Robert Parker – 90
Virgile Lignier’s 2005 Clos de la Roche represents a blend of estate and purchased fruit (because he has only a tiny holding in this site). It smells of blackberry, baking spices, resin and roasting meats. In the mouth, low-toned meatiness, smoke, spice and faintly bitter black fruits are allied to a feeling of real heft and an impressive, if somewhat stewy, richness. But whereas the other wines hovered around 13% alcohol, here one feels a slight heat at 14%. And I wonder whether this will not show better after it has rested a bit in the bottle. Virgile Lignier elected not to filter his 2005s, but I suspected that a couple of them were suffering slightly from their very recent bottling. Also recommended: 2005 Bourgogne ($25.00; 86), 2005 Chambolle-Musigny ($50.00;86+?), 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin ($53.00; 86+?). Various Importers. A Becky Wasserman Selection, Le Serbet; fax 011- 333-80-24-29-70.
Vinous – 92-94
(this holding, mostly from vines planted in 1990, yielded 28 hectoliters per hectare in 2005, according to Lignier) Deep, bright ruby-red color. Highly nuanced, very pure nose combines briary black cherry, brown spices and licorice, with soil-inflected pepper, dried flowers and eucalyptus. Suave on entry, then complex, tactile and intensely flavored in the middle palate, showing more finesse of texture than the Faconnieres and a juicy core of dark fruits. This mounts and gains in thickness toward the back, finishing with firm tannins and lovely subtle complexity. Lignier says he would wait eight years to drink the crus in 2005.
JancisRobinson.com – 17.5
A magic box of tricks here. So much buried in there! Great balance – maybe just slightly too self-conscious and ‘worked’? But a very good effort! Strangely, less completely satisfying than some of his less prestigious wines.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030