Domaine Romanée Conti

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Domaine Romanée Conti

Founded in: 1869

Region: Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune

Apellations: Vosne Romanée, Puligny-Chassagne, Aloxe-Corton

Classification: All grand crus

Crus:   Romanée-Conti (monopole)
La Tâche (monopole)
Romanée St Vivant
Grand Echezeaux

Grapes: Pinot Noir & Chardonnay (Montrachet)

Average annual production: c. 7,000 cases

Owned by: De Villaine & Leroy/Roch families

Made by: Aubert de Villaine & Henri-Frederic Roch

A little history: The most rare & expensive wine in the world comes armed with quite the history, as one might expect. Originally the Abbey of Saint Vivant in Vosne, the vineyard was bought by Belgian Lord, Philippe Croonembourg in 1631. The family subsequently renamed the Domaine ‘Romanée’; bought neighbouring plot of land, ‘La Tâche’ & started selling the wine at high prices. After a bit of a spat with Louis VX mistress, the domaine was eventually bought by a certain Prince de Conti & became Romanée-Conti, as it’s known today. Despite having paid an inordinate amount for the vineyards, the Prince was more interested in drinking rather than selling, making for a quieter commercial period & arguably an increase in scarcity.

The revolution came & went with the land being divied up & reappropriated, eventually falling into the hands of the de Villaine family in 1869. They reaquired La Tâche & gradually bought the plots of land that make the Domaine what it is today. Strife was, however, to hit again in the form of the World Wars within which interest in expensive Burgundies naturally plummeted. The family was forced to sell half of the Domaine to successful negociants Leroy to escape breaking things up. This ownership stands today &, despite inevitable tensions, has been a success. In 1986 the vineyard (ahead of many of its peers) went fully organic: horses were brought into to work the land; only natural treatments used & the grapes picked by hand. And so the strong begins – with yields kept low with regular pruning & an altogether ‘of the land’ approach, soils have flourished & the indisputed quality of the wines are kept at desirable quantities.

Interesting fact: Original wooden cases DRC all have an 8 digit code on them, for example 1010 – 02 – 02 – the first 4 digit number refers to the cru (1010 is Romanée-Conti, 1020 La Tâche etc); the 2nd the year & the third the size of bottle.. So in this case 2002 Magnums of Romanée-Conti!