The 2008 La Tache is another huge, powerful wine. Deep layers of perfumed fruit flow from this gorgeous wine. Mint, crushed flowers, orange peel and spices are just some of the notes that emerge from the wonderfully textured fruit. Darker hints of earthiness, tar and minerals frame the sweeping, eternal finish. This is simply dazzling. Anticipated maturity: 2028-2048. ||tasted the 2008s in bottle in late June 2011 after having gone through the 2010s from barrel. Aubert de Villaine describes 2008 as a difficult vintage with a lot of rain. Botrytis was an issue and the vineyards required constant attention. On September 14 the weather changed dramatically. A steady north wind dried out the grapes and concentrated sugars quickly, which also reduced the size of the berries. A further selection of fruit lowered yields to an even greater extent, resulting in overall production that is as much as 50% lower than normal for the Domaine. As for the wines, they are magnificent in my view, but will require considerable patience. Wine Advocate.September, 2011
From barrel, the 2008 La Tache displays intensely ripe, berry-tart concentration of cassis, red currant, and blackberry, wreathed in musky floral perfume, and backed not only by marrowy meat stock richness, but by a deep, oceanic melange of alkaline, saline, mineral and animal elements that brought to mind Romanee St.-Vivant. Seamlessly sweet, subtly silken, and vibrantly bright, this finishes explosively, with tactile impingement of black pepper and brown spices adding to its brashly fresh fruit and mineral intensity. There is a striking transparency on display here, in the sense that floral, spicy, maritime, and stony elements seem to shimmer through the fruit. When I remark on this aspect, de Villaine points out that “the selection in the vineyard and press house was intense and impeccable” which, he suggests, also goes a long way toward accounting for the wine’s degree of tannic refinement. Needless to say, I am sure this wine’s active life span will be measured in decades, not years.
Domaine de La Romanee-Conti director Aubert de Villaine perceives both the estate’s 2008 and 2007 collections as vins de garde, and I can’t argue with that assessment, even though when I first tasted the 2007s – soon after they had come out of malo – I harbored reservations, wondering whether to interpret de Villaine’s description of them as “ethereal” to read “ephemeral.” He says holding back the usual 5% share of production for the Domaine’s own cellar was difficult in the greatly reduced 2008 vintage, and that he is already regretting not having arranged to bottle a larger share in magnum. He still had time when I visited in April to reconsider the bottle format for three appellations, which were the only ones I was able to taste, since De Villaine is loathe to show wines in the first 9-12 months after bottling. (I’ll report on the full 2008 collection from bottle at a later date.) If the 2007s here were unusual for that vintage in the degree to which they gained stature in the course of elevage, such behavior was normal when it came to 2008, so that I was not surprised to hear de Villaine remark on a new-found degree of confidence in the stature of that collection. To an even greater degree than in most vintages, success in 2007 and 2008 came down to meticulousness at every stage. to quality of vine material. and to location, in all of which respects no estate in Burgundy has any advantage over the Domaine de La Romanee-Conti. Interestingly, the estate lingered no longer over the picking of their 2008s – from the first of the La Tache on September 27 to the last of the Echezeaux on October 6 – than they had over the 2007s, which were picked from September 1-11. The inclusion of stems was lowered to less than half in 2007, incidentally, but in 2008 was typically closer to three-quarters. Vendange entier is a technique not only time-honored and in continuous use at the Domaine de La Romanee-Conti (even when it fell out of favor at most Burgundy estates in the waning 20th century), but one which de Villaine and cellarmaster Bernard Noblet have subjected to repeated testing, so as to establish in any given vintage the right balance between 100% de-stemmed (“which lacks something by way of complexity,” says de Villaine) and 100% (“which can be too marked by the stems,” he continues). David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate # 189
A highly expressive and kaleidoscopic nose also offers up a dazzling breadth of aromas with more rose petal and violet notes combining with those of kirsch, herb and humus, all of which are reflected by the ripe, pure and extremely fresh silkily-textured big-bodied flavors that possess firm tannins that are completely enrobed by the impressive amount of extract that also coats the mouth on the hugely long finish. The '08 La Tâche is not an especially powerful wine by its standards and it's more like a gymnast with its sleek muscularity and perfect balance. Terrific. Allen Meadows, Burghound Jan30,2010