Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Bertrand de Villaine, 18th November, 2014.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
1 Place de l’Église
Bertrand on 2014:
“2014 is a more regular volume than 2013 – double! The hail was not such a great problem in this part of the Côte de Nuits; fortunately it was the grapes that were damaged, not the plants – we lost 15-20%, which was more like a green harvest for us that the terrible thing that the Côte de Beaune had to endure.”
Bertrand on 2013:
“As you can see, we have plenty of room in the cellar due to the small yields. Actually, we had the same yields as for 2008, but that latter harvest was due to botrytis, 2013 was simply down to the very small grapes. 2013 is one of the more concentrated and expressive vintages – more-so than 2012 – we had similar conditions the 1978 harvest, the skins being crunchy and thick. We used between 70 and 80% whole clusters during the fermentation, depending on the parcel.”
All the following wines were tasted from new François Frères barrels. It is expected that all these wines will receive the standard 16-18 month elevage, so will be bottled in the springtime. All the wines – like most domaines – had very deep colours. I also noted quite a strong whole cluster impression with these wines – something I’d not seen so accentuated before – but maybe that’s just a phase in the elevage. Bertrand noted that the domaine had been experimenting with some high density plantings (14K) but the results to-date are inconclusive – at this time they would replant at the standard 10K.
All three appellations are still blended together. “The Corton vineyards were very well cared for, but the plant selection was not the best so about half is slowly being replanted.”
Rather strong whole cluster aromas. In the mouth there is also the roundness of whole cluster but also a very direct line of pretty fruit flavour. Very, very good mid-palate complexity. Super!
Exceptionally only 16 hl/ha harvested. “The Echézeaux tried to be Grands-Echézeaux in this vintage.”
The whole cluster note is evident here too, but with a lower intensity – overall the aromatic is a little tight, but discloses a little spiced dark fruit. A faint fizz on the tongue yet the palate is still wide and fat with a fine extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate, underpinned by modest tannin. Excellent!
Here is more aromatic depth with a smoky whole cluster element. Wait for the gas on your tongue to fade and you fine a more mineral, cooler fruit versus the Echézeaux, fruit that’s bright and direct. Very long. Growing bigger in the glass the aromas of whole cluster almost have a curry spice aspect.
More grafting is ongoing in the RSV vineyard.
More floral, prettier too – this is a quite lovely aroma. There’s a slowly growing whole cluster note but also super complexity too. Here is a little more tannin and a very super intensity – super width too! Excellent.
The nose is deep but starts rather tight – again framed within a whole cluster aromatic – slowly a dark, jellied fruit conserve works through. Also fine and flexible in the mouth – just a little more direct flavour after the RSV – very, very long too. Quite some power, but perfectly delivered.
A deep nose with more spice and plenty of freshness. Lithe and fine in the mouth – super intensity again delivered with very fine freshness, minerality and in this case with a beautiful complexity. There’s no fat here, just that super complexity. The finishing length has a faint whole cluster aspect. Already a wine of compelling aromatic bravado. Bravo!
After the La Tâche there is less aromatic spice here, spice certainly but this wine shows more weight of aroma – significantly more. Despite a little gas this wine wows – really the most concentrated wine here – if not necessarily the most dynamic wine. The finish is a fine width of flavour with a little herby complexity. A bigger wine even than La Tâche today!