It’s almost impossible to understand Burgundy, however it’s easy to see that great wines are being made in humble appellations. Thanks to Didier Fornerol, a lot of Burgundy lovers are paying more attention to Corgoloin, and I see more great single vineyard cuvées from Côte de Nuits-Villages from super talented producers like Jerome Galeyrand, Charles Lachaux, and Alix Millot. Antoine Lienhardt may be the superstar to put Comblanchien on the map. I've tasted these two cuvées side by side every vintage since 2014, and I always preferred Plantes aux Bois, but I have to give my love to Essards for the 2019 vintage. Essards displays beautiful high-toned red fruit, deep yet floral, lovely whole cluster spice followed by nice weight. What a great contrast to the Plante aux Bois. God, I love this! - Daniel
The notion of terroir has long been at the heart of the Burgundian adventure, a seemingly inexhaustible source of fascination and pleasure. And yet anyone who has experienced a bottle of ‘Bourgogne - Le Chapitre’ from Jean-Yves Bizot or Arnaud Ente’s various bottlings from the lieu-dit ‘En l’Ormeau’ will agree that in the end it is the vigneron - her passion, vision, and talent in execution - that ultimately determines the pleasure quotient of any wine. A remarkable few vignerons have managed, in a voice spoken through their wines, to not only confront but actually up-end our certitude that only a small number of uniquely gifted places can produce genuinely memorable wines.
Enter our hero, Antoine Lienhardt, a vigneron whose 19‘s are remarkable not because they are great (they are) but because they are revelatory. These beautiful but stylistically distinct wines confirm the formative influence of terroir and yet suggest entirely new possibilities of where we might expect to locate greatness. These two parcels are touching each other, and yet the wines diverge in a way that recalls the distinction between a Romanée-St.-Vivant and Richebourg. ‘Plantes aux Bois’ plays the role of RSV here, always redder and more lifted, more sweetly spiced, nimbler of body and more finely-grained. Essards is swarthier, less ‘showy,’ more bass, more the introvert. Plantes aux Bois is always my pick of the two, but here the pleasure is entirely in the side-by-side… - Jason
Although these wines both fall under the name of Côte de Nuits-Villages (a somewhat unwieldy appellation joining the Northern and Southern extremes of the Côte de Nuits), they hail from neighbouring sites in Comblanchien, south of Nuits-St-Georges (pictured below). The winemaker, Antoine Lienhardt, has taken his belief in these climats (planted by his grandfather in the 1960s) under the shadow of the quarry and made wines that ought to be recognized as landmarks for Comblanchien.
The vineyards are plowed by horse and the farming is biodynamic. Lienhardt does not destem and eschews sulfur during vinification which is nevertheless in stainless steel. New oak has been tempered down to a whisper since his inaugural vintage in 2011 and in 2019 the wines are remarkably pure, expressive and texturally appealing. Each of these wines on their own are fantastic, sharing as they do a vivid energy and aromatic openness. As a pair, however, they offer a most pleasurable lesson in that Burgundian magic of little differences.