Sometimes I wonder why I buy Corton; it is so often thin, lean and green. I suppose that is why I now only buy it in super-ripe vintages. Even then it rarely seems worthy of Grand Cru status. Ripe vintages, of course, are wildly expensive: especially if you buy from Thibault Liger-Belair.
Thibault is big in Beaujolais but is based in Nuits-Saint Georges. He has developed somewhat of a reputation for producing big, bold and expensive Cortons, the prize vineyard of his holdings. I have only tried it in less than exciting vintages before now and it has always seemed like just another dreary Corton. So quite what led me to buy this 2009 I am not sure. Hope, I suppose. I’d better taste it and see if I was an idiot or not.
Corton ‘Les Renardes’ 2009, Thibault Liger-Belair
Christ, it smells lovely! Layers of rich, ripe fruit display themselves for your delectation as you swirl the glass. It is epically attractive; by arse I am stunned.
Further careful sniffing reveals a bit more Corton character: it is a bit leafy, not all that dense, quite stone-y. But that fruit is totally unexpected, it is so lovely! Not heavy or dense, just lots of different aspects of strawberry and raspberry fruit.
There is no new oak present on the nose – which is a blessed relief – and the alcohol level is perfectly moderate – another relief. This smells so nice I think I will enjoy tasting it – so I will get started on the mouth action.
Christ, it tastes lovely! There is a lot of light, but persistent and certainly complex fruit that is both involute and deeply charming – super ripe with very delicious strawberries and raspberries. Corton just should not be this nice!
Again there are hints of Corton on the palate: it is quite light, there is pretty tannic (but those tannins are gorgeously ripe and deliciously sexy) and the acidity is a tad on the high side.
However, there is no denying that this is a super lovely, remarkably complex and very fine Corton. It is easily one of the best Cortons I’ve tasted that is fun and lovely whilst staying true to its origins. If you like Corton you should make a special effort to find this. You will rarely try a Corton that is as lovely and god-damned fun as this whilst still being recognisably Corton. So good is this that it is almost worthy of the lofty Grand Cru status Corton claims but so rarely delivers.
The Corton characteristics, together with that ripe, delicious fruit make me think this will develop into something really soft and charming with age, and I think it will age for a long time. But this bottle is getting hoovered up with great speed as it is simply lovely with enough complexity to give you something to think about.