Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Bertrand de Villaine, 14th December, 2017.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
1 Place de l’Église
Aubert last year on 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…”
The domaine passed more details of the vintage from which I quote:
“516mm of rain fell on the village of Vosne-Romanée between January and May! exceeding the total rainfall that had been recorded in the legendary year of 1910 when the harvest was almost totally lost. We were giving up hope that the rain would ever stop. … And then, from July 15th, rain stopped and summer weather set in until the harvest and even after.”
On the frost, Bertrand notes “It wasn’t just Le Montrachet that was hit, Echézeaux and Grands-Echézeaux both lost about 80%. There was also a bit of Richebourg-Varoilles and the north of Romanée St.Vivant that was lost – but for those two it wasn’t considerable.”
Whilst noting the more overt whole-cluster character – more than I’ve seen since the 2000 Romanée St.Vivant, and that was fine after 10 years – this is as great a set of wines from the domaine as I’ve ever encountered, but I only go as far back as 2000!
All three appellations are still blended together before fermenting; Renardes, Clos du Roi and Bressandes. 0.30ha replanted this year. Not much frost in here
A musky depth of deep and dark fruit, wc notes too, slowly cleaning up in the glass with air. A beautiful fresh line of flavour here, melting, elegant a little floral flavour. Deep finishing flavour fabulous stuff!
‘For us, a micro-cuvée – 6 hl/ha – only about 10 barrels, the lowest crop for many, many years…’
A vibrant nose, a hint Vosne but a very pretty and elegant nose. A beautiful depth of pure flavour, melting, faintly accented with tannin. This could be as good an Echézeaux as I have ever tasted here – perhaps it’s the best! “A level we want to see year in year out but of course with more bottles!“
Again about 7 hl/ha.
Starts with a little musky width like the Corton, quickly freshening in the glass – a smaller nose but with more tiny notes of complexity and a hint of minerality. The minerality is on the palate too, again super complex, some wc, a little more mid-palate muscularity but losing none if its freshness – great again…
Ooh – wow – what a fabulously easy, open, elegantly floral nose after the GE – no funky wc notes here. Lots of fresh volume in the mouth, backed and framed by a little tannin, but this has an open pure and changing character, waves of fine finishing flavour. So long…
A big nose, lots of sweet whole cluster, faintly herbed, hinting rather than overtly delivering floral notes. A subtle gas, fresh, again a lot of wc showing here, much younger structure, a density if you like but holding brilliantly… A little spicier than most years. The last drops in the glass purer and there’s no wc
Hmm quite large-scaled, wc like the Richebourg, a little tighter core of fruit in the middle. Big in the mouth, more open freshness, wc in the mix of complexity, but less overt. Wide, delicious, elegance and really a great holding of flavour. Not the massive leap between this and the Richebourg this year, but there is a (positive) difference…
A deep nose, more wc than usual, but there are other things, more floral – a hypothetical blend of the Romanée St.Vivant and the Richebourg nose. Ooh – there is a little tannin here, a little more salinity but really this is the most special in the mouth – clarity, faintly cushioned, mega finishing persistence. As great as any wine I’ve ever tasted here.