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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2005 Vintage

Corney & Barrow, 14 February 2008

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti makes Burgundy's most expensive, sought after wines from its incredible collection of Grand Cru vineyards (for background, see this and this, or an excellent report from the web archive of Neal Martin's wine-journal). Jamie Goode tastes the newly released 2005 vintage. 

There was a real sense of anticipation today at Corney & Barrow, as tasters arrived to see whether the 2005 vintage at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is really as good as expected. The expectation stems from the fact that the 2005 growing season was pretty much perfect. A little warm and dry, perhaps, and with fruit set affected by some strong wind – but otherwise just right. Harvest was over 15–23 September, and the grapes that came in were in such good condition that hardly any sorting was needed.

When Aubert de Villaine reported on the wines in November 2007, six months after bottling, he had this to say:

‘What we have here is wines with incredible energy, virility and concentration: their power more than measures up to a vintage keen to stamp its mark, against which they are fighting long and hard to impose their terroir’.

‘I think this is a great vintage’, he commented, ‘but you know, these are wines that detest the imprisonment of bottling more than any other vintage’. 

So what were the wines like? It’s really, really hard to be completely objective about iconic wines like these, especially when they are carefully poured with reverence, in such a setting, in the presence of Aubert. But my notes and scores are my honestly held opinions, and I’ve tried my best to be as objective as I can. Still, it would be very interesting to taste these wines blind in the company of their peers. It would also be instructive to taste them blind against each other, without the implicit hierarchy of the tasting order. [As an aside, I hate it when my scores seem to track this sort of hierarchy, as they mostly do here, but they are the scores I gave.]

Echézeauz 2005
Lovely, open expressive nose is really elegant, showing pure, vibrant red berry and cherry fruit. It’s really aromatic. The palate is open and expressive with an earthy undercurrent to the beautifully elegant cherryish fruit. Delightful and approachable even now, but I reckon it’s a serious wine in its own right and will continue to improve for a while. 94/100

Grands Echézeaux 2005
Quite earthy on the nose. In fact, earthiness is the distinctive feature here: it’s quite marked. The red fruits have a spicy, earthy edge and this comes across as brooding and intense. The palate is also earthy, with some grainy tannins. Quite a solid wine, and it is hard to predict how this will evolve. 92/100

Romanée-St-Vivant 2005
There’s a veneer of spicy, chocolatey oak on the nose with ripe, dark fruits. Aromatically alive and quite seductive, with dark cherry fruit. The palate has some tannic depth along with pure, elegant dark fruits and a bit of chocolatey richness. Tight and quite tannic on the finish. Really interesting – definitely one for the future. 95/100

Richebourg 2005
Smooth, pure, aromatic, with hauntingly elegant red fruit character. The palate is really expressive with lovely rounded pure fruit and subtle earthy character. The silkiness of the ripe fruit covers substantial structure here. Great balance. 96/100

La Tâche 2005
Fantastic nose: multilayered, complex aromas of cherry and berry fruits with great aromatic purity and balance. The palate is concentrated with lovely fruit purity and minerality, and a bit of earthy structure. Intense and long with lovely expressive personality. 97/100

Romanée-Conti 2005
Fantastic aromatics to the beautifully perfumed nose. Starts off with bright spicy red fruits, and then reveals layers of complexity, and a subtly tarry edge. The dense, full palate combines power and elegance, with some beguiling spicy earthy notes mingling with the powerful fruit. A superbly expressive wine that’s rich and full, yet perfectly in balance. Lots of density and structure, but no square edges. 98/100

Domaine de la Romanee Conti releases

2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008

Wines tasted 02/08
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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