DRC Romanee Conti 2006

There had been murmurings for some time that an event not to be missed was on the horizon. The anticipation of the prospect of the possibility of an event simmered for what seemed like an eternity, with snippets of information trickling out slowly. Finally one day the missive arrived and was simply titled “DRC dinner expressions of interest” – the proposition being that we could gather in order to consume a bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from the Romanée-Conti vineyard and that we could bring another bottle of DRC to be enjoyed as well, if we happened to be at all interested in such an event …

A decision was later made to split the event into two, in order to give the wines sufficient attention and respect. The first of these events took place in mid-August and the second followed a couple of weekends later. I would like to thank the attendees for their usual amazing generosity and good company as well as special thanks to all that were involved in the organisation effort and those that provided great food to accompany these wines.

I have had comment from some that drinking young DRC is a waste and while I can appreciate their perspective, unless you are friends with multiple people that have been cellaring these wines for decades, there are a different set of problems from buying older wines – from storage issues to authenticity. Many of the wines at both events were beautiful and while I hope some day to revisit them with age, I still gained a large amount of pleasure from seeing them in their youth.

I present to you the lineup and some brief notes on the wines at Event #1, with notes on Event #2 to follow at a later date.

Champagne to start

  • NV Krug Champagne Grande Cuvée Brut – France, Champagne
    Disgorged spring 2011, using 12 vintages from 1990 to 2004. (ID Code 211017). Lemon, apple and some vanilla on the nose. Powerful and intense fruit on the palate, but with fine balance through acidity and structure. Clearly young, but very tasty. 92/100

  • 2008 Vouette et Sorbée Champagne Blanc d’Argile Extra Brut – France, Champagne
    Interesting nose of green apple, lemon sherbet and a hint of pear and graphite. The palate shows good fruit purity and excellent core acidity, with nice length and balance. Could probably use some more time in the bottle to develop but it is an interesting wine already. 92/100

Aged Riesling

  • 1979 Pewsey Vale Vineyard Riesling Eden Valley – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Eden Valley
    Under screwcap. Amazing shimmering light golden in colour. Spice, honey, lemon and light toast aromas. The palate is beautiful, there is still fruit richness and a layered, complex honeyed component. Superb length and still astoundingly vibrant and delicious. A compelling data point in favour of screwcap, it was perfectly developed with all the aged character that you look for in Riesling and was a wonderful wine right at its peak. 93/100

  • 1990 Seppelt Riesling Great Western – Australia, Victoria, Western Victoria, Great Western
    Quite reticent on the nose at first, but showed some oyster shell and honey with time in the glass. The palate took some time to open up as well, showing some decent power but not great depth. Drink now. 88/100

Hermitage and Burgundy Blanc

  • 2001 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    A complex and layered nose of honeysuckle floral notes, honey, peach, pear and nutty aromas. A fantastic palate – rich fruit with so much complexity, incredible balance and vibrancy. At a good spot for my taste, but will likely continue drinking well for some time to come. 93/100

  • 2007 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
    Smoky vanilla oak on the nose along with some lemon pastry and peaches. The palate is more appealing, with lovely pure fruit and very good focus/drive. Very young, it needs more time. 91/100

DRC Montrachet

  • 2008 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
    Explosive and quite incredible multi-dimensional aromas – honey and graphite, pear, pineapple, orange peel, vanilla, an elusive wisp of smoke and with time the nose took on an additional set of floral notes. The intensity on the palate is at another level to any white wine I’ve tried previously, there is a richness that fills your mouth and yet it has the most stunning minerality and acidity that provided the wine with definition, drive and clarity. The wine just got better and better the longer it was in the glass, I kept some for as long as I could resist throughout the evening and it just continued to reveal more layers every time I went back to it. I don’t know what a wine like this will be like in 10 years time, I only know that I thought it was brilliant already. 98/100

Red Burgundy starter

  • 1996 Mommessin Clos de Tart – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de Tart Grand Cru
    Good complexity on the nose, with stalk and earthy notes as well as violets, strawberry and some spice. The initial impression of the palate is that of firm acid and tannin, but as it had time to breath, the palate seemed to soften and the austerity was not as noticeable. This reminded me very much of the 1990 Clos de Tart that I had 4 years ago. 90/100

The DRC Reds

  • 1986 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
    Faded colour with an orange tinged rim. Aromas of summer truffles, earth and black tea leaves. The palate is lightly bodied, there is good acidity but there is also a lack of depth and it seems more simple than the nose alludes to. Holding up okay, but drink now based on this bottle. 90/100

  • 1995 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru
    Lovely floral aromas to start with, supported by some light charred cedar, redcurrant and cloves – given time in the glass, the florals moved to the background and more earthy notes come to the fore. The palate is medium bodied, with a core of red fruit persisting. It perhaps lacks real character or palate complexity to lift it, but it was nicely close to its peak and rather enjoyable regardless. 91/100

  • 2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    An intense nose that also has great complexity to it – there is sois bois, black cherry, some ground coffee, truffle and dark floral aromas. While there is plush, powerful density of fruit on the palate there is an impressive set of tannins and it flows very nicely into the long finish. I didn’t get a sense of it being over-ripe or hot on the palate despite the vintage reputation. It isn’t shut down at all yet, providing plenty of pleasure, though I think it has more to offer over the medium term. Well and truly exceeded my expectations and lived up to its pedigree – it’s a different expression of the site, but it still reflects the site rather than the vintage alone. 94/100

  • 2004 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Served blind. Initial aromas were of cherry, stems, forest floor and a hint at cinnamon, leading into more spice driven notes as time went on. The palate is on the lean side but didn’t at all seem too austere – it actually really impressed me with its balance and length. There is plenty of interest provided through textural and spice elements. Drinking well already this is the best 2004 red Burgundy I’ve had, and by quite some margin. 93/100

  • 2006 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée-Conti Grand Cru
    The most incredibly ethereal nose I’ve encountered on a wine in recent memory, these were aromas that required serious contemplation – fragrant cherry, raspberry, rose petals, subtle earth and spices, then there is a surging minerality that carries onto the palate. The palate is elegant and has such purity, but then there is stunning depth at the same time, almost more than should be possible from a wine with such finesse. I had this lingering impression of fragility as it is so delicately and perfectly balanced. While it was clearly at an incredibly youthful stage of its life – this is a harmonious and wonderful wine even now. 97/100

The end of the evening

  • 2003 Pierre-Bise Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu Les Rouannieres – France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu
    Intense aromas of quince, mango, honey and some ginger. The palate is explosive, with richness tempered by a long line of acidity – the balance is really impressive for such a forceful wine. Delicious on its own or with a sweet dessert. 92/100

  • NV Seppelt Tokay Grand DP 57 – Australia, Victoria, North East, Rutherglen
    Christmas cake, toffee and butterscotch on the nose. Intense and lifted on the palate without showing any signs of being spirity. Lengthwise this is compelling, I just wish this bottle had a bit more complexity. 90/100

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