2016 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru (Monopole)

Year: 2016
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 98
Vinous Media: 98
Burghound: 98
Red Wine

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DUE IN: SEPTEMBER 2019

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PRISTINE FROM PRIMARY SOURCE, NEVER STEPPED ON!!

"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.

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." (WA)

"The 2016 La Tâche Grand Cru was picked on September 24–25 at 31hL/ha (the highest of the five crus). It has an utterly sublime bouquet of blackberry, briar, crushed limestone, a dash of cracked black pepper and a little oregano. This is extremely complex and displays exquisite focus, to the extent that you could just sit and nose it all day. The palate is beautifully balanced, the spicy red fruit framed by filigreed tannin that belies its backbone. There is a gentle crescendo from start to finish, though being La Tâche it retains complete control. The precision and detail in the final third are deeply impressive. Less fruit-forward than the 2015, and lightly spiced, with an insistent grip. There is a captivating sense of completeness that will ensure longevity through three or four decades. 1,814 cases produced. Tasted at Corney & Barrow’s annual in-bottle tasting in London. " (VM)

"As is often the case, the highly perfumed nose is the most floral-inflected of the range with its equally cool and restrained array of violet and rose petal scents that combine with an extraordinary group of spice elements on the essence of red currant aromas. The mouthfeel of the imposingly-scaled and powerful flavors is again robust yet refined with just as much minerality as the Richebourg adding even more lift to the almost painfully intense and extravagantly long finish that also just goes and goes. There is a hint of backend warmth but it's not enough to materially detract from the overall sense of harmony though I underscore that the '16 LT is one very firm effort that will require decades to full shed its tannic shell. With that said, this is genuinely brilliant." (BH)