Medium red. Precise aromas of violet, cocoa powder, smoky oak and earth, with red berries emerging with aeration. Tighter in the middle palate than the Grands-Echezeaux, showing somewhat cooler, soil-driven flavors and a sexy dusty minerality, but this still boasts impressive breadth and fat. Finishes classically dry and extremely long, with building tannins. An exciting wine in the making but austere today and in need of a decade of patience.
The 2007s were always quite pale. Polished crimson. Very rich and almost medicinal nose with a touch of green vegetal life. Lovely elegance and raciness. So sweet and yet soaring, Gorgeous stuff. Firm finish. But such pleasure beforehand. Already lovely. Very neat and structured. Confident. Still quite firm tannins.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030
Robert Parker 93
The Domaine’s 2007 Romanee-St.-Vivant predictably inhabits a different world ” not to mention being in a different league of complexity and intrigue ” from their Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, or Richebourg of that vintage. Peat, leather, humus, forest floor, and decadent floral perfume are joined by an oceanic saline, alkaline, kelp-tinged aspect, and these surf-and-turf aspects follow on a polished palate that ” despite only the slightest nod in the direction of overt fruitiness by way of dark berries ” nevertheless displays a mouth-watering juiciness to accompany its myriad mineral and organic complexities. A persistently satisfying and thought-provoking finish points to the likelihood of 12-15 years continuance. Domaine de La Romanee-Conti director Aubert de Villaine perceives both the estate’s 2008 and 2007 collections as vins de garde, and I can’t argue with that assessment, even though when I first tasted the 2007s ” soon after they had come out of malo ” I harbored reservations, wondering whether to interpret de Villaine’s description of them as â€œetherealâ€ to read â€œephemeral.â€ He says holding back the usual 5% share of production for the Domaine’s own cellar was difficult in the greatly reduced 2008 vintage, and that he is already regretting not having arranged to bottle a larger share in magnum. He still had time when I visited in April to reconsider the bottle format for three appellations, which were the only ones I was able to taste, since De Villaine is loathe to show wines in the first 9-12 months after bottling. (I’ll report on the full 2008 collection from bottle at a later date.) If the 2007s here were unusual for that vintage in the degree to which they gained stature in the course of elevage, such behavior was normal when it came to 2008, so that I was not surprised to hear de Villaine remark on a new-found degree of confidence in the stature of that collection. To an even greater degree than in most vintages, success in 2007 and 2008 came down to meticulousness at every stage; to quality of vine material; and to location, in all of which respects no estate in Burgundy has any advantage over the Domaine de La Romanee-Conti. Interestingly, the estate lingered no longer over the picking of their 2008s ” from the first of the La Tache on September 27 to the last of the Echezeaux on October 6 ” than they had over the 2007s, which were picked from September 1-11. The inclusion of stems was lowered to less than half in 2007, incidentally, but in 2008 was typically closer to three-quarters. Vendange entier is a technique not only time-honored and in continuous use at the Domaine de La Romanee-Conti (even when it fell out of favor at most Burgundy estates in the waning 20th century), but one which de Villaine and cellarmaster Bernard Noblet have subjected to repeated testing, so as to establish in any given vintage the right balance between 100% de-stemmed (â€œwhich lacks something by way of complexity,â€ says de Villaine) and 100% (â€œwhich can be too marked by the stems,â€ he continues). Importer: Wilson-Daniels, St. Helena, CA; tel. (707) 963-9661
Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025