Domaine de la Romanée Conti 2014 vintage

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-02-06

Let me first put my hand up and say I’m a fan of 2014 as a Burgundy vintage. It seems to me to be a year of rather lovely balance across the board. No doubt with exceptions, it’s a vintage to buy as high up the qualitative tree as you can afford, quite unlike 2015 where the hot summer provided a metaphorical leg up to wines on cooler, less exposed sites and colder soils.

Adam Brett-Smith, Managing Director of Corney & Barrow the UK exclusive agent for DRC, describes 2014 as the ‘happy vintage’ but warns that it’s easily underestimated. I do agree. The wines may be ‘on the fruit’ and correspondingly expressive, but there’s sufficient fine-grained structure, dry extract and acidity to see the wines develop over the medium to longer term.

The ability of Burgundies to age from classic or un-showy vintages seems consistently under-called by wine critics, especially where there’s a degree of natural concentration through moderate or normal yields, which seems to make a big difference to the finickety nature of Pinot Noir. 2014 should age effortlessly for 15-20 years.



Warm, red fruited nose. An expressive, spiced attack with nice energy and a twist of licorice. A degree of firmness merely hints at the character of the archetypal Corton appellation (although there is huge variation between the various Corton soils) and leads into a giving, fruity finish.


An inviting yeasty nose, in turn earthy and creamy. Once again, a degree of firmness that’s overridden by open, expressive, croquant fruit. It’s a wine that pinotents – delivering the essence of Pinot Noir, into a finish that’s framed with an orange citrus cut.

Grands Échézeaux

A fresher nose, vinous and earthy. There’s greater complexity, finely balanced with a bit more structure, more defined and an elemental, vinous character. On its reserve for now, with a freshness and depth that tempts a prediction of a great GE.


Sweet pastille fruit on entry, less evident grip, more expressive with greater mid palate volume. Super upfront fruit with a fine grained back palate. Freshness kicks in on the finish with good persistence.


Liquory aromas rise from the glass. Power comes through on the nose but paradoxically there’s a balancing restraint to it. Greater intensity than preceding wines, much less up-front fruit but with a bit more torque - progressive, earthy and very complex. Flashes of fruit push through, towards a grainy back palate with building intensity. Real grip and substance with old vine character.

La Tâche

Another step up, right now it presents as a more chiselled form of the Richebourg, a rather elegant and cushioned expression of La Tâche at this early stage. There’s lots of latent power and a sense of reserve on the back palate with a long and persistent finale.


Expressive nose of fruit, earth, and a greater sense of minerality. Powerful yet very refined. Darker character, with a brightly illuminated outline to the dark fruit. A controlled finish with fine-grained grip and a sense of penetrating depth.

DRC 2012

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-02-09

The morning after the night before, following a DRC dinner led by Aubert de Villaine in the wonderful setting of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The two stars of the evening had been a mind-blowing Batard-Montrachet 2000 that kept expanding with time in the glass, and La Tache 1991.


The 2012s presented a contrast to the more delicate, ethereal 2011s. These were firmer wines with iron-infused finishes. Darker-veined, rooted in a firm mineral character in contrast to 2011's brighter, airienne nature.

The Echezeaux was a great deal more open than the Grands Echezeaux, with less grip but enticing acidity. A dark streak of fruit, developing freshness and lift, carried forward. Lovely progression and really salivant.

Grands Echezeaux showed a darker character and a creamy trim. Firm and savoury, a licorice mid-palate, grainy and grippy with a similarly firm, iron finish. Whereas RSV 2011 seemed more complex and coiled than Richebourg of the same vintage, in 2012 the reverse seemed true:
Richebourg exhibited a heady nose, deep and figgy, with great intensity on the palate. A big core of fruit and a firm, closed, iron finish.

RSV's nose was rather far less visceral, but sweet as fruit-gums, direct and joyful. On the palate the wine was more elemental with a sense of breadth, and a tongue-numbing licorice intensity ahead of a firm finish.

La Tache was a corresponding step up from the Richebourg. A perfumed nose set it apart from the preceding wines, at once ethereal and creamy. Very powerful entry, great intensity, a touch of iodine and iron framing a firm finish.

Romanée-Conti was equally perfumed but more focused. A palate of enormous, uncontainable volume. Such depth, whilst citrus notes and a lifted finish provided the perfect counterweight to a profound wine.

Dancing on tiptoes - DRC 2011

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-02-10

Wine Owners - Domaine de la Romanée Conti

I have to admit to an illness - if the invitation says from 8.30am, that's when I turn up. I hate to be late. After last Friday am I pleased to say that I am not alone; there are other people who obviously share this compulsion, or perhaps they just appreciate an empty tasting room to get on with the serious work of appreciating the craft of Burgundy's pre-eminent domaine. And what a pleasure it was, to taste and to have the chance to hear Aubert de Villaine's thoughts as he carefully spoke to each member of the trade or journalist in turn. The wines that were so fruity to taste at the domaine, I learned, today were a little less forward in the basement of No. 1 Thomas More Street. These are not wines that march to centre stage and loudly speak their lines, they impress with a more subtle stagecraft; delightful gestures and gently spoken words that nevertheless hang in the air. These are wines of finesse and haute couture perfume in 2011. As several fellow tasters commented 'this isn't 2010'. Indeed, but what these wines do possess is precision, elegance, and heavenly scents. The other attribute they all share is freshness, none more pronounced than in the Grands-Échézeaux. A nose of bright redcurrents and damsons with a touch of white pepper preceded an entrance of finely-grained intensity, followed by a creamy character, and a sustained prickle of acidity braiding the lifted fruit. Is 2011 a minor triumph for Grands-Échézeaux more generally? I've had some crackers. The Corton too, highlighted the freshness of these wines through a flinty, perfumed sea-breeze nose. Elegantly spiced, gently vibrant fruit leading to a lovely dry finish, suggesting a door closing but more to come the other side. Those heavenly scents were expressing themselves without hesitation in the initially explosive nose of the Échézeaux, before calming into gently perfumed pinot fruit. A firmly bitter fruited palate carried through to an insistent finish. Nonetheless the most tender of the range? The Richebourg's perfumed nose was altogether more powerful than any of the preceding appellations. An ever-changing, multi-faceted cloak lifting now and then to reveal subtle woody undertones. Here too was a cool edge but also a sense of the lip-smacking concentrated fruit to come. One of the most integrated on the palate, a fruit-liqueur-like texture ahead of the closed finish. Romanée-St-Vivant had more of an ungiving nose in contrast to the others. The red fruit of the previous wines replaced by flavours in an altogether darker vein. Liquorice and hints of dark chocolate followed a tightly coiled entry, swiftly followed by semi-frais currents. Confit depth and a long and structured finish. I love tasting young Burgundy that gives you hints as to its future potential behind an elemental mask. How can one ever truly know, but surely this is going to be 'une bombe'? La Tâche got me going with a mouthwatering nose - literally - of lifted, perfumed berries. The firmly fruited palate also expressed an underlying earthy mineral character, more grounded and masculine than the others. Dark fruits entranced and exited in turns. Very much on its reserve towards the finish. Romanée-Conti seemed like a big jump up, as Aubert had said it would be this year. Extraordinarily richly-fruited nose, the perfume this time submerged by rising darker notes. Waves of fruit on the palate washed over a sweet intense core. The vintage's freshness then showed itself with a lift of vibrant red berries before, once again, the darker fruits took over on the finale.

Nick Martin

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