Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee-Conti 2009
Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Romanee-Conti is elusive and mysterious. Each taste reveals a different shade of the wine's multi-dimensional, kaleidoscopic personality. As is often the case in great years, Romanee-Conti is a wine of contrasts; open yet inward, seductive yet elusive. It's all there in the glass. Dark wild cherries, sweet spices, mint and flowers are some of the nuances that wrap around the palate on the eternal, majestic finish. Anticipated maturity: 2029-2059.
Burghound.com - "As is often the case with this wine when it is young, the nose is almost always very restrained but even so the word brilliant doesn't begin to capture just how marvelous it is. It's a fool's errand to try and capture all of the various nuances but a few of the major components would include dried rose petals, hoisin, clove, anise and cassis that merge seamlessly into regal, pure and gorgeously intense middle weight flavors that possess seemingly limitless reserves of dry extract that almost completely hide the perfectly integrated tannins on the firm, mineral-driven, overtly austere and linear finish. This possesses such a spectacular nose that you don't even have to drink it to be thrilled and the flavors are perfectly spherical. This may well be the wine of the vintage because wine does not get much, if any, better. If you can somehow justify the scratch required, don't miss it. I would also note that I'm not much on using plus signs with a scoring hierarchy that is already implausibly precise yet I do so here to indicate that I have the smallest of preferences for the '09 Romanée-Conti vis-à-vis the La Tâche. Yes, it would perhaps be just as easy to assign the next highest number rather than adding the plus but this would imply that the '09 RC is as good as the '90, '99 or '05 versions, which even as spectacular as it is, I do not believe that it can quite match those efforts. Hence why I used the plus, just in case you may have wondered. 98+"
International Wine Cellar - "Good deep red with ruby highlights. Blackberry, boysenberry, violet and peppery herbs on the reticent nose. The palate offers an extraordinary combination of volume and energy, showing classically dry fruit, fresh herb and pepper flavors and less obvious power today than La Tache. But this is also an outsized wine, with a saline, mouth-saturating finish that features great finesse of tannins and superb subtle thrust. Plenty of herbal, spicy, peppery evidence of whole-cluster vinification. The toughest of these wines today and in need of at least 10 or 12 years of cellaring.
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Domaine de la Romanee Conti Winery
Considered the pinnacle of Burgundy, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti produces some of the world’s most revered wines from its tiny vineyards in Vosne-Romanee. Two of the Domaine's seven Grand Cru vineyards - La Romanée-Conti and La Tâche - are monopoles (appellations entirely owned by the Domaine) and unarguably the greatest vineyards in Burgundy. Richebourg, Romanee-St.-Vivant, Grands-Echezeaux, Echezeaux, and Montrachet (in Chassagne) are also Grand Cru vineyards, yielding sublime wines that are among the most highly-sought, seductive and rarest in the world. View all Domaine de la Romanee Conti Wines
About BurgundyView a map of Burgundy wineries
Burgundy is a small region, only about a fourth the size of Bordeaux. The narrow thread of vineyard land stretches from the city of Dijon to Lyon. The five main districts of Burgundy are – from North to South - Chablis, Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Maconnais, and Beaujolais. Chablis is far removed geographically (above Dijon) and adheres to its own classifications. Beaujolais is its own region due to grape variety, vinification methods and regulations. Leaving us with the Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais as the heart of Burgundy.
Grapes of the region are easy to remember - Pinot Noir for reds, Chardonnay for whites. Burgundy can be called home for both varietals, despite their increasing presence in every winemaking country. In this area red wines out number whites, although the quality for both is unparalleled.
A bit of History...Once owned and run by the church and nobility, the vineyards of Burgundy were seized during French Revolution and sold off piece by piece. Further separation occurred with Napoleonic Law, which ordered that inherited land be divided among children equally. These two factors put Burgundy where it is today – a myriad of vineyards and villages, each with a number of growers and producers.
NégociantsBurgundy is organized by plots of land and labeled as such. About half of Burgundy works on a négociant system. Growers of small plots sell grapes, or more often, barrels of already made wine, to négociant houses who then blend it with other wines from that region and put it under their label. While the négociant system may sound like a way to produce mass amounts of anonymous wines, that is, luckily, not the case. Wines are labeled with a sense of place, so you know what land you are getting. There are some négociant houses that are much more renowned and consistent than others, and for the most part, the system works. But times are changing. Some growers are purchasing more land and making the wine on their property, under their label, for more consistency. On the other side, négociant houses are buying up their own vineyards so they will have more control over winemaking.
Classification SystemThe classification system is similar to a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is the most basic of the classifications, the Burgundy AC, meaning grapes can come from anywhere in the Burgundy region. Next up is a village wine, such as Côte de Beaune or Côte de Nuits, or the villages within these regions, like Givery-Chambertin or Puligny-Montrachet. The label will say Appellation Puligny-Montrachet Controlée. At the next level is the premier cru. A wine that says Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru will still be Appellation Puligny-Montrachet [premier cru] Controllée, but may include the premier cru vineyard name, such as Les Pucelles. At the tip of the pyramid are the grand cru vineyards. There are only 30 in the Côte d'Or and the name of the vineyard is the appellation name.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.