It is a few years since I journeyed to St.Gallen for the local DRC agent’s vintage tasting of the latest DRC vintage – and after this short break, I can’t for the life of me think why I left it so long! Okay, 2010 is a classic Burgundian vintage of ripe but not jammy fruit coupled to fine freshness, but more-so this ‘tasting’ (I saw no spitting!) is only for people who bought the wines, rather than hacks, sommeliers and general wanabee DRC tasters – it’s a different vibe…
So, on the 30th October, we had about 60 tasters (buyers) present, with 5 per table and 12 tables, with eight glasses before them – including Le Montrachet – it seems much better balanced to have 8 rather than 7 wines since DRC acquired the Merode Corton in 2009 😉 Apparently all the bottles were opened at 11:00am to check for cork-related issues and then re-sealed and left in a cool place. The glasses were also ‘pre-wined’ so that (in theory) we would have no off-odours. Talking of glasses, we had Zaltos in front of us – in this case the Zalto Universal glass – I’ve heard a lot about these, but not been tempted to buy as I’ve been largely happy with my Riedel Burgundy Vinum(s) for as long as I can remember – for both colours – but for this vintage, all the DRC wines had a strong stem aroma (component) – I wonder if that was enhanced by the glasses…(?)
I remember a bad experience tasting the 2002 vintage, when we tasted the Montrachet first – for almost 1 hour I could only taste Montrachet, not Richebourg, not La Tâche nor Romanée-Conti – which seemed a bit of a waste! Today I left the Montrachet to last, and note, all the wines were cool room temperature, Le Montrachet included.
In this line-up, Corton is served before the Echézeaux, and clearly the Echézeaux will have to be rather special to ‘best’ this wine. The colour of the Corton is just a little paler than the Echézeaux, but there is nothing pale about the aromatics – POW! – and this is the first wine too! Powdery red fruit, intense with stems and a little oak. This is oh-so well-done – super-impressive! In the mouth there’s a fine core of 2010 sweetness, wrapped in a quite lovely acidity that forces a super length of flavour – and there’s even a reprise when you’re not expecting it. The tannins are finer than in 2009 and there’s a simply super length – though to be picky, today there are plenty of barrel anecdotes. For all that, magnificent young Corton, which I dare-say, is better than the 2009!
Here the aromas are more restrained and even a little narrower after the Corton; yet a truffley, smokey note augments more obvious stems than the Corton that isn’t yet giving way to a floral element. Clearly rounder in the mouth than the lithe and direct Corton, and here there’s a more obvious red cherry-fruit core to the flavour. The tannins are more to the fore but the acidity is more understated which reflects in the long but relatively shy finish. This will, of-course, become an excellent wine, but today it has no answer to the bravado of the Corton.
A little lighter shade of red than the Echézeaux. The stemmy nose begins a little powdery and indeed dusty – I would say disappointingly-so after the first two wines. In the mouth I am, however, much more impressed; this is a rounder wine with better balanced tannin versus the Echézeaux, it is also riper, more concentrated and impressive – there’s lovely acidity too, certainly it’s less shy than the previous wine. The finish offers a little anecdotal stem flavour. If the nose becomes friendlier, this will be lovely.
Almost the same depth of colour as the Echézeaux. The deep aromatics show some stems but with a little less smoke and truffle than the Echézeaux, perhaps a subtly growing floral element too – yet for all that it is quite a shy nose – just like the Echézeaux. There’s more tannin here than in the GE – probably a similar ‘volume’ as the Echézeaux, but here they are finer. The personality of this wine is of higher-toned registers of fruit and minerals – with a salted accent – there’s just a little oak texture in the finish, but it won’t last much longer. This is long finishing but the character is different to all the other wines in that it is a mineral, rather than fruit, character. A different (more impressive…) class of finish to what has gone before!
At last we have another wine with the aromatic punch of the Corton, but interestingly, swirl the glass and much of the intensity is lost. The aromas are fine with plenty of stems, but also it is augmented with a coffee/mocha element – for all that, it is very finely wrought. In the mouth this is full, round and powerful – easily the wine of largest scale so-far. There’s a hint of salinity here too, but unlike the RSV this is a wine dominated by fruit and extract of fruit – hardly anything mineral until you reach the finish – and what a finish, this wine has a wide stage of fruit that hardly narrows as it enters the finish – bravo!
Here the nose has deeper registers, it’s a little less stemmy too. It’s a cliché (I know!) but here is a classic box of spices – just exceptional, maybe also for La Tâche. Here is an elegant wine that just seems to wash over your tongue with flavour, then do it again, and again – despite no lack of concentration this has no trace of the bombastic (Richebourg). The finish is brilliantly long and shows a little violet ‘mouth-perfume’. I think this may be the best wine I’ve tasted this year…
The nose is deep, round, truffley – it’s very pretty indeed, despite faint stems and a few floral anecdotes, there are no histrionics, just understatement. Beautiful I might say – but RC? – expectations are necessarily always high. In the mouth there’s a more obvious sweetness after the La Tâche, there’s a little more fat and concentration too – this wine really has everything. Okay, not quite everything, it misses the effortless waves of flavour that the LT today delivers. It may be less demonstrative today, but it is arguably a more ‘packed’ wine for the future…
The nose has impressive depth, plenty of agrume peel, perhaps desiccated and sugared with a drop of ginger too. This is a big, indeed large-scaled wine, with an almost oily temperature – yet despite its room-temperature presentation, the acidity slowly boils up beautifully from the depths. This wine is very impressive, indeed (if I may say) a little brash. The only area I might point to as out of character is the finish – it’s long, but given what went before, it is perhaps a little more understated than I would prefer – I guess I’m just searching in vain for an excuse to say it’s not worth the cash!