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DRC releases rarity, reports ‘great’ 03 vintage

The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti has released a rarity - a premier cru from its grand cru vines - for the first time in three years.

The eminent Burgundy producer’s second edition of its Cuvée Duvault-Blochet was unveiled with the 2002 vintage in Manhattan yesterday.

The declassified red, composed of grapes from all the DRC vineyards and reinforced by a vat of Richebourg, carries a village name, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru.

All the grapes came from a second picking, after ‘the finest grapes from the older vineyards’ were harvested, said Aubert de Villaine, DRC’s co-director.

DRC made 13,028 bottles. London’s Corney & Barrow takes delivery in March, and has not has yet set a price.

In the 1930’s, DRC made reds from young vines and marketed them under the label Cuvée Duvault-Blochet, named for the DRC’s 19th-century founder, Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blocher.

DRC revived the practice in 1999 with outstanding but secondary grapes. The 1999 Premier Cru went public in 2002.

Wine critics report the wine to be light, spicy and charmingly fruity – an everyday DRC that will cost Americans US$140 a bottle.

  • Aubert de Villaine has described the 2003 vintage as a ‘great year’ for Burgundy, writes Rupert Joy. The region’s most exclusive estate, which has seven Grands Crus, has just bottled its 2003 wines.

    De Villaine told decanter.com the ‘bizarre’ 2003 ‘will prove to be a great year.’

    In spite 2003’s now-notorious summer heatwave (when temperatures over 40C were recorded in parts of Burgundy), de Villaine says that the wines are a pleasant surprise.

    ‘At the beginning there were some slight notes of over-ripeness and jamminess – a sort of Mediterranean quality. But gradually each wine began to take on the character of its individual appellation. Richebourg is Richebourg, La Tâche is La Tâche, Echezeaux is Echezeaux and Grand Echezeaux is Grand Echezeaux.’

    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was one of the few Burgundy estates not to acidify its wines in 2003. Despite this, de Villaine says that the wines are remarkably well balanced. ‘The tannins have replaced the acidity in the wine, but they are fine tannins and this gives an impression of tremendous balance in the mouth.’

    Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York, and Rupert Joy

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