Aubert de Villaine, director and co-proprietor of DRC, at Corney & Barrow's London HQ for the tasting
The wines were tasted at Corney & Barrow in London on 2 February 2017. Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and director, was there and, in his modest, understated way, was looking happy, as well he might. The wines showed beautifully. 2014 is not a showy vintage and the growing season was no shoo-in, although it started well enough. In fact, it went very well until the end of June, when biblical storms, including hail, were followed by a scorching heat-wave, all of which reduced the potential crop. July and August were pretty awful – cold, cloudy and very rainy – but at the start of September everything changed again. It turned sunny, warm and dry, with a drying north wind, and continued, with the exception of a storm on 19 September, until the end of the harvest.
Picking started for DRC in Corton on 16 September and finished ten days later on 26th in Échézeaux. Red wine yields ranged from 25hl/ha (Corton) to 32.6hl/ha (Romanée-Conti). Average age of the Pinot Noir vines ranges from 30 years (Échézeaux) to 56 years (Romanée-Conti). Le Montrachet (not tasted) yielded 35hl/ha from vines averaging 59 years old.
Scores out of 100; 93 and above represents gold. Prices are a bit academic, since the wines are allocated, but they’re at the end for interest.
Three parcels, Le Clos du Roi, Les Bressandes and Les Renardes, harvested on 16 September. Yield: 25hl/ha. Average age of vines: 45 years. Bottled 24–25 February 2016. Sixth vintage.
Medium ruby colour, almost glowing. On the nose, fragrant, fresh but ripe fruit with spicy, stony notes. A sweet entry to the palate, with red-fruit brightness and intensity, a supple, silky texture, a mineral undertow and a closing freshness. Long and polished. A very distinctive, rather beautiful Corton.
Harvested 24–26 September. Yield: 27.8hl/ha. Average age of vines: 30 years. Bottled 25 and 29 February, 3 March 2016.
Deeper colour than both Corton and Grands-Échézeaux. Black fruit, black cherry and spice on the nose and dark fruit on the palate. A bigger, more structured, denser wine than others, with savoury mineral and autumnal forest-floor flavours and grainier tannins.
Harvested 23–24 September. Yield: 32.5hl/ha. Average age of vines: 35 years. Bottled 3, 4, 7, 8 March 2016.
Slightly paler than the Échézeaux. Very perfumy and fragrant – cherries and sweet raspberries, hints of vanilla and patisserie. Palate: deep, textured, but very fine-boned; lovely spicy red fruit and a touch of vanilla. Velvety rich texture; very fine, below-the-surface tannins. Long.
Harvested 21–23 September. Yield: 31.6hl/ha. Average age of vines: 40 years. Bottled 8, 24, 25, 29, 30 March 2016.
Maybe a fraction darker than Grands-Échézeaux. Delicately floral nose with vanilla cream, orange and orange blossom. Lovely delicate sweetness to the fruit on the palate, yet intense and textured, with notes of perfumed orange, mocha and chocolate; chalk-dust smooth tannins, lifted, mineral freshness on a lingering finish.
Harvested 20–21 September. Yield: 29.75hl/ha. Average age of vines: 45 years. Bottled 30 and 31 March, 1 April 2016.
Fragrant, perfumed, floral, very pretty with a touch of patisserie. Full and rich in the mouth; very red fruit flavours; still showing its oak – creamy and vanilla-flecked. Fleshy, but it seems a tad shorter than the others… Can it be?
Harvested 17, 18, 20 September. Yield: 32hl/ha. Average age of vines: 45 years. Bottled 1, 4, 5, 6, 25 April 2016.
Quiet on the nose at first, but then exotic spice, orange and wild strawberry aromas come through. Palate combines fleshiness with structure, texture and intensity of flavour – red fruit, spice and a suggestion of coffee. Meltingly fine tannins. Such finesse and length.
Harvested 19 September. Yield: 32.6hl/ha. Average age of vines: 56 years. Bottled 25, 26 April 2016.
Beautiful, exotic scents – spices, sandalwood, coriander and cardomom. Palate: structured, more closed than the nose, but with ripples of red fruit and exotic spices coming through on a tide of minerality. Intense, but effortless; precise and polished and yet hard to tether. Very long.
Prices in bond UK, per case of 3 bottles:
La Tâche: £2,475 (also sold as a single bottle: £825)
Romanée-Conti: £6,975 (also sold as a single bottle: £2,325)