x
  • Country ranking ?

    3 361
  • Producer ranking ?

    239
  • Decanting time

    5h
  • When to drink

    from 2018
  • Food Pairing

    Beef Tenderloin with Ancho and Fennel Seeds

Parker 94-96p / The 2010 Richebourg is a kaleidoscope of black fruit, graphite, mint, violets and spices. It is a towering, statuesque wine that completely saturates the palate in all directions, seemingly at the same time. The 2010 stands out for its beguiling, totally exquisite aromatics. The trademark Richebourg structure is present, but this seems to be a vintage where finesse takes precedence over sheer power. Anticipated maturity: 2030-2060. 

I tasted the 2010s twice from barrel, once in the summer just as the wines were about to be racked and then again during my early December visit. On both occasions the wines were stellar. Like virtually all of his colleagues, co-manager Aubert de Villaine was surprised by the level of the 2010s given all of the challenges of the growing season. I could repeat everything de Villaine told me, but there is no better source than the man himself, so readers who want to learn more about the 2010 harvest may want to take a look at my interview with de Villaine on www.erobertparker.com. Overall, I am very impressed with the 2010s with the exception of the Corton, which appears to be a notch or two below the 2009. The 2010 that most greatly exceeds its appellation and historical level of quality is the Echezeaux. I also tasted the 2010 Vosne-Romanee Cuvee Duvault-Blochet but the domaine had not yet decided if the wine would be released. I will report on the 2009s in our April issue.

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The Story

Richebourg is a king of a wine: the colonnade of the Louvre, the Château of Versailles. You are impressed by its finesse, its length and its delicate sensations, endlessly changing. The fact that no element dominates the others enables you to appreciate all of its aromas, on the nose and on the palate. In any given vintage, Richebourg is always one of the last wines to be drunk. Not because it is too aggressive when young; simply because it needs time to reveal its full complexity.

 

Romanée-Conti lies on brown limestone soils 60 cm deep with a major clay component. Romanée-Saint-Vivant has similar but deeper (90 cm) soils. Higher up, La Romanée occupies a markedly sloping site (12%) and the soil texture is less clayey. La Tâche and La Grande Rue share brown limestone soils, rather shallow at the top end with deeper rendzinas lower down. The same is true for the Richebourg, depending on slope and aspect. The underlying rock is hard Premeaux limestone dating from the Jurassic (175 million years BC).

Lying between Flagey-Échezeaux (home of the ÉCHEZEAUX appellation) and Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanée occupies a middle position in the Côte de Nuits. The vines grow at altitudes of 250 to 310 metres and face east or, in some cases, slightly south of east. Vosne-Romanée, the central jewel in the necklace of appellations which is the burgundian côte, is not content with holding a mere four aces but boasts a total of six Grands Crus, each one famous the world over. A thousand years ago, it was the Cluniac monks of Saint-Vivant de Vergy and the Cistercians of Cîteaux who first realised the value of these very special plots of land. 
One of these vineyards takes its name from Prince Conti who lost his heart to it in 1760. Romanée-Conti is one of the wonders ofthe world and has always been a singly-held entity. Next door to it, Romanée-Saint-Vivant recalls the medieval monastery of the Hautes-Côtes which is currently undergoing restoration and which is linked to it by its own path. La Romanée, La Tâche and La Grande Rue are also singly-held entities, as is Richebourg, whose mere name is enough to fill a glass.

 

These Grands Crus frequently give good results from long laying-down. As a general rule, they shouldn't be drunk under about ten years of age but sometimes they will be aged up to 20 or 30 years. Each appellation has its own distinct personality depending on its year of production and on the stage it has reached in its development. These flamboyant red wines fully express the subtlety and complexity of the Burgundian Pinot Noir grape. Their colour is a dark ruby turning crimson with age. Their wide-ranging bouquet is divided among small red and black fruits, violet, spices and, with time, underbrush. On the palate, this wine is well-defined with a powerful body. It is delicate, sensual, frank and full.

