Friday, March 6, 2015

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti St -Vivant Mini Vertical

Yesterday, this blog went through 100,000 page views. Yeah! To celebrate, I have chosen this special review. The wines were tasted late last year and came from James Halliday's personal cellar.

There is not enough room here to detail the extra-ordinariness of this producer, but the basics are that DRC owns or part owns 6 Pinot Noir vineyards near the village of Vosne-Romanee. In order of their reputation, they are Romanee-Conti (the house block, if you like), La Tache, Richebourg, St-Vivant, Grands Echezeaux, Echezeaux. Some people now argue that St-Vivant, after many improvements, is now equal to Richebourg or has even surpassed it. In any event, the styles are said to be quite different, with Richebourg being powerful and rich, whereas St-Vivant is more elegant and delicate.

The St.-Vivants to taste were from the 2010, 2009 and 2006 vintages, with 2009 being regarded as amongst the best in recent history.

We started with the 2010 DRC St-Vivant. The colour of this wine is bright, but not light red. The fruit flavours are a complex blend of strawberry and red cherry. They do not impact consistently down the palate, as they would with the next two wines. The finish is very silky, very long.

Score: 95/++

The 2009 DRC St-Vivant shows a darker colour, with hints of purple. This might be due to bottle age, but is mainly the result of more concentrated fruit. Cherry flavours dominate on the fruit spectrum, but there is a lot going on here, with forest floor flavours and a hint of smokiness thrown in the mix. This is a very complex wine, elegant and velvety, with a long finish.

Score: 98/+++

The 2006 DRC St-Vivant was the surprise. From a somewhat lesser vintage, this wine showed great intensity, with a silky mouthfeel and an expanding finish (Burgundian fan).

Score: 98/+++

This was my first taste of DRC other than a Richebourg over a decade ago. Was it a life-changing experience as somebody suggested to me beforehand? Clearly no. But there was something special about these wines. They are clearly made with meticulous attention to detail. What marked them for me was a density in the fruit weight, without being heavy, but rather elegant. A slight disappointment was that while the finishes were long, I had expected more of a flavour expansion. Only the 2006 did offer it. But overall, it was a great experience to try these rare wines from perhaps the most profound producer in the world.

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