Domaine de la Romanée-Conti or simply “DRC” needs no introduction. It is one of the most famous Burgundy producers on earth, known the world over for crafting some of the finest and most in-demand wines there are. When looking holistically at the fine wine market, few wines stand more prominent than their stable, a crown jewel of any collection. Famed for unparalleled quality, uber scores and scarcity, it takes its name from the Grand Cru vineyard Romanee-Conti, the only domaine allowed by law to be named after a specific vineyard.

The seat of DRC, the village of Vosne-Romanée, was mentioned as early as the 6th century and was known as Vanona which means Forest. In AD 890 the priory of Saint-Vivant was established and soon started attracting vineyards as gifts, most notably the 1.8 hectares that would become Romanée-Conti, from Alix de Vergy in 1232.

The Croonembourg family purchased the land along with neighbouring La Tache in 1631 and they renamed it Romanée for reasons that remain unknown to this day. André de Croonembourg put the family holdings up for sale in 1760; this sparked a bidding war that was eventually won by Louis Francois, Prince de Conti. La Tache and Romanée-St-Vivant passed into private hands. Despite losing all his lands during the revolution, the prince’s lasting legacy was naming the vineyard Romanée-Conti.

In 1869 the estate of Romanée-Conti was purchased by Jacques-Marie Duvalt-Blochet who started to create the Domaine as we know it today making acquisitions in Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux and Richebourg. After changing hands a few times the domaine today is owned by his heirs the de Villaine family. Edmond Guidon de Villaine sold half his shares to friend and financier Henri Leroy (the father of Lalou Bize-Leroy, the driving force behind Leroy) in 1942 and due to the complicated Burgundian succession laws a number of members of both families own shares in Domaine de la Romanée-Conti today under the Co-Directorship of Aubert de Villaine and Henri-Frederic Roch.

The Vineyards owned by DRC are grouped around the village of Vosne-Romanée and occupy slopes that face to the east and south-east. The soil is iron-rich and contains limestone on a bed of rock and marlstone. Yields are often low due to pruning and removal of any substandard grapes prior to the harvest. The vineyards of La Tache and Grand Echezeaux have even started to embrace biodynamic practices.

Often referred to in Burgundy as ‘The Domaine’, DRC produces only Grand Cru wines. These, especially the monopoles of Romanée-Conti and La Tache are considered amongst the best wines in the world and due to their scarcity command very high prices.

In 2008, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti ventured into the Cote de Beaune leasing 6 acres of vineyards on the hillside of Corton and released their first vintage, the 2009, in 2012. It also has holding in Le Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet, with the Grand Cru Le Montrachet as one of the rarest and finest white wines produced.

Romanée-Conti

  • Vineyard size – 1.8 hectares under vine
    • 100% Pinot Noir
    • Average production – 450 cases per year

Romanée-Conti is a monopole (an area controlled by a single winery) and often the most expensive wine in the world. The production quantities are so small and in such demand that it is often hard to obtain even one bottle of any vintage. The Prince de Conti retained the produce from this legendary vineyard for his personal consumption and today it remains at the top of many critics’ and consumers’ wish lists.

The vines are an average of 53 years old and the last time they were completely replanted was 1947/8 producing their first new vintage in 1952. The Pinot Noir grapes have mutated into 60 different varieties over the years and this coupled with practices like using horse and carts rather than tractors to avoid compacting the soil add up to an unrivalled and rare Burgundy wine.

La Tache

  • Vineyard Size – 6.06 hectares under vine
    • 100% Pinot Noir
    • Average production – 1,870 cases per year

Until 1932 DRC owned the vineyards of Les Gaudichots which neighboured La Tache until they applied for the vineyards to merge. Although Liger-Belair, owner of La Tache, was against this, the vineyards were merged and following his death auctioned off with DRC assuming full monopole status.

La Tache often rates second only to Romanée-Conti amongst its neighbouring wines and is consistently very good even during poorer years in Burgundy. A generally flamboyant wine, La Tache often takes considerably longer to mature than other DRC wines.

Richebourg

  • Vineyard holding- 3.51 hectares of 18.3 hectares
    • 100% Pinot Noir
    • Average production – 1000 cases per year

DRC are the largest single holders of land amongst the 11 producers in Richebourg. Described as ‘Indisputably the best of the non-monopoly grand cru of Vosne’ by Clive Coates MW the wines produced by DRC here are generally well structured and opulent. The vines average 45 years old and cuttings were taken from Romanée-Conti itself when replanting occurred just after the War.

Romanée-St-Vivant

  • Vineyard holding-5.28 hectares of 9.30 hectares
    • 100% Pinot Noir
    • Average production-1,500 cases per year

Romanée-St-Vivant is named after the old abbey of St Vivant and is the closest vineyard to the village of Vosne-Romanée. DRC have managed the 5.28 hectare site from 1966 on behalf of the Marey-Monge family and as owners from 1988 after a rumoured 60 million Franc buy-out. Romanée-St-Vivant is the most feminine of the DRC stable, likened to Romanée-Conti itself due to its complexity and elegant structure.

Echezeaux

  • Vineyard holding – 4.67 hectares of 34.79 hectares
    • 100% Pinot Noir
    • Average production – 1,340 cases per year

Echezeaux is a vineyard that has a reputation for variable quality, mainly due its sub-division among 80 owners. DRC occupies a premium plot within the Grand Cru vineyard and in very good years produces wine that surpasses some of its stable mates. The lack of topsoil and limestone bedrock means grapes ripen easily. Despite the reputation of wines from Echezeaux lacking the finesse of some of its neighbours, the DRC offering is still highly rated and in demand.

Grands Echezeaux

  • Vineyard holding – 3.52 hectares of 9.14 hectares
    • 100% Pinot Noir
    • Average production – 1,150 cases per year

Grand Echezeaux is made up of a triangle of land bordering the southwest corner of Clos-de-Vougeot and its more extensive neighbour Echezeaux. This land used to belong to the Abbey of Citeaux and more recently the Marey family. There are 21 vineyard owners in Grands Echezeaux compared to 80 in Echezeaux and the wine produced here by DRC is more structured and fleshier with a preponderance of black fruit and a gamey flavour.

Available Wines

2011 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, La Tache Grand Cru 6x75cl

BH95-97RP95VM95
£28,500/CaseDuty Status: In BondAvailability: Immediate