Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Bertrand de Villaine, 14th November, 2015.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
1 Place de l’Église
It’s not often you walk into a cuverie to meet bottles, magnums and jeroboams of Montrachet – from DRC or anybody. They had been bottled the day before and were standing to rest. Not a bad greeting!
Bertrand on 2015:
“15 was the most fantastic harvest for years, the grapes and the weather.”
We then took a small walk around the cuverie and Bertrand pointed out the destemmer sitting on top of a vat – rather than the end of a triage table. Most people assume that the domaine only uses whole cluster fermentations, but normally there’s about 25-30% destemming, the whole clusters at the bottom of the tank but with a net to catch them just above the base of the tank to help drainage a little. For the first time on many years, the domaine was almost 100% whole-cluster in 2015.
“I’m hoping that we will talk more about vintage differences in the next years for our wines, of-course, the terroir will shine through with aging. But if we do our job well…”
There is a 2014 cuvée of the 1er Cru Duvault-Blochet currently in barrel, but the domaine will only decide at bottling time if they will commercialise it. Bertrand mentions “We have changed the tasting glasses here; the old ones emphasised the aromas, with these we see a little more of the structure.”
You might find the note on Romanée-Conti a little ‘non-standard’ for me, but that’s just how it came out – a wine apart…
All three appellations are still blended together before fermenting; Renardes, Clos du Roi and Bressandes – “Blending wines is often lower quality than blending the grapes. The Corton vineyards were very well cared for, but the plant selection was not the best so about half is slowly being replanted.” It’s a mix of replanting and grafting, 0.30ha will be replanted in 2017.
Fresh, floral fruit, whole-cluster aromas. Wide, cool, crocquant fruit. A herby impression. Exceptionally finishing, also the last drops in the glass are beautifully perfumed.
A spicy Vosne nose. Whole-cluster flavour and lots of width matched by lots of complexity. A hint of herby character, really complex and interestingly flavoured, some whole-clusters in the finishing flavour too.
Finer, less open, more mineral nose. Faint whole-clusters above. Fresh, direct, mineral, a hint of tannin, and then mouth-watering, mineral flavour. Less overtly complex but a hint more length than the Echézeaux.
2014 Romanée St.Vivant
Extra round and floral, really perfumed. Waves of very beautiful flavour, cool fruit again, and also a little whole-cluster inflection, with a slowly growing tannin behind, that is on a relatively high level yet is encapsulated by the flavour today.
Also an impression of texture to this nose – more padding, deeper fruit and whole-cluster top notes – rather luxuriously textured, indeed very! Richly flavoured, super complex. Super wow the tannins are almost completely hidden and surprising gentle, as if its sleeping, but beautifully complex. Lighter coloured and a little airy. Bravo!
Big, round too, very complex aromas of herb, spice, and like all so-far, faint whole-clusters. Super-wide, cool fruit, a wine that opens just before the mid-palate, with really supple structure – like the Richebourg – similarly rich, bit with a hint more elegance. A feminine performance for La Tâche. A finishing complexity that captivates for a moment and makes you pause from typing. The nose is gorgeously round at the end…