Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet 2008 0,75
Robert Parker 98+100
The 2008 Montrachet is simply off the charts. Where to start? Layers of fruit literally explode in the glass as the wine conquers all of the senses. The aromatics alone are breathtaking, while the fruit shows striking nuance and transparency. But those descriptors totally fail to capture what is in the glass. This is one of the most moving young wines I have ever tasted. The 2008 is rich, seductive and powerful, but never heavy. Finely chiseled mineral nuances saturate the palate all the way through to the intensely saline finish. When I think of what I want Montrachet to be, it is this. The 2008 Montrachet is an aspirational wine in the very best sense. Ideally another few years in bottle will help the wine become even more expressive and several decades of profound drinking seem likely. Wow! Anticipated maturity: 2018+.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanee Conti 2007 0,75
Robert Parker 96P
I have never been treated to such a profusion of floral perfume from this legendary site as rose over the glass of 2007 Romanee-Conti. Hyacinth, rose, gladiola, and iris are underlain by scents of moss-covered, damp stone, wild ginger, and diverse tiny red fruits. “Romanee-Conti c’est le nez,” remarks de Villaine of this almost ethereal Pinot. The contrast with the more fleshly La Tache could not be more dramatic. But this doesn’t pull back on its silken-textured palate, either – far from it: along with persistent inner-mouth profusion of floral perfume come savory, irresistibly juicy raspberry and pomegranate as well as an impression of marrow-rich, multi-boned meat stock. A wafting, wave-like finish harbors the sort of exhilarating sheer refreshment one looks for in white wine, and a kaleidoscopic interchange of colorful floral, spice, fruit, carnal, and mineral elements such as few wines of any sort can deliver.
Domaine Romanee-Conti La Tache 2002 0,75
Robert Parker 93/100
Soy sauce, candied blood oranges, and dark cherries make up the nose of the outstanding 2002 La Tache. Extremely elegant and pure, this light to medium-bodied wine displays a superb satiny texture and a broad blackberry, black cherry, spice, and mineral-flavored character. It boasts a refined, noble personality with an exceedingly long, supple finish. The qualitative and ripeness differences between this wine and the Richebourg is striking as well as confounding.
Domaine Romanee-Conti La Tache 2005 0,75
Robert Parker 98-99/100
The 2005 La Tache epitomizes the unique mysteries of Pinot (not to mention the character of a great site), with its aromas of game, musk, iris, star anise, vanilla, allspice, and naturally also an abundance of sweet, ripe, implosively tiny-berried fruit. Imagine a black Riesling. On the palate, a vivid freshness of fruit, pungency of spice and flowers, and melting away of what in point of analytical fact are abundant tannins, all engender an almost white wine dynamic of fruit-mineral call-and-response and clear, incisive penetration of flavors to every recess of the mouth. This is a T.R. sort of wine – you just don’t feel the stick. Once the grapes in these fabled vineyards had reached a potential alcohol of 13%, reports Aubert de Villaine, he was ready to pick, because conditions had seldom been so conducive to perfect ripeness (including that of the stems). It was all done in a week, commencing with La Tache and Romanee Conti, and finishing on September 23 with Romanee-St.-Vivant (and Montrachet, on which I shall report at a future date). De Villaine intended to bottle in March or April by gravity in six-barrel lots, as has become general practice here over the past decade.
Domaine Romanee-Conti La Tache 2005 Magnum
Robert Parker 98-99P
The 2005 La Tache epitomizes the unique mysteries of Pinot (not to mention the character of a great site), with its aromas of game, musk, iris, star anise, vanilla, allspice, and naturally also an abundance of sweet, ripe, implosively tiny-berried fruit. Imagine a black Riesling. On the palate, a vivid freshness of fruit, pungency of spice and flowers, and melting away of what in point of analytical fact are abundant tannins, all engender an almost white wine dynamic of fruit-mineral call-and-response and clear, incisive penetration of flavors to every recess of the mouth. This is a T.R. sort of wine – you just don’t feel the stick.
Domaine Romanee-Conti La Tache 2006 0,75
Robert Parker 94PDomaine de La Romanee-Conti's 2006 La Tache possesses a sense of sheer density and a viscosity – by no means precluding energy – that go beyond the other wines in the Domaine's current collection. Scents of bitter-sweet floral perfume, citrus oils, white pepper, peat, and black fruit distillates pungently, almost aggressively fill the nose. The marrow and beef gelatin aspect of this Pinot is salient, but is allied on a palpably tannic palate with similarly impressive concentrated cooked black fruits, dark mushroom stock, forest floor, smoky Lapsang tea, and licorice. For grip and power, too, this surpasses its stable mates. But a glance back at the Romanee-St.-Vivant suggests that you can't have it all, and that this La Tache cannot approach that wine's finesse or quite equal its mystery. Still, I suspect this will be worth following for at least two decades.
The Domaine de La Romanee-Conti harvested from the 20th-25th of September (commencing with Richebourg) and subjected the crop to rigorous sorting. Understandably, the viticultural meticulousness at this estate as well as its team of some 60 highly-skilled and –motivated pickers paid dividends in the context of a challenging vintage. Director Aubert de Villaine and cellarmaster Bernard Noblet vinified their 2006s with a lesser share of stems and whole clusters, and exposed them to new wood for a shorter period (thereafter racking into older barrels) than the corresponding 2005s.
