Allen Meadows - www.burghound.com - April 2011
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.
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.