Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Aubert de Villaine, 15 December, 2016.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
1 Place de l’Église
Aubert on 2016:
“People think the year was bad, only because of one day of frost, and yes we lost 90% in Grands-Echézeaux and Montrachet, but everything else was done the same as each year, and the weather was perfect from the 14th July…”
Aubert on 2015:
“2015 was the most fantastic harvest for years, the grapes and the weather. In 50 years, I never saw the vines in such good condition for the whole year. We started the harvest on 03 September with the Corton. The wines could be thought of as 2005 with the maturity of 03. There was no destemming in 2015 and a natural concentration as yields were 23-25 hectolitres per hectare…”
Note that the 2014 vintage will see no release of the Duvault-Blochet 1er Cru.
It would be easy to criticise, indeed expected, given the prices of wines such as these – but apart from a question about the ripeness of the Grands-Echézeaux, and a little oak in (one sample of) the Echézeaux, these are simply wines of the highest level and from a great vintage too.
For the VERY lucky few…
“The three climats together as each year – a ‘big third’ of both Bressandes and Renardes, the rest Clos du Roi. The younger plant material was ‘not great stuff’ so has been replanted or grafted over with new material – so there is currently no young vine component.”
Deep, round, depth and whole-clusters. Fresh, transparent but with weight too, a fine burst of mid-palate minerality which surges through the fruit. Really long and fine finishing, it’s much more floral here. Big fruit to start, mineral to finish, with a lovely texture.
Here the aromatic is floral and round – comforting rose-petals. Extra width, fine silk, a little vanilla in the middle, but really massive density for this wine – what I might expect from the Richebourg – finishing with a little grain. An oaky wine (barrel!) today. But one that’s silky and long with a discreet persistence. The last drops in the glass are beautiful, and with no oak impression.
This and Echézeaux were the last harvested, ‘perhaps there’s a hint of sur-maturité here, certainly we had 14°.’
This has been racked, the Echézeaux not yet.
More aromatic depth, a silkier nose, darker fruited. In the mouth this is ripe but fresh, showing a touch of gas and more sweetness. This is a large wine that recovers its more mineral side as it fades on the palate. A big wine and it’s also easier to taste than usual.
Now about 90% of the older vines make it into this wine.
Wide, silkier, finer perfume – a more elegant, discreet, beautiful nose. This plays over the palate with waves of flavour, always with sophisticated delivery, this is great in the mouth, even better to smell – fabulous stuff. Strong finishing, faintly saline wine. Exquisite!
This has been racked, the RSV not.
Deep, large-scaled, becoming finer and finer – a very faintly smoky and floral nose. Very silky indeed, less large in the mouth as the nose would suggest but über silky tannin. Just a brilliant finishing length, of power, yet a wine of the finest silk.
‘I always spot La Tâche blind, because of its cold feet!’
Very different again, similar aromatic style to the RSV, but with more energy and clarity. In the mouth it’s much more mineral, cool, fresh fruit, spiced, wide complexity, a textural drag in the finish. Complex and modestly saline in the finish. Great wine!
I think a little reduction to start, but no, this is all about depth of aroma, more than any other in the cellar, beautiful floral additions too. Fresh in the mouth, round, with more tannin texture – still a fine grain – and more melting flavour. This year I think this is ‘better’ (silly word in this context) saline and super – the last drops in the glass are wonderful to behold. Great wine in a great vintage, and certainly the star of the cellar today!