Burgundy has 56 grand cru classified vineyards. Romanee-Conti that measures approximately two hectares is the most famous of all and owns in addition La Tache, Ricebourg, Romanee-St. Vivant, Grands Echezaux, Echezaux, and Montrachet (white wine cru outside the domaine).
The Domaine de la Romanee-Conti released La Romanee-Conti vintage 2005 for $ 3650.00 – 4300.00 retail, in 2008 the wine was valued $ 8,000.00 to 16,000.00 per bottle pending on location and retailer.
The Leroy, and De Villaine families own the Domaine. Aubert de Villaine is a co-director but actually makes all the important day-to-day decisions. Lalou (Marcelle) Bize- Leroy was a co-director until 1988 but departed from her position after a disagreement and now owns her own winery, but her family owns 50 per cent of DRC.
What makes Romanee-Conti
wines so rare is the annual quantity produces. La Romanee-Conti (6000 bottles) enjoys a reputation of uncompromising quality.
DRC maintains a nursery, which very few wineries do, and over the years selected and propagated the best Pinot fin to replace when necessary old or deceased vines, or blocks. The soil of Romanee-Conti consists of clay mixed with small limestone, whereas that of Chateau Latour in Bordeaux has gravel, Cote Rotie schistous, and Chateau de Beaucastel galets (boulders weighing 500grams to 3 – 4 kilograms), both in Cotes du Rhone.
The term terroir represents more than site, it includes incline, aspect, climate, and altitude.
DRC is now biodynamic, using horsepower for vineyard maintenance, and light tractors to minimize soil-compacting thought to have negative affect.
Yields are low, and the average age of vines is 45 – 48 years. The fruit of young vines is never used in the grand cru wines. On average 25 – 30 hectolitres per hectare is the yield, although the appellation allows approximately double that.
Benedictine monks settled in the area at the beginning of the 10th century on donated land and founded the Abbey of St. Vivant acquiring neighbouring vineyards as time passed. At some point the good monks started to lease their vineyards to local growers.
Vineyards in Vosne-Romanee, the parish, where DRC vineyards are located, were delimited in the 13th century.
From the 16th to the 17th century leases changed hands frequently and by 1651. The Coroonembourg family sold parcel known as the La Romanee to Louis Bourbon Prince de Conti.
By this time La Romanee’s wines were selling for ten times the price of its neighbouring vineyards but the prince reserved the whole annual production for himself.
In 1794 after the French revolution Prince de Conti was arrested and the vineyard put up for sale as La Romanee-Conti.
It was Jaques-Marie Duvault-Blocher who put the DRC’s 137 hectares of vineyards under the umbrella of the company. After several changes DRC was incorporated in 1942 and Henri Leroy bought 50 per cent of the company shares.
While in the past DRC sold its wines in mixed cases that included one bottle of Romanee-Conti, today each cru is sold separately to the most important two markets the U.S.A. and the Untied Kingdom while Switzerland, Belgium, and Japan play less important roles.
Romanee-Conti, La Tache, Richebourg and Romanee-St. Vivant possess magical flavour profiles and taste refined, elegant, pure, reflecting the true character of Pinot noir – a grape variety that caresses the tongue like no other.
The vineyards are relatively small measuring – Romanee-Conti less than two hectares, La Tache six, Richebourg 10, Echezaux 35, Romanee-St. Vivant 10, Grands Echezaux 10.
Montrachet, an eight hectare vineyard in the communes of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet in Cote de Beaune is the only white wine of DRC. Here the soil consists of fine marls and limestone. There are several owners of Montrachet including Bouchard Pere et Fils, J. Drouhin, Domaine Laflaive, and Ramonet.
DRC’s Montrachet is considered one of the finest, if not the finest.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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