2017 Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne “Les Deux Terres”
Thibault Liger-Belair wasn’t happy with Bourgogne Rouge. After years of oenological study and practice, Thibault concluded that most regional Bourgogne Rouge — wines made from grapes any appellation in Burgundy — weren’t worth the effort of making them or the prices consumers paid for them. The best Pinot Noir grapes in Burgundy are made from the region’s best Côte d’Or vineyards, which are reserved for its village, premier cru, and grand cru appellations. All of which doesn’t leave an estate like Thibault’s with enough superior quality regional Côte d’Or Pinot Noir grapes to make enough superior quality regional Pinot Noir Burgundy.
Thibault’s Bourgogne Rouge Les Deux Terres changed all that.
The Liger-Belair family has been making Burgundy wine from generation to generation for 250 years. Beginning with an 18th century king’s secretary named Claude, who was the mayor of Nuits-Saint-Georges, all the way up to a 21st century viticulture and oenology student named Thibault, who created the eponymous Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair.
Thibault founded his estate on his family’s vineyards in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vosne-Romanée, to which he added Grand Cru Richebourg and Clos Vougeot. In 2009, Thibault expanded his estate into the Beaujolais appellations of Fleurie, Chenas, Moulin à Vent, and Saint Amour. It was the quality of his new Crus Beaujolais vineyards in these terroirs which gave Thibault the idea for Les Deux Terres — The Two Lands.
“My Crus Beaujolais vineyards gave me so many delicious Gamay cuvées that I decided to blend some of them with some of my Bourgogne Pinot Noir cuvées from the Côte d’Or.” And what Thibault got was a delicious regional Bourgogne Rouge. “With each vintage, I change the blend of these Cru Beaujolais and Côte d’Or cuvées depending on the quality of their grapes.” And with each vintage, Thibault offers Burgundy lovers a better, more consistent quality regional Bourgogne Rouge. A regional Bourgogne Rouge worthy of his family’s 250 years of making Burgundy.
Thibault cultivates every vineyard of every appellation of Les Deux Terres organically, according to their soils and climate. The role Thibault imposes on himself is as an observer of his vines. He responds to their needs so they can produce the best quality grapes.
Thibault’s cellar philosophy also calls for careful practices. He demands a three-year drying period for the wood used to make his Les Deux Terres wine barrels, because barrels made of perfectly dry wood render silkier, more delicate wines. The cuvées for Les Deux Terres are aged according to their appellations, from 14 and 18 months. His wines aren’t racked or aerated. They are neither fined nor filtered.
The 2017 vintage of Les Deux Terres is Thibault’s best vintage yet. It rises from the glass with aromas of black cherry, licorice, and forest floor. Its flavors are of ripe, plush black raspberry and orange spices. And it’s woven around a structure made of granite minerality.
It’s everything you’d want of a quality Bourgogne Rouge to do. It drinks deliciously, and it pairs as beautifully with the foods you’d expect it to — from Beef Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, and mushrooms dishes to charcuterie, Gruyère, and Comté.
What else would you expect from 250 years in Burgundy?