Domaine Romanée-Conti La Tache 2007 0,75
Robert Parker 96/100
The 2008 La Tache amply illustrates why this monopole is the darling among most of those lucky enough to regularly taste or collect the wines of the Domaine de La Romanee-Conti. Hints of mocha, vanilla, maraschino, and almond paste lend a confectionary note to generously rich cassis and raspberry, while Latakia tobacco, peat, clove, black pepper, star anise, and cumin contribute commune-typical Vosne-Romanee personality in spades. The high-toned, sweet themes continue inner mouth, with intimation of heliotrope, rowan, and lily perfume, while the wine’s smoky, spicy elements seem to descend into a low-register undertone of roasted red meats and forest floor. As this opens to the air, a subtly sweet-saline suggestion of lobster shell reduction adds richness and succulence. Strikingly creamy in feel, this La Tache nevertheless possessed a fresh berry edge that helps convey vibrancy to a finish that practically glows in your mouth, offering another of those Burgundian paradoxes of light and dark. Here, de Villaine’s case for long-term potential is easily made, and I expect this will richly reward at least 15-20 years of attention.
Domaine Romanee-Conti La Tache 2011 0,75
Robert Parker 95PThe La Tache 2011, picked on 5 and 6 September at 27.49hl/ha, has a wonderful bouquet that is quintessential La Tache: very complete and harmonious, beautifully delineated, succinct at first then with aeration, blossoming with brambly red berries, apple blossom, minerals and a touch of sous-bois. The palate is medium-bodied with immense purity and delicacy on the entry. This La Tache is extremely focused, velvety smooth in the mouth and although not as complex as the 2010, it has a beguiling femininity that will seduce at ten paces. It is extremely long in the mouth but politely does not outstay its welcome. Divine. 1,514 cases produced. Drink 2017-2040.
Domaine Romanee-Conti Richebourg 1999 0,75
Robert Parker 97POh yes. Oh yes, yes, yes. This 1999 Richebourg Grand Cru is a bit like a great athlete, one who really shows its class against stiff opposition, here in the form of 18 other Richebourg! It follows the same thread as the imperial 1999 La Tâche. It has been blessed with a sensational nose that boasts quite astonishing delineation and precision, fabulous mineralité. The aromatics are far more detailed and enthralling than the 2007 tasted alongside. The palate is beautifully structured, virtually symmetrical with filigree tannin, with a gentle crescendo in the mouth towards an effervescent finish with hints of orange peel. Simply effortless.
Domaine Romanee-Conti Richebourg 2000 0,75
Robert Parker 94-96/100Moderate ruby colour. An outstanding backward "broody" nose: cherries, minerals with a touch of black truffles. The palate has robust tannins, very harmonious with good complexity. Leathery fruit. Palate does note quite match the nose but the finish is very focused and long. I prefer this to Romane-Saint-Vivant. (1,295 cases produced) Tasted February 2003.
Domaine Romanee-Conti Richebourg 2007 0,75
Robert ParkerThe 2007 Richebourg Grand Cru from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is a wine that is "open for business" like many 2007s that decided that there is little point in waiting to please wine lovers. The color gives a lot away. Compared to a dozen other Richebourg, this was the palest in color by far - though looks can be deceptive, especially here. The aromatics still show the stem addition quite conspicuously, although I noticed that these aromas, which are almost ash-like, subside with continued aeration over 40-45 minutes. The palate is medium-bodied with tart red cherry and raspberry fruit, a fine line of acidity and wonderful transparency. I would not hold it up as an exemplar of Richebourg, rather a Grand Cru that is just delicious to drink at the moment. Something I did notice was how it coalesced and gained weight with aeration, so despite its paleness, do not fear decanting this Richebourg for 30 minutes.
Domaine Romanee-Conti Richebourg 2009 0,75
Robert Parker 97PThe 2009 Richebourg is a dramatic wine. In 2009 there is so much fruit that the tannins are barely perceptible. With time in the glass dark notes of tar, smoke, licorice and violets develop, adding tons of complexity to the fruit. This is a huge, vertical wine that captures the essence of Richebourg in its towering fruit and structure. Layers of fruit saturate every corner of the palate as the wine builds to a deeply satisfying crescendo of head-spinning aromas and flavors. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2059.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s 2009s have turned out just as brilliantly as I had hoped. The wines reflect the signature qualities of the year, but never lose their essential classicism. Long-time DRC fans know the domaine bottles in six-barrel lots, which naturally introduces a level of bottle variation that is not found in most other wines. I hope the massive amount of information that has recently come to light regarding counterfeit wines and their proliferation might be the catalyst for the domaine to consider bottling their wines in one homogenous lot, as is common for the vast majority of high-quality wines throughout the world. Once the domaine’s wines mature in 20-30 years it will be impossible to tell the difference between ‘normal’ bottle variation, poorly stored bottles and very good fakes. Certainly consumers who are willing and able to pay the prices these wines fetch are at the very least deserving of a consistent product.
Domaine Romanee-Conti Richebourg 2011 0,75
Robert Parker 94PThe 2011 Richebourg was picked on 7 and 8 September at 28.36hl/ha. It has a very pure bouquet, a mixture of blackberry, raspberry leaf, freshly tilled meadow and a touch of cold stone. It is not a powerful bouquet, but delineated and very focused. The palate is not dissimilar to the Grands Echezeaux on the entry: linear and poised with crisp brambly red fruit. But it swerves another way mid-through, developing a wonderful candied core of strawberry and Morello and a caressing finish sending ripples of pleasure across the senses. In many ways it is a self-effacing Richebourg with charm and candour, but I Richebourg that I suspect may be deceptively long lived. The Richebourg 2011 is a fair prince rather than a grand king. 931 cases produced. Drink 2018-2035.