Tasting of Vosne-Romanee… And my first taste of DRC
The night before
I had to start writing this post the night before the event as I’m so bloody excited! I’ve always loved Xmas and I still get very excited on Xmas eve. This evening feels like Xmas Eve. Tomorrow I get to try a wine from the Domaine de la Romanee Conti for the first time! A few weeks ago I got an email from Roberson with their latest raft of excellent tasting events… And this one stood out like a beacon. The wines of Vosne Romanee: The Pearl of the Côte. Even before I saw the lineup I knew I was going. When I got to the bottom of the list and read DRC Echezeaux 2000 I was certain!
I walked through the vineyards of Vosne last year and it was ethereal, almost spiritual (there’s me enjoying the moment in the famous Richebourg Grand Cru). I’ve tasted some excellent wines from the appellation but the three letters DRC bring tears of excitement to any wine lover, especially one who is a total Burgundy nut. The domaine is widely considered among the world’s greatest wine producers, and DRC bottles are among the world’s most expensive. Echezeaux is the domaine’s “entry level” wine… By that I mean when DRC put on a tasting, Echezeaux is the first wine to be tasted. The cheapest bottle I can find on winesearcher.com is £696, and less than 1,500 12 bottle cases are produced each year.
As I said, I’m excited… Only one more sleep!
The main event
The tasting events at Roberson are always excellent affairs. There is plenty of bread, cheese and charcuterie in the middle of the table and Mark is an excellent host. What I hadn’t realised was the enormity of Mark’s love of all things Burgundy… It is his passion. And boy does it show! We were talked through the history of Vosne in interesting and entertaining detail, and then it was onto the wine.
Sitting in glass number 10 was the main event. I tried to ignore it. I couldn’t. I stuck my nose in… Let’s just say I was now even more excited. But first, there were another 9 wines to get through. Did I really manage it make it sound like such a chore?!
“Vosne-Romanee is the greatest Pinot Noir village on earth.” (Clive Coates MW)
Sylvain Chathiard Vosne-Romanee 2009 (£74.95)
The best of the Village wines by some distance. Lots of sweet red fruit with a hint of earthiness, some sweet spice and leather on the nose. Very young but with a lovely silky texture, good complexity and very pretty indeed. Personally I would like a bit more acid but this one has a good few years ahead of it. 92 points
Meo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanee 2007 (£84.95)
More developed on the nose with some developing animal aromas supporting the red fruit. The fruit is a bit stewed and on the taste but there’s good acidity and a lovely spicy finish. Decent, but should be far better at this price. 90 points
Hudolet-Noellat Vosne-Romanee 2096 (£39.95)
There’s plenty to smell here with lots of red fruit and a very fragrant waft of violets – reminiscent of childhood sweets. Still very closed and the tannin is hiding the fruit. There’s some exotic spice but the wine is very disjointed and unbalanced. I’m not sure any amount if time is going to right this one. 85 points
Regis Forey Vosne-Romanee 2005 (£44.95)
A great vintage but a poor wine. Very dumb on the nose but there’s not much hiding. Not worth any more words. 78 points
The second flight of wines took us up to Premier Cru level and here the jump in quality was obvious. As they say, you pays your money and make your choice…
Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Aux Reignots” 2007 (£150.00)
Elegant and classy aromas of deep red fruit, almost red currant with delightfully exotic spices. On the palate the wine is silky smooth and has a delicious acidity. This is a wine of real class with magnificent balance and great length. 95 points
Jean Grivot Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Aux Brulees” 2006 (£95.95)
Very strange aromas… And not in a good way! It’s exotic and but the spices are out if tune and the palate is sappy and green – it tastes of pine. I’m not a fan at all and personally think its a disgrace to this great village! 75 points
JJ Confuron Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Beaux-Monts” 2002 (£96.00)
Some darker fruit aromas here and some delicious exotic, middle-eastern spice. There’s also earthy evolution providing real complexity. On the palate the fruit is sweeter and reminiscent of dried raspberries and the spice is beautifully elegant and balanced. Lovely weight on the palate and this is a wine that is sweet, balanced and in beautiful harmony. Delightful. 94 points
Confuron-Cotetidot Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Les Suchots” 1990 (£129.95)
I just love the smell of aged Burgundy! 1990 was a fine vintage and this is certainly a fine wine. There is still an aroma of red fruit but there’s a classic and sophisticated smell of old leather and smoke. On the palate there is a backbone of sweet fruit and gentle spice, but its the forest floor and leather notes which come to the fore. Real quality and still plenty of bright acidity. Classy. 94 points
Confuron-Cotetidot Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Les Suchots” 2007 (£70.00)
So how does a younger vintage of the last wine match up? Well I actually struggled to find too much in common! This is all about the smell of Xmas with aromas of satsuma, ginger and spice. On the palate its quite butch upfront but then seems to dissolve into an elegant tangerine and cranberry finish. Atypical of Vosne but still interesting and attractive. Needs time but could be something quite special. 93+
And finally the time had come. Time to break my DRC virginity. Would it match my expectations??????
Domaine de la Romanee Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru 2000 (£755.00)
I have never smelt anything quite like this… I have no benchmark! It’s so sweet, so spicy and so complex. There is so much going on but everything just fits together like a perfect jigsaw. It starts with raspberries and wild strawberries, then there’s black cherries. It just comes at you in wave after wave of beauty. The spices are many; cloves, vanilla and nutmeg. Theres a delicious herbaceous nature of thyme, the acid is perfectly pitched, the tannins are so silky they seem to clean your tongue. The real magic is the balance of masterful concentration and silky elegance. I think the magic ingredient is, well magic! Utterly sublime. The best wine I’ve ever tasted. Wow. I need a lie down. 98 points