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DRC releases 2009 with promise of ‘steady’ pricing

Corney & Barrow has released the 2009 vintage from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti with a promise that future prices will be 'steady and logical'.

de Villaine: ‘affordable to lovers of great Burgundy’

The London merchant, sole importer of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, has described 2009 as similar to 1959, with ‘a profundity that is at times unearthly.’

But, Corneys managing director Adam Brett-Smith said, there is little danger that prices in great vintages will inflate as rapidly as they have done in Bordeaux, even with the burgeoning Chinese interest in Burgundy.

‘The pricing structure in Burgundy is much more progressive,’ Brett-Smith, who also imports major Bordeaux properties including Petrus, said.

‘A vintage like 2009 was a wonderful excuse to go ripping into the price,’ he said, but Domaine de la Romanee-Conti in particular, ‘has reacted to the market logically and sensibly.’

Brett-Smith said prices tend to be more ‘pragmatic and steady’ where the owner of the property is also the winemaker and is deeply involved in the marketing and distribution. ‘That is the best relationship, in Bordeaux as well as in Burgundy.’

Aubert de Villaine, the owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Decanter Man of the Year 2010 has always tried to keep prices reasonable, as he said in a Decanter interview two years ago, ‘We want at least some of our wines to be affordable to lovers of great Burgundy.’

Speaking at the launch of the 2009s today he told Decanter.com that 2009 will be followed by a vintage ‘of the same calibre’.

‘2009 is more tender and seductive while 2010 is more classical in that it has more structure – it doesn’t give itself so readily.’

2011, he said, was surprising. ‘It was a small vintage, requiring a good deal of sorting, but they are great wines – more like 2009, with forward fruit.’

Corney & Barrow released the 2009 vintage in London today. The line-up included the first vintage of the Domaine’s Corton, the result of a lease taken out in 2008 from Domaine Prince Florent de Mérode, for three Grand Cru vineyards.

Total production of the Corton was 707 cases, on sale for £850 for six bottles in bond.

Production on the 2009s was slightly higher than average: Vosne-Romanée produced 458 12-bottle cases, Échézeaux 1549, Grands Échézeaux 1039, Richebourg 1311, Romanée-St-Vivant 1522, La Tâche 1828, Romanée-Conti 538, and Le Montrachet 340 cases.

Prices in bond range from £1,150 for the Echezeaux and £3,250 for La Tâche for six bottles, going up to £5,250 for three bottles of Romanée-Conti.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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