Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Bertrand de Villaine, 23 November, 2020.
“A rainy winter was followed by a Springtime with much wind from the north. Afterwards, there was warmth and, of course, the dryness but that allowed us the chance to make fewer treatments – in fact, at a historically low level for the domaine. Flowering was relatively early, but one could also say laborious – it took 15 days to complete – coulure and millerandes being the result. We remain surprised at the capacity of our vines to resist the dryness and the high heat of the summer. We had two heatwave periods and this was responsible for some ‘grilled’ grapes that further reduced the yields. We have the impression that the vines saw more heat in 2019 than in 2003, but our vines clearly suffered much more in 2003 – except Romanée-Conti – that wasn’t affected at all in 2003! The harvest started with some young vines in La Tâche and Romanée St.Vivant on the 14 September – they already showed 14° and looked magnificent – but had very little juice. The last day of the harvest was the 25 September, finishing with the last of the Corton-Charlemagne. Approximate yields ranged from 15 hl/ha in our Corton, to 28 hl/ha in Grands-Echézeaux.”
Whilst, aromatically, there was nothing here to compare with the day that I tasted the 2018s, here is a magnificent series of wines from the domaine. I would be proud to own any of them…
Of course, I did ask the question about tasting their Corton-Charlemagne – 2019 will be their first vintage – I was politely declined; “It’s a youngster and we want to hold its hand in the first months…”
‘Initially we found it hard to marry the tannins with the oak so went from 100% new oak in 2009 to 50% in 2010. Now it’s back to 100% following the work in the vines and the maturity in the grapes – they are now happy together. But we want to make a Corton, not a Corton from Vosne.’
Wide, faintly but most perfumed, whole cluster in style. Still 2.3 hectares and the three climats, assembly as grapes, not later as wine. Very floral, ‘It’s less strict,’ says Bertrand. Long finishing, easy, delicious this is a wine of finesse – Corton of finesse – the work of the domaine combined with the climate. A beautiful Corton!
‘The soil here is less deep than many of the other crus’
Fuller, redder fruited, indeed more fruited but still wine with a forward floral aroma. More impact, there are more layers of mouth-watering flavour today. Really a power to this wine in this vintage, strong and persistent, mineral, slightly saline. A wine that gets bigger and bigger in the mouth this year. That’s a very great Echézeaux in 2019.
A broader nose, more floral again. Extra purity, an extra precision. Some gas but incisive, then layers of flavour radiating out from the core, this flavour growing, bubbling along. Lovely energy, a faint modification of the texture by the tannin, but no grain here. Muscle, no fat. Really impressive finishing presence too. A wine for the ages!
One part replanted in 2010 is not yet incorporated, but maybe soon…
Wow! A great nose; not the massive spice of last year, here it’s a beautiful bouquet of flowers – and what a bouquet! Incisive, pure, perfectly balanced, so long – the whole-clusters showing a little in the finish today, but I’m sure not for long. A faint finishing tannin. Grand wine again this year.
For years I found the domaine’s Richebourg to be the least accessible of all their wines – but recently that’s not the case.
Lots of colour. The whole-cluster element is currently a little more forward, accented with a pyrazine today – I’ve seen this in the Richebourg in previous vintages too – it seems transient. In the flavours too, there’s a touch, an accent, of the pyrazine. Lots of energy, very wide – a long more subtle level of diminuendo… this will be a fine Richebourg
This has been racked about 10 days ago.
A rippling, energetic nose, going deep, then slowly wider – width and spice. Certainly a much more compact aroma than the 2018 – but this time it’s been racked. Ooh, that’s rather elegant wine after the Richebourg – not smaller but with extra finesse. A ‘wow’ finish, really wide and really persistent – wow!
This nose starts like a complex of RSV and Richebourg – but only for a second before it soars with flowers – then returns to more earthy Richebourg again – take your pick! There seems more density and depth of flavour than even La Tâche – very wide, very saline, very floral. A wine with everything and certainly a wine that you should wait for in the vernacular of this cuvée – there’s a certain construction to the wine – an experience!