Friday was the annual treat that is the Press Domaine de la Romanee Conti Tasting. I will write my views on the wines but clearly as I work for the agents I am biased, although when it comes to these wines what I think it is of little consequence.
My fear before this tasting was that the 2009’s would be too 2009ish and that the terroirs might not show as wonderfully as they did in the last few vintages. I shouldn’t have worried as they showed as much if not more than I can remember going back to the 1997 vintage which was the first I tasted on release. A small note for accuracy I tasted at 8.00am as I was also checking the bottles for the actual tasting. We always serve them very cool, as they would be served at the Domaine.
Notes, actually they are more comments, are in the order that the tasting was set up in:
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Duvault Blochet - Crisp almost crunchy red fruit this was leaner and more pinot than I can ever remember, I wonder which Cru’s featured the most I
would guess not the Richebourg... good start, an open wine.
Corton Grand Cru -The “new comer”, the first vintage of this wine. One wine made from the Prince Florent de Merode holdings which are now on a (I believe 40 yr) lease to the Domaine. In the future there may be more than one wine (Clos de Roi, Bressandes & Renardes could all be made as GC’s in their own right) but not now. Colour was so much deeper with an almost blue edge to it. I have been no lover of Corton generally but this had the sweet fruitedness it can often lack and a silky texture. A good amount of Corton spice..very impressive debut.
So now we were into the “range” as everyone knows it:
Echezeaux Grand Cru - One of the two most impressive wines for me in terms of showing against the standard I’d now expect. Purely because it had almost the perfect Pinot nose, all feminine and elegant, no grunt or weighty pretense, Colour was exactly between the first two wines. Joyous.
Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru - A bit darker than the Echezeaux, almost to the Corton in colour. I always find GE the hardest to get my head around. There is a little orange rind on the nose, dash of spice too. Lovely texture...bit of a keeper I would guess.
Richebourg Grand Cru - Darker fruit here as ever, this wine always has the broadest of shoulders, the most masculine, the palate weight is very impressive too. The required freshness is there, very much Richebourg no mucking about.
Romanee-St-Vivant Grand Cru - The star for me for the reasons mentioned in the Echezeaux note. The startling rise of this Cru over the last 10years is quite something. A wonderful balance of pure red fruit but also real depth, a classic. Sets the standard for RSV for me. Just makes you smile. If this nose doesn’t excite you then forget red Burgundy.
La Tache Grand Cru - Back to almost the Richebourg colour, serious wine that whilst fruited has another layer that is hard to describe. There is the talked of asian spice but also a depth I’ve not often seen in Tache. As good as it gets if it wasn’t for RC.
Romanee Conti Grand Cru - A shade lighter than La Tache. Often the RC has all the texture but somehow the La tache shows more on the day and only in age does the RC make itself known as the very peak. This year the RC was strutting it’s stuff more. It is exquisite and in some weird way manages to be extrovert and introvert at the same time. As good as I’ve tasted and with real life, will be very long lived but also a beauty in relative
And all over for me by 8.20ish in the morning! The tasting itself went very well. I was lucky to be amongst a few of us that went for lunch afterwards at Otto‘s (near Holborn). It is not often you find yourself next to Aubert de Villaine and opposite Hugh Johnson drinking Montrachet and I hope this is not seen as a boast. Both men are true stars, in the wine world at least, but actually couldn’t be less star-like, brilliant company and endless topics were covered. The Le Montrachet was the 2009, this needs time, not because it is piercing, Le Montrachet from the Domaine is never that, it just has more cards to play. The density of fruit you get from this wine is unbeaten by any other white wine to my mind and you would never think it is as young as it is because of that fruit. This 2009 I would put on a par or just above the 2006 but not as high as the 2007 or 2008. In time I am sure I may well be wrong but I’d be happy to find out...
An amazing friday, only 364 days to wait for the 2010’s