Domaine Georges Lignier has the largest holdings of Clos-Saint-Denis, with 1.49 hectares to its name. With a plot at either end of the vineyard, each running the full length of the slope, it’s arguably the most comprehensive and representative expression of the Grand Cru.
For Benoît Stelhy, 2019 is the vintage of his career – his 1949. He told us how the year’s dry conditions particularly impacted Clos-Saint-Denis, with its steep slopes, poor soils and exposure to the wind. The struggling vines produced a tiny crop (with yields just 18hl/ha) – but the minute berries were beautifully concentrated, and the resulting wine is wonderful.
Expressive and perfumed, it nevertheless has power – a concentrated mouthful of dark, brooding fruit, cut by the year’s trademark acidity and a mineral freshness. If you can resist the temptation of its early allure, lay it down and forget about it for a decade.
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“As with most 2019s, this Grand Cru is alluring – a sensuous nose, with a lick of vanilla from the new oak (40%). But behind that enticing nose is a powerful wine, intense and mouth-filling, with dark, brooding bramble fruit. There’s no heaviness here, though, with juicy acidity, a thread of fresh minerality and supple, fine-grained tannins. The 30% whole-bunch seems to have added a particularly moreish character, with an irresistible saline twist on the long finish. Put this to one side for at least five – ideally 10 – years before broaching the case.”