This is also intensely spicy with a similar array of highly restrained but exceptionally complex floral and cool red and black berry fruit aromas. There is a real sense of focused power to the beautifully well-delineated, pure and highly nuanced, multifaceted medium-bodied flavors wrapped in a deep reserve of dry extract before culminating in a breathtakingly persistent finish replete with the hallmark youthful austerity. Like all of the great vintages of this most famous of burgundies, it is almost inconceivably spherical with a Zen-like sense of harmony. I could taste this hours later, and like the '10 La Tâche, this is not an especially powerful vintage for Romanée-Conti, but it should be one of the all-time greats in due time. In short, young burgundy just doesn't get any better than this. Score: 99 Points Tasted: Jan 14, 2013 Drink: 2030+ Issue: 49 Allen Meadows; Burghound
Co-director Aubert de Villaine trenchantly observed about 2010 that "it is rare for a vintage to flirt with so many potential forms of disaster yet in the end manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat and deliver excellent quality. As was the case in 2008, on the weekend of Rameaux the wind came from the west, which told us that it was going to be a difficult year. [Rameaux is the Sunday before Easter (Palm Sunday) which celebrates Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey. There is an old Burgundian saying that the direction of the wind, called the vent de Rameaux, will be the dominant wind of the vintage.] The flowering always has a primordial and determinative role in the construction of a vintage because it establishes just how much fruit it will produce. In this case the news wasn't positive as the weather was cool and wet which led to an extended and uneven flowering. This of course meant that maturities were disparate, sometimes even in the same bunch. The silver lining in all of this however was that the poor weather created a high proportion of shot berries, which added significant concentration to the musts. The reduced yields also permitted the vines to bring their fruit to a superb level of maturity, which never would have been the case with the cool growing season if we had had a full crop. June and July were at times humid and quite warm, even hot but never very hot. This kind of weather of course favors the development of mildew and oidium. By contrast, August, which saw the véraison, was cold and wet and our spirits about the potential quality of the harvest were apprehensive. We were helped in this though by the thick skins as they proved resistant to the botrytis pressure. On September 12th there was a violent hail storm which hit Santenay and from the same storm our vineyard in Montrachet was heavily rained on. This saw a heavy attack of botrytis on the chardonnay. Thankfully Vosne was spared and because the summer had been relatively cool and wet we didn't have any end-of-season hydric stress. We began the harvest on the 22nd of September with our new vineyards in Corton followed on the 23rd in Montrachet and Richebourg. There was rain on the 24th so nothing was picked that morning but in the afternoon we recommenced with Richebourg. Romanée-Conti was picked on the 25th, La Tâche on the 26th and 27th, Romanée St. Vivant between the 27th and 29th, Grands Echézeaux on the 29th and 30th and we finished with Echézeaux between the 30th of September and the 2nd of October. The fruit was relatively clean but even so there was plenty of sorting required though less than in 2008 or 2011. Potential alcohols ranged between 12.5 and 13%. Yields are never very high at the domaine but they were definitely low in 2010, ranging between 22 and 23 hl/ha. Because of the cool harvest conditions, the wines had a slightly longer than normal cool maceration. In terms of the vinification we used between 50 and 70% whole clusters and there were no problems with the wines finishing their sugars. Overall, 2010 was a gift from heaven as it's much better than we ever expected that it would be. The wines are fresh, intense and beautifully transparent and perhaps best of all, superbly well-balanced. Indeed, it would be fair to say that 2010 is a vintage of elegance rather than power." I was able to taste the DRC '10s twice almost one month apart and while my ranges varied a little they were actually remarkably consistent. Thus I have a high degree of confidence that my scores and comments will very likely prove to be reasonably accurate descriptions of the finished wines. In sum, 2010 is a stunning vintage chez DRC and if it's ultimately to prove not quite as good as 2009, it will be very, very close.
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