The first few vintages of this label were put on general release with the domaine’s other wines. Latterly the cuvée was reserved only for clients in the restaurant trade, though any number of those would later appear in auctions. I was lucky enough to secure bottles of the 1999 and 2002 when released by the UK importer at what, today, seems a ridiculously low price – I wish I still had those catalogues!
I’ve never quite understood the current market pricing of this 2002 wine versus that of the 1999. That’s because I’ve never found the 1999 as complete an experience as that delivered by this 2002 – the acidity of the older wine has always been a little insistent, practically pointy – consistently so. The 1999 was the first of these modern-day Duvault-Blochets and perhaps therein lies the answer to its even more ridiculous price – or perhaps it’s scarcity – but hey, it’s what’s in the bottle that counts, or…(?)
2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Vosne-Romanée 1er Duvault-Blochet
It’s a fine, long cork, but it slips out of the bottle worryingly easily – the wine, however, is clearly unperturbed!
Medium, medium-plus colour – quite unlike the brutishly deep colour of the most recent vintages. Now that’s a nose! Faintly spiced, perfumed from the stems, just a little plummy and with the right amount of leafy forest floor – yep, you got me! Here lies the perfect balance and clarity that embodies, indeed emphasises, how good 2002 can be. Never a big or powerful wine, but with such an elegance over the palate, perfectly mouth-watering acidity and lingering flavour. I scold myself for opening it before it is 20 years old but how could this wine ever be better than today? Chastised but happy 🙂 A thimble-full remains for day 2 and the wine seems relatively stable – just a little more ‘pinched’ aromatically.
Rebuy – Clearly if you’ve no other use for the cash!
But we weren’t finished, though I wasn’t sure whether this should be served before or after the last wine, it worked well though:
2001 Frederic Esmonin, Chambertin
‘Only’ 49mm but it’s a nicely sealed and robust cork.
The nose starts open and directly complex – some old oak and florals in the depth but the flowers are on an upwards trajectory. The palate starts almost watery but grows and grows in dimension – it’s also super-silky. This is a wine that never stays in one place, the nose heading more in the direction of leather and beef but the florals growing and balancing. This wine seems so much bigger with air – filling your mouth, slowly adding a little granular tannin. It’s a long way in style from the almost ethereal quality of the DRC – that wine is a more complete experience – but this is a wine that has more impact and more complexity. More is not always better, but this is a super wine, one that has grown from its more meagre youth when Esmonin’s Bèze was clearly better than this – but that’s what I expect from Chambertin – a good one, anyway. A treat – in fact tonight, a double treat! Day two – and let’s be honest, there wasn’t much left over – the leather aroma is fainter but happily there’s no development of brett – the palate remains delicious.
Rebuy – Yes – I seem to remember less than or around £40, way back when…