Domaine La Ligière
Facts and wines
Ambitious producer who relatively recently, in connection with the change of generations, started producing wine with great success. 60 ha. located in three appellations; very good fields and old canes (over 50 years on average). Style: Dark and modern top-quality red wines with distinct Rhône character and well-defined terroir identities.
- Côtes du Rhône “Les Capelles” 2014/15 70% Grenache 20% Syrah 10 Mourvèdre
- Beaumes de Venise Rouge 2016/18 60% Grenache 40% Syrah
- Vacqueyra's “M. de la Caille” 2017 70% Grenache 20% Syrah 10% Mourvèdre
- Gigondas “Les Bergines” 2016 70% Grenache 30% Mourvèdre
- Vacqueyras “Chemin Blanc” 2016 70% Clairette 30% Roussanne
- Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2016 100% Muscat Petits Grains
FAMILY OF GRAPE GROWERS THAT DID NOT MAKE WINE
Domaine La Ligière is owned by Philippe Bernard and his wife Elizabeth. The domaine was founded around 1900 as agriculture, but it was not until around the 1950s that Philippe's grandfather oriented production towards wine grapes. Until 2008, when Philippe and Elizabeth joined, the family grew grapes, which they supplied to the local cooperative, who then made wine from them and marketed them under their own label.
GENERATION CHANGE AND NEW AMBITIONS
Philippe Bernard, who had gained both training and practical experience in Burgundy (as well as in the Rhône) had realized the special potential that the family domain held, decided to take it over and withdraw it from the agreement with the cooperative so that he could produce his own wines and sell them under your own name.
ORGANIC AND BIODYNAMIC PRODUCTION
The ambition from the start was to make great wines with a clear and authentic terroir character. It was therefore immediately decided to convert the production to ecology and biodynamics. Philippe also had great ambitions in relation to the domain's size, and a number of good fields were therefore bought. This has brought La Ligière up to 60 ha. today, which is a nice size for the region. It is undoubtedly also a challenge to manage so many hectares organically, but Philippe has proven in his short career that he is the man for it.
HAS ITS OWN VINE GARDENING
And as if that were not enough, Philippe is also active in the family horticulture, which grows vines that are sold to other producers. This activity is of great importance to the quality of the wines from Domaine La Ligière because it provides full control and expertise in an important dimension that the media and other opinion makers do not often highlight in wine production: the quality of the vines.
A vine is not just a vine. It usually consists of two parts; the root and the graft, and these two parts exist in a sea of variations (even within a single type: for example Grenache) that have different abilities and must fit together and suit the terroir in which they are to be grown. A good plant material is (together with a good terroir) an important starting point for a quality wine. With the help of technique, you can make an acceptable wine from a poor terroir and/or poor vines, but great wines with depth and nuances require an excellent foundation.
Three appellations [: French wine region = the origin of the wine, which is also its protected name ex. Alsace, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru "Le Musigny" etc.] Domaine La Ligière belongs to Beaumes-de-Venise, a small town located on the southern side of the beautiful mountains "Dentelles de Montmirail". Immediately to the northwest you enter the Vacqueyras appellation and if you continue around the mountains to the north, you come to Gigondas.
La Ligière is located right where these three wine regions border, and owns fields in the three appellations. Although these three terroirs are neighbors, there are differences in their geology. All three areas are based on a mixture of clay and lime, but in Beaumes-de-Venise the soil is light and sandy, in Vacqueyras it is more calcareous with pebbles at the surface and in Gigondas you find greater proportions of clay.
These differences are clearly expressed in the wines: Beaumes-de-Venise is lighter and refined, Gigondas is powerful and spicy, and Vacqueyras is somewhere in between, reminiscent of Châteauneuf-d-Paupe: strong and elegant. In addition to these three red wines, Domaine La Ligière also produces Côtes du Rhône and some of the area's sweet specialty "Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise".
WORKING IN THE FIELDS – ECOLOGY & BIODYNAMICS
Since 2001, the fields have been cultivated without the use of chemicals and artificial fertilizers. The soil is fertilized with organic compost and competing plants are controlled by ploughing. The harvest is protected exclusively using natural means: sulfur and copper as well as plant extracts and (since 2010) biodynamic preparations. The purpose is of course to protect the environment and health, but it is also to promote wines with a distinct terroir character.
THE WORK IN THE CELLAR: MINIMALIST – TO MAKE SPACE FOR THE TERROIR
The grapes, which are harvested by hand and carefully sorted in the fields, come to the cellar in small boxes so that they are not damaged during transport. They are then de-stemmed (this helps to explain the clean and fruity taste of La Ligière wines) before fermenting – exclusively with the help of the grapes' own yeast cells. Philippe Bernard does not use yeast, which risks affecting the taste of the wines and making them less authentic.
THE STYLE OF THE WINES
As mentioned earlier, La Ligières de-stemmed grapes and the production in cement tanks give wines with a clean style and a fruity taste, as well as freshness and resilience. Characteristics that can be described as modern - in contrast to the more traditional wines with oxidative and animal tones.
But there is more than just fruit in Philippe's wines. In them you will also find all the elements that make up the wines from the southern Rhône: garrigue tones [garrigue is the typical, dry, landscape with low-growing aromatic herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, etc.], various spices, licorice, tea, etc.
And not least, the terroir type is clearly evident: the robust Gigondas, the refined Beaumes-de-Venise and the intense and elegant Vacqueyras.