dominant soil is often given as the reason for the muscularity. The name of this parcel refers to the falcons that circle around the vineyard.

Domaine Lignier-Michelot has been part of the landscape of Morey St. Denis since early in the twentieth century, but like so many of its neighbors throughout the C??te d?€?Or, during most of that time the domaine was content to sell off its entire production to n??gociants. The current head of this fine eight hectare domaine, Virgile Lignier, who joined his father Maurice at the domaine in 1992, is the fourth generation to run the family property, and was instrumental in the family beginning to offer their wines for sale in bottle. Not coincidently, 1992 was the first year that Domaine Lignier-Michelot began to estate bottle their wines and sell them directly. In the late 1990s Virgile succeeded his father as head of the domaine, with 2000 being the first vintage that he vinified completely on his own. Virgile Lignier is meticulous in the vineyards, where he routinely prunes aggressively to limit yields, and seeks to be as natural as possible when confronting viticultural challenges in the vineyard. His goal is that which was often stated by Henri Jayer: to produce the finest fruit possible from which to work with so that the wine can make itself as much as is possible. He completely de-stems the grapes and allows the cool must to macerate for five or six days prior to the onset of fermentation (again, ?? la Monsieur Jayer). The wines are then aged in varying percentages of new oak for a year to fifteen months (village wines see about twenty percent new wood, premier crus about one-third, and the Clos de la Roche is raised in anywhere from eighty to one hundred percent new oak, depending on the quality of the vintage), racked into tank for another three months to allow the wines to fall brilliant, and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The style of the Lignier-Michelot wines is dramatic and opulent, with sappy cores of fruit, excellent expressions of terroir, and the balance and structure to allow graceful aging in the cellar. All in all this is one of the top domaines in Morey St. Denis. The relatively recent history of selling all their production in bottle has kept the domaine?€?s profile relatively low key at the present time, which translates into outstanding opportunities for good value.