2016 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru

Year: 2016
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 97
Vinous Media: 95
Burghound: 96
Red Wine
Price :
$2,999.95
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PRISTINE FROM PRIMARY SOURCE, NEVER STEPPED ON!!

"Broader-shouldered and ampler than the Romanée-St-Vivant, the 2016 Richebourg Grand Cru unfurls in the glass with a lavish bouquet of cassis, dark plums, candied peel, potpourri, Asian spices, peonies and smoked duck. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and expansive, with considerable depth and dimension at the core, and a gourmand, almost fleshy profile that marries beautifully with its cool, precise fruit tones and its velvety structuring tannins. This is a superb Richerbourg that to my palate surpasses the 2015 rendition.

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 Richebourg Grand Cru was picked on September 23–24 at 24hL/ha. It is much more intellectual and, you might argue, more challenging on the nose. Initially it feels a little green, not through underripeness but due to a stemmy element that is not quite as well enmeshed with the fruit. This seems to dissipate with time, and after two or three minutes it evolves an extraordinarily complex mélange of red and black fruit (more the latter), briar, rose petals, crushed stone and just a touch of seaweed. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin, not as silky as the Romanée-Saint-Vivant, and a little more angular and masculine by comparison. This is one of the most saline Richebourgs that I have encountered from the domaine. Clearly a wine that is going to require a decade in bottle to really find its groove. Compelling, but not the most straightforward Richebourg in the pack. Then again, don’t we all like a puzzle? 868 cases produced. Tasted at Corney & Barrow’s annual in-bottle tasting in London." (VM)

"An exuberantly fresh if restrained nose offers up a panoply of spice elements that add breadth to the mostly dark berry fruit and plum aromas that are laced with smoky hints of violet, rose petal, lavender and a whisper of sandalwood. The tautly muscular broad-shouldered flavors possess outstanding mid-palate density as well as evident minerality on the focused, impeccably well-balanced and hugely persistent finale that just goes and goes. The '16 Riche is a bit more refined than usual thanks to the beautifully fine-grained tannins and a wine that could aptly be described as a lovely combination of power and refinement that should also successfully age for a very long time." (BH)