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Average critic rating : 91.67 points

93

93

A much more restrained, even taciturn nose that is actually quite ripe, spicy, fresh and diaphanous features primarily floral infused red berry, mineral and Asian spice aromas that merge gracefully into supple, round and tautly muscled broad-shouldered flavors that are almost as pure as those of the RSV, all wrapped in a detailed, focused and almost painfully intense finish brimming with minerality and striking length. This is a karate champion of a wine that isn't especially big but the power and authority of the punch is hard to believe. I suspect that despite the fact that the '07 Riche will not be a long distance runner by the standards that are typical here, this will be a late bloomer in terms of permitting a true assessment of its character and potential, meaning at least a decade. Allen Meadows, Burghound Jan30,2010

91

91

Game, musk, Latakia tobacco, and dark berries in the nose of the Domaine’s 2007 Richebourg foreshadow flavors of salted tart black fruits, roasted game, and hints of black pepper and tar, all underlain by mouth-coating, faintly gum-numbing if fine-grained, tannins. After the charm of the Echezeaux, imposing sweetness of the Grands-Echezeaux, and savory mystery of the Romanee-St.-Vivant, I confess I may be at fault in not conceiving an inspiring role to assign this faintly Syrah-like Richebourg. It displays impressive amplitude, ripeness, and sheer grip – especially for its vintage – but is slightly ungainly (as it was earlier in barrel), if perhaps merely adolescently so. I would (in an ideal world, of course!) want to revisit this in 3-4 years, though I am sure it is built to last for well more than a decade. 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

91

91

Game, musk, Latakia tobacco, and dark berries in the nose of the Domaine’s 2007 Richebourg foreshadow flavors of salted tart black fruits, roasted game, and hints of black pepper and tar, all underlain by mouth-coating, faintly gum-numbing if fine-grained, tannins. After the charm of the Echezeaux, imposing sweetness of the Grands-Echezeaux, and savory mystery of the Romanee-St.-Vivant, I confess I may be at fault in not conceiving an inspiring role to assign this faintly Syrah-like Richebourg. It displays impressive amplitude, ripeness, and sheer grip – especially for its vintage – but is slightly ungainly (as it was earlier in barrel), if perhaps merely adolescently so. I would (in an ideal world, of course!) want to revisit this in 3-4 years, though I am sure it is built to last for well more than a decade. ||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). Wine Advocate.June, 2010

The Importance

In the words of Robert Parker  the name Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: “is the most renowned in Burgundy” and the flagship wines from its two monopoles: “the typically tensile, intense La Tâche and the startlingly perfumed, kaleidoscopically complex, supremely elegant Romanée-Conti truly exhibit a categorical difference from any other wines on earth.”

 

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti or simply DRC is without doubt the most famous domaine in Burgundy and one of the most famous producers on Earth. The Grand Cru vineyard from which it takes its name produces the world’s most expensive wine by a long margin according to Wine-Searcher. So important is this producer that it is the only domaine allowed by law to be named after a specific vineyard and according to Neal Martin: “their wines are so rare, sought after and let us be frank, so prohibitively expensive; that mere utterance is as close as most people get…. Their raison d'etre is to offer pleasure, these are bottles surfeit with enjoyment, surfeit with profundity.”

 

At time of writing this profile twelve of the twenty most expensive wines listed on our website hail from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, they are the jewel in the crown of any collection. This is testament to the demand and rarity of these wines.


The Insight

DRC, or simply referred to as “the Domaine” by some, is the largest proprietor of Grand Cru vineyards in Vosne-Romanée. On top of the monopole vineyards of La Tâche and the low-yielding and low altitude Romanée-Conti, the domaine owns more than half of Romanée St Vivant, a third of Grands-Echézeaux and half of Richebourg.  It also has holdings in Corton, Le Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet, and in great vintages they also produce the Premier Cru Vosne-Romanée Cuvée Duvualt Blochet from young Pinot Noir vines sourced from various vineyards. The domaine’s Grand Cru Le Montrachet is one of the rarest and finest white wines produced. The Batard-Montrachet is not released commercially.

 

Jancis Robinson has awarded the domaine perfect scores four times, Wine Advocate has also awarded perfect 100 points four times, Vinous once, Burghound once, the list goes on. In short DRC is considered by many to be the absolute pinnacle of red Burgundy. “Its wines are notable for their richness and longevity” according to Jasper Morris MW.

 

With FINE+RARE extensive reach on the secondary market we are frequently able to offer these rare and exclusive wines, and can often provide access to single vintage assortment cases.


The Background

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti can trace its history back more many centuries. The Dukes of Burgundy donated a 1.8 hectare plot to the Abbey of Saint-Vivant. This was later sold to the Croonembourg family who renamed it Romanée, they also purchased the vineyard nextdoor: La Tâche. These two great vineyards were sold once again with Romanée falling to Prince de Conti, hence becoming better known as Romanée-Conti.  After several more change of hands during its history, the domaine ended up in the hands of Aubert de Villaine (son of Henri who had co-owned it with Henri Leroy, the father of Lalou Bize-Leroy the driving force behind Leroy) in 1953. He was a judge at the Judgement of Paris tasting and he and his wife Pamela also run A & P Villaine in Bouzeron, producing excellent Aligoté.

 

The domaine now holds a cluster of vineyards that are second to none. The old vines (nearing 50 years old on average) are farmed organically and biodynamically, yields are kept low by aggressive pruning (it is suggested that it takes three vines to produce one bottle), and harvesting is typically very late. Intervention in the winery is minimal, i.e. natural yeasts, new oak, no filtering, no destemming, etc. In the words of Neal Martin the results are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with: “finesse, balance, poise, refinement” that “age like no other wine I can think of. Quite simply, they have an unerring ability to maintain the freshness and poise over decades.” He concludes that if you are lucky enough to try one then “You may be in for an unforgettable experience.”



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