2018 Domaine Hubert Lignier, Bourgogne Passetoutgrain, Aux Poirelots, Pinot Noir/Gamay, Red Burgundy, France.
On first impression this Lignier Passetoutgrain is earthy and very rustic in style with a certain meatiness and little charm, but after opening up and especially with food this wine goes from an ugly duckling to an almost a lovely swan becoming much more engaging and deeper in fruit. The Domaine Hubert Lignier Bourgogne Passetoutgrain is made from about 60% Gamay and 40% Pinot Noir from a single Lieu-Dit called Aux Poirelots in the Morey-St.-Denis AOC and has some Gamay vines that date back to 1960, with the Pinot being more recent plantings that are from 1998. This domaine’s version of Passetoutgrain or Passe-Tout-Grains is brand new to me and it is a traditional example, though I have been lucky enough to have tasted most of the winery’s excellent collection of Burgundy offerings, including many vintages of their Grand Crus with their Clos de la Roche Grand Cru being a favorite as well as many of their awesome Premier Cru Chambolle and Morey-St.-Denis bottlings. The dark garnet and ruby hued Passetoutgrain starts with leather and iron notes before the red berry fruit takes hold on the medium bodied palate, it also gives a range of flavors that includes wild strawberry, plum and black cherry fruits along with a touch of forest floor, brambly spices, a hint of chalk and stones and dried flowers. There is a much more pleasant details that shine with food, letting the savory elements and earthiness fade into the background, making for a more harmonious experience in mouth and the natural acidity helps keeping things fresh.

The Domaine Hubert Lignier, run by father and son Hubert and Laurent, estate owns about nine hectares mainly within the villages of Morey Saint Denis, the town where they have their old cellars, Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny, all prime and classic terroirs. In the last decade or so the Lignier’s have added to their portfolio of holdings to include parcels in Nuits Saint Georges and Pommard, their first in the Cote de Beaune. The farming here follows the principles of “lutte raisonnée” (sensible combat) in their mostly organic and sustainable viticulture. The thin, clay and limestone soil on these Cote d’Or slopes is not conducive to vigorous growth and limits the crop yields naturally, though to improve the concentration, what this Domaine is noted for, they do a severe green harvest, limiting yields further, and careful vineyard sorting to extreme levels to ensure ripe fruit density and complexity in the wines. In the cellar, the grapes are all de-stemmed and primary fermentation takes place in open-top cement tanks, that the winery notes, that allow manual pigéage and only natural yeasts are used here. Laurent, unlike his dad, now employs an extended cold soak maceration period prior to fermentation to allow greater extraction and his total maceration and gentle punch-downs lasts about 20 plus days before pressing to barrel. The wines here typically are aged for close to 18 months and the wines generally see mostly used French oak, which this Passetoutgrain seeing only neutral barriques, with the top cuvées being the exception, getting up to 50% new wood and an extended elevage as long as 24 months. I’m glad I gave this wine a chance to fully express itself, in particular with a meal, and give me its best performance, it is certainly a wine that I will buy again.
($28 Est.) 89 Points, grapelive

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