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Dinner Cathiard Lignier

It is always such a treat when vintners we love come to New York. And an even greater treat when said vintners come with some prized vintages of wines we love. So when Sebastien Cathiard of Domaine Cathiard and Virgile Lignier of Domaine Lignier-Michelot called to say they were in town, naturally, a feast at Eli’s Table was in order.

Eli hosted the dinner: a jolly group of wine connoisseurs and bon vivants…

The dinner began with a 2011 and a 2012 Bourgogne Blanc, Cuvee Axelle, Lignier-Michelot that we paired with American caviar, fingerling potatoes and Hudson Valley sour cream.

The spectacular 8-hectare Domaine Lignier-Michelot has been part of the landscape of Morey St. Denis since early in the twentieth century, but like so many of its neighbors throughout the Côte d’Or, during most of that time the domaine was content to sell off its entire production to négociants. 1992 was the first year that Domaine Lignier-Michelot began to estate bottle their wines and sell them directly, the same year Virgile joined his father in the family’s wine business.

“My father was a pretty good winemaker,” Virgile says. “But I had to convince him of it.”

In the late 1990s Virgile succeeded his father as head of the domaine, with 2000 being the first vintage that he vinified completely on his own. He is the fourth generation to run the property.

The second course of the night was pan-fried calves brains with caperberries, for which I suggested a 2007 and 2011 Bourgogne Rouge Cathiard. Sylvain Cathiard is the archetypal Burgundy vintner who runs the domaine with his son, Sebastien and his wife, Marinette. He has 4.2 hectares of vines the majority of his holdings being in Vosne-Romanée and a small parcel in Romanee Saint Vivant.

When I first met Sylvain Cathiard, I was struck by his humility…and his passion: passion for his vineyards and for the wine that bear his name and that of his father and grandfather before him, who began the family vocation in the 1930s.

“With my father, it’s never been about the money or fame,” Sebastien explained. “In fact, he’s surprised at the amount of clients we have. Every time the phone rings and it’s someone new asking for our wine, he thinks it’s unbelievable that we’ve gotten this far.”

But Cathiard shouldn’t be even remotely surprised. His wines are some of the best Burgundian wines currently being made: incredibly harmonious, softly textured and very fine. His Vosne-Romanées in particular are amongst the best.

For the third course, we stuck with Cathiard and their 2006 and 2008 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru “Aux Murgers” accompanying roasted marrowbone and garlic toast.

For the braised short rib, we turned to Lignier-Michelot sampling their 2003 and 2006 Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Faconnieres, one of their best. And for the milk-fed veal chop, we went for the Cathiard Vosne Romanee, 1er Crus from 2007 Les Reignots and 2008 from Les Malconsorts.

To end the meal, with the cheese course, Virgile pulled a 2005 and 2011 Clos de la Roche out of his hat.

It was a truly gastronomic evening.

All the wines we tasted were from fully mature vineyards that have yielded fruit with wonderful natural intensity and balance. They represent artisan winemaking at its very best.

The wines from these vignerons that we have at Eli’s List are:

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard et Fils:

2011 Bourgogne Rouge $85

2007 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Reignots $275

2008 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts $360

2011 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts $600

2012 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts $650

Domaine Lignier-Michelot

2012 Bourgogne Blanc Cuvee Axelle $33

2012 Bourgogne Blanc Cuvee Axelle $33

2012 Bourgogne Rouge $46

2011 Morey St. Denis 1er Cru En La Rue de Vergy $80

2012 Morey St Denis 1er Cru En La Rue de Vergy $93

2011 Chambolle-Musigny Vielles Vignes $80

2012 Chambolle-Musigny Vielles Vignes $91

2011 Clos de la Roche $650