The luxury of tasting wines from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is a rare pleasure that one is lucky to indulge from time to time.
I could say that the wines have become tremendously expensive, and I would be right. But they were always expensive, so this is really beyond the point. In some periods of life, one may have the financial wherewithal to take the plunge; in others, less so – unless the lottery ticket hits.
DRC is for sharing
In this instance, I opened a 2010 DRC Richebourg for good Nuiton friends. It was a flower day, I felt the urge, they had the time – and I wanted to share the experience. After all, this is one of wine’s main pleasures. I had the feeling it had reached a point where it was tasteable, although I knew it was far from mature. I actually doubt that I will see a wine like this fully mature.
The Cellartracker check
Before opening a great bottle I always try to do some research, and one point is to check for references – i.e. recent notes – for the wine. Cellartracker often gives data points; not conclusive ones, but indicators of the state of the wine: open, closed, grumpy, giving. etc. It is a tool I use from time to time, as I don’t have the financial means to drink Richebourg each week to check its development.
The mighty Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg 2010
The Richebourg 2010 is a monumental wine, rich, structured, and impressive, with all the power one could ever need. The bouquet is expressive, with fresh cherries and raspberries, hints of prune, peonies, roses, and the traditional violets. The palate is rich, weighty, and insistent, with a slightly warm hint, harmonious, generous, and inviting -on its own terms. It has a certain stemmy character that somehow reduces the level of complexity. It is Outstanding+ on the Winehog scale – perhaps equivalent to 301 points on the inflated Suckl…. scale. My evaluation is perhaps a bit conservative, but I don’t find it to be a high-scorer on the refined emotional scale! However, give it time – if you have it!
(Drink From 2032) – Outstanding+ – (96p) -Tasted 05/05/2021 –
What it gave on the hedonistic side
First of all, it gave the great Richebourg experience: a big, expressive freight train of pinot fruit from a top vintage. It felt a bit warmer than I was expecting, but otherwise almost overwhelmingly powerful without ever being too much.
It showed the greatness of DRC, and defined a big wine deserving a big investment -as these wines should, and often do.
What was missing
To me, it was however lacking the delicate refinement of a 2009 Romanee Saint-Vivant from DRC that I had tasted in 2019, and which is reflected in my note from the time:
The Romanée Saint-Vivant 2009 from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is singing beautifully, like an exotic Italian soprano. It is delicate, with impeccable depth and a slightly hot, sensual, sweet charm. The nose is brimming with forest berries, now more defined and with more space to reveal their broad beauty. On the palate, intense, but also effortlessly light-footed, showing the full beauty and refinement of the RSV vineyard. This is a truly poetic, almost erotic, wine.
(Drink From 2026) – Extraordinary – (97p) – Tasted 25/09/2019 –
A more involving, hedonistic feel: this is the delicate sensuality that a great Romanee-Saint-Vivant, a Romanee-Conti, or even a La Romanee can give, with all their feminine charm.
The Richebourg, from the core part of the vineyard, is more an impressive wine, with perhaps a boyish charm. It will always give you a big experience, but you also risk a genuine rugby tackle if you are too optimistic with the drinking time.
La Tâche has power and refinement also. But in the end, truly sensual and delicate grace is perhaps the realm of the great Romanee-Saint-Vivants, La Romanées, and Romanee-Contis of the world.
Do you want a tackle or a kiss?
With that question, I conclude my modestly audacious advice on Burgundy