Rating: 98 pts by Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
“More reserved than the Richebourg and Romanée-St-Vivant, the 2016 La Tâche Grand Cru unwinds in the glass with aromas of wild berries, licorice, rose petal, smoked duck and love, framed by a touch of cedary new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and velvety, with a deep, concentrated but tight-knit core, its firm chassis of fine-grained, structuring tannins cloaked in succulent fruit, underpinned by juicy acids. The finish is long and reverberative. This is a stunning La Tâche in the making, but it is also one of the more reticent wines in the range and will demand some bottle age.” – William Kelley, The Wine Advocate, January 2019
DOMAINE DE LA ROMANÉE-CONTI LA TÂCHE GRAND CRU 2016
A morning spent with Aubert de Villaine provided an opportunity to taste the domaine’s 2016 and 2017 vintages. From bottle, the 2016s are stunning, equalling or surpassing the profound 2015s. There is a vibrancy and weightless intensity to the wines that mark them out as very special indeed. When the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti produces a great vintage, there’s nothing like it in Burgundy, and 2016 is a legitimately great vintage at this address. On the way to our tasting, we passed by the domaine’s entire stock of 2016 Echézeaux and Grands-Echézeaux, bottled entirely in magnum. Those wines won’t be released in early 2019: “perhaps we’ll drink them, or release them later, we haven’t decided”, said de Villaine, pointing to a stack of bottles that would nonetheless elicit green envy in any other producer of those two appellations.
Of vintage 2017, de Villaine reported that the domaine refrained from green harvesting in the belief that the vines’ natural yield is the optimal yield. The wines, he observed, are “nicely balanced but slimmer than 2015 or 2016”, an analysis with which I wholeheartedly concur, and to which I venture to add that the 2017s are suppler, more open-knit and will be adapted to comparatively near-term consumption. Moreover, after several years of low yields, there will, at last, be a certain quantity of wine to slake the thirst of an adoring—and sometimes, it must be said, uncritical—public. In 2017, it’s also the case that the domaine’s two monopoles stand head-and-shoulders above their other appellations in terms of depth, breadth and incipient complexity, a rapport that I’ve attempted to reflect with my scores.
Text credits: William Kelley, The Wine Advocate, January 2019.