Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee St. Vivant Grand Cru (bin soiled label) 1988
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
I had a slight reservation about the Romanee St.-Vivant. As in 1987, I wondered whether the 1988 was excessively tannic and a gamble for the long run. There is no doubting its massive constitution, full body, and rich extract, but the tannins seemed extremely hard and tough, and this wine would appear to be at least a decade away from drinkability. Perhaps because one so rarely encounters this old-style, tannic type of burgundy, it is tempting to dismiss it as too hard and tough.
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 Tache - 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.
Celebrated as some of the best wine in the universe, red wine from Burgundy, otherwise known as red Burgundy, is Pinot noir. In fact Burgundy is the birthplace of Pinot noir and the source of the planet’s most sensual, delicate, valuable and sought-after Pinot noir wines.
Understanding and enjoying red Burgundy can stay simple, with a basic knowledge of its subregions, become more intricate by dialing down to the villages and vineyards or become a life-long passion, exploring climats (plots of vines), vintages and the post French Revolution land ownership laws. In any case, a fine red Burgundy will display refined nuances of black currant, red fruit, earth, spice, alluring floral aromatics and have great elegance, complexity and longevity.
Most famous, praised and collected of Burgunday are those from the Côte d'Or. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the area now called Côte d'Or was under a warm ocean whose sea floor has, over time, shifted and decomposed into various layers of limestone, sandstone and clay interspersed with ancient fossilized sea creatures. This is what is referred to as the famous escarpment upon which all of the highly sought-after Grands Crus and Premiers Crus vineyards can be found. In other words, from north to south, the best vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Flagey-Echezeaux, Nuits-St-Georges, Aloxe-Corton, Pommard and Volnay follow the path of this ancient sea bed.