Domaine de La Romanee-Conti's 2006 La Tache possesses a sense of sheer density and viscosity – by no means precluding energy – that go beyond the other wines in the Domaine's current collection. Scents of bitter-sweet floral perfume, citrus oils, white pepper, peat, and black fruit distillate pungently, almost aggressively filling the nose.
The marrow and beef gelatin aspect of this Pinot is salient. Still, it is allied on a palpably tannic palate with similarly impressive concentrated cooked black fruits, dark mushroom stock, forest floor, smoky Lapsang tea, and liquorice.
For grip and power, too, this surpasses its stable mates. But glancing back at the Romanee-St.-Vivant suggests that you can't have it all and that this La Tache cannot approach that wine's finesse or relatively equal its mystery. Still, I suspect this will be worth following for at least two decades.
Drink 2009 - 2029
David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (December 2009)
Pale ruby. Tight and quite dry on end. But opened out to fabulous balance. Lovely now. But very sweet.
Drink 2017 - 2035
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (September 2013)
Good colour. The nose is a bit hidden. But it is evident that this is a big step up on the Richebourg. More concentration. More volume. More depth. Above all, more class and definition. Charming, balanced fruit and an excellent long finish. Very fine, plus.
Clive Coates MW, Decanter.com (June 2022)
About this WINE
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC)
Domaine de la Romanée Conti is co-owned by the de Villaine and Leroy/Roch families, the former successors to Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet who bought the vineyard of La Romanée Conti in 1869, the latter since acquiring the shares of other descendants of Duvault-Blochet in 1942. The domaine is today run by Aubert de Villaine. Many people in Burgundy just refer to 'DRC' as "the Domaine".
The domaine has 25 hectares of vineyards, all Grand Crus. As well as the 1.8 hectare monopole La Romanée Conti, the Domaine purchased its other monopole, La Tâche, in 1933, along with significant holdings in the grand crus of Richebourg, Romanée-St-Vivant, Grands Échezeaux, Échezeaux and Le Montrachet at various points in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Domaine is the largest owners of each of the red wine grand crus.
The wines are made by Alexandre Bernier, in succession to Bernard Noblet. Whole clusters are used (no destemming) with a long vatting time avoiding excesses of heat. Yields are mind-numbingly low and the winemaking is traditional and perfectionist. These are not merely among the most sumptuous wines of Burgundy but certainly the most stylish. Ancestor Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet was an advocate of harvesting late in order to ensure optimum ripeness, a philosophy to which his descendants adhere today.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
The small commune of Vosne-Romanée is the Côte de Nuits’ brightest star, producing the finest and most expensive Pinot Noir wines in the world.. Its wines have an extraordinary intensity of fruit which manages to combine power and finesse more magically than in any other part of the Côte d’Or. The best examples balance extraordinary depth and richness with elegance and breeding.Situated just north of Nuits-St Georges, Vosne-Romanée boasts eight Grand Cru vineyards, three of which include the suffix Romanée, to which the village of Vosne appended its name in 1866. The famous La Romanée vineyard was formerly known as Le Cloux but was renamed in 1651, presumably after the Roman remains found nearby. In 1760 the property was bought by Prince de Conti, and subsequently became known as Romanée-Conti.
Vosne is the home of the phenomenally fine wines of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti; divine wines that are, as they say, not for everyone but for those who can afford them. The region also boasts some of the world’s most talented, quality-conscious and pioneering producers: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti of course, but also Henri Jayer, Lalou Bize-Leroy, René Engel, as well as the Grivot and Gros families, to name but a few.
Vosne-Romanée has the greatest concentration of top vineyards in the Côte d’Or, including the tiny Grand Crus of the astonishing La Romanée-Conti (a monopoly of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti producing about 600 cases a year), the classy, complex La Romanée (a monopoly of Vicomte Liger-Belair, but until 2002 bottled under Bouchard Père et Fils, producing a minuscule 300 cases or so a year) and the little-known La Grande Rue. As the name suggests, this runs up the side of the road out of Vosne. Originally a Premier Cru, it was rightly upgraded in 1992, although its rich, spicy, floral Pinots are yet to reach their real potential under Domaine Lamarche who hold it as a monopoly.
By convention the wines of neighbouring Flagey-Echézeaux are considered part of Vosne-Romanée. These include the large, very variable 30-hectare Echézeaux (divided between 84 different growers) and the more consistent, silky, intense, violet-scented Grands Echézeaux Grands Crus.
La Tâche is another monopoly of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. It is explosively seductive with a peerless finesse, and is almost as good as their legendary eponymous wine. Richebourg is one of Burgundy’s most voluptuous wines and is capable of challenging La Tâche in some years, while Romanée-St Vivant, which takes its name from the monastery of St Vivant built around 900AD in Vergy, has a lovely silky finesse but is slightly less powerful.
If that wasn’t enough, Vosne-Romanée also boasts some absolutely magnificent Premiers Crus headed by Clos des Réas, Les Malconsorts (just south of La Tâche, and arguably of Grand Cru quality) and Les Chaumes on the Nuits-St Georges side, Cros Parantoux (made famous by Henri Jayer), Les Beaux Monts and Les Suchots on the Flagey-Echézeaux border. The old maxim that ‘there are no common wines in Vosne-Romanée’ may not be strictly true, but it is not far off.
Drinking dates vary, but as a general rule of thumb Grand Crus are best drunk from at least 10 to 25 years, while Premier Crus can be enjoyed from 8 to 20 years, and village wines from 5 to 12 years.
There are no white wines produced in Vosne-Romanée.
- 99 hectares of village Vosne-Romanée.
- 56 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (14 in all). Foremost vineyards include Les Gaudichots, Les Malconsorts, Cros Parentoux, Les Suchots, Les Beauxmonts, En Orveaux and Les Reignots.
- 75 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Romanée-Conti, La Romanée, La Tache, Richebourg, Romanée St Vivant, La Grande Rue, Grands Echézeaux, Echézeaux.
- Recommended producers: Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Leroy, Cathiard, Engel, Rouget, Grivot, Liger Belair.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.