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Visit Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – tasting of the 2016s from cask

“On a rainy and cold day in Burgundy it’s nice to focus on something positive and invigorating … and what could be better that a visit at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti tasting the latest vintage – 2016 in this case.

“The tasting this year was conducted by Alexandre Bernier, who also was in charge of the tasting when I first visited Domaine de la Romanée-Conti around five years earlier – back then to taste the 2011s from cask.

“Well five years has passed, and while i’m still equally impressed and somewhat lost for words when I enter the cellars of this legendary estate – I must say that the 2016s served on this occasion left me somewhat starstruck as did the 2015s tasted with Bernard Noblet in January 2017.

The 2016s from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – variations of greatness

“The 2015 were truly great from cask last year, and perhaps also more predictable than the 2016s tasted this time. The 2016 vintage show quite some variation in both style and quality – hence also at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – although this perhaps is more related to the style of the individual cuvées than to quality.

“The 2016s are cooler and more classic pinots than the 2015s, although the 2015s also are truly magnificent with a few of the wines rather close to my definition of perfection – can the 2016s match them?

“While the 2015s might be bigger and even better in a sense – the 2016 lineup do perhaps win the battle for passion and sympathy, as lovers of classic refined Burgundies sometimes would trade in some of the warm generosity of the 2015s for the transparency and elegance of the 2016s.

“In 2016 I see the precise Corton, the intense Grands Echezeaux and the effortless Richebourg as the favourites together with at otherworldly Romanée-Conti.

“On the day I had the feeling that the Grands Echezeaux could match the 2015, as it’s low yield intensity seems to elevate it to another level – without compromising the refinement and expression of terroir.

“The Richebourg could perhaps come close to the 2015 – and the Romanée-Conti 2016 is also truly magnificent – perhaps not quite matching the 2015? … but will most likely be preferred by quite many due to it’s spectacular cooler refinement – the cool and delicate beauty of Catherine Deneuve in Belle de jour springs to mind.

“I could say the same about the Corton … a very elegant Corton in the making – without having any of the slightly austere power found in some 2015 Cortons – the tannins are sometimes a factor in the 2015s – good or bad.

The effect of the frost

“The frost have had a big impact on many wines in 2016 – so also the case at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The frost struck very hard on the DRC plots in Ecehzeaux and Grands Echezeaux and even harder in Batard-Montrachet and Montrachet.

“No whites made in the 2016 vintage (The DRC Montrachet is included in the joint Montrachet made by six producers in the southern end of the Montrachet vineyard read the full story here).

“Only around 10% to 15% of the normal yield from the Flagey-Echezeaux vineyards – hence very intense and concentrated wines from Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux – and very limited quantities.

“Very interestingly the Echezeaux really shows this density, whereas the Grands Echezeaux do so with considerable more feminine refinement than the Echezeaux. It’s nothing short of a miracle how all that intensity has been packed into the refined and delicate framework of the truly excellent Grands Echezeaux 2016.

“The Echezeaux is indeed very fine – but one feel more of the dense and concentrated side – than found in the airy and effortlessly elegant Grands Echezeaux. Lets see how the Echezeaux will shape and show after the final racking and elevage…”

Steen Öhman, January 24, 2018
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Visit Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – tasting of the 2016s from cask