 

In addition to their powerful structure and exceptional longevity, these great wines develop tertiary aromas of truffle, underbrush, leather and fur. It goes without saying that strong-flavoured meats will do them justice : furred or feathered game, braised, in sauce, or simply grilled. Wild-fowl (eg Peking duck) or a nice cut of roast veal will be gently enveloped by the close-packed but elegant tannins of these mighty Pinot Noir wines.

Serving temperatures : 15 to 16 °C.

 

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Vintage 2010

2010 Harvest / The vigneron's work throughout the year is nothing other than a dialogue with his natural environment. The dialogue often becomes a combat in order to lead the vineyards and the crop towards the harvest and away from the precipices that lurk and have names such as: Mildew, Oidium, Botrytis... and many others.

Rarely has a vintage been so close to the precipice and then managed to save itself so successfully as the 2010. At the moment that we are writing these lines, it is with joy and tranquillity that the village streets of Burgundy, somnolent under the sun, are filled with the rich scents that emanate from the fermentation vats while the vines, relieved of their fruit, and at peace, prepare themselves for the autumnal sleep and the gestation of the next vintage.

The beginning of the growing season was uneventful until the flowering, even though the wind on Palm Sunday - that according to tradition becomes the prevailing wind of the year - was a west wind. In other words, a wind that brings clouds and rain, contrary to the much desired north wind that provides dry weather and luminosity. In the end, the western and north-west winds were the dominant winds in 2010.

Let us review the significant events of the year, which required more than ever before: skill, experience and rapidity of intervention. If we wished to compare this vintage, full of challenges and traps, to a Homeric epic, we would say that the first quality of the vigneron was not the heroism of Achilles or Hector in the Iliad, but the prudence, craftiness and obstinacy of Ulysses in the Odyssey.

The flowering has always a major influence on the construction of a vintage: it is at this moment that, according to whether the climatic conditions are favourable or not, the vine is going to fertilize all or many of the clusters and berries it carries or only a few. In both cases, the influence will be decisive on the yield as well as on the quality of the wine.

In early June, when the flowering started, rain and low temperatures were prevalent and caused coulure (aborted berries) and millerandage (small berries with thick skins) In addition, the flowering that spread out over a good week had the effect of creating differences in ripeness between vines, between clusters and even between berries in the same cluster.

This type of flowering that reduces the quantity of grapes to ripen is often favourable to quality, especially when the weather conditions are difficult as in 2010. This not very fertile and uneven flowering was the first significant event of the vintage. It will not determine the final quality, but will have a strong influence on it.

In June and July, an alternation of hot, but never scorching, and humid periods led to the development of mildew and early botrytis. As is normal with organic agriculture, the anti cryptogamic fight had to be extremely thorough and continuous. Since it can only prevent or protect, but not cure, the risk of defeat was always present. As a consequence, both experience and close observation were essential.

The fight against the enemies of the vineyards belongs to Nicolas Jacob, our vineyard manager, and his team. They did a remarkable job, and the vineyards entered the veraison process (change of colour of the grapes) and the month of August in a very satisfactory sanitary condition.

August was outstandingly humid and cold - precipitations reached record levels and ripeness progressed slowly. This was the second significant event: climatic conditions were unfavourable from August throughout September with heat and storms succeeding one another, but the qualitative structure of the grapes (small berries with thick skins) confirmed itself and even consolidated. Thanks to their solid structure, the grapes could stand the botrytis that set in at the end of maturation.

By early September, as we were approaching the harvest, planned for the 20th, it was hard to be optimistic. The weather remained uncertain with western and southern winds bringing with them humid heat and storms. We were in a situation typical of northern vineyards: as often the case at the end of the vegetative cycle, the heat coming from the south boosted the ripening of the grapes, but also brought storms that favoured the development of botrytis. Even though the grapes were well resistant thanks to their structure, botrytis and maturation were progressing at the same time. As a consequence, before deciding on the harvest date, the vigneron had the difficult task of finding a happy medium in order to harvest ripe grapes without there being too much damage.

On September 12th, a violent hail storm destroyed a part of the Santenay vineyards. This storm also brought a lot of rain to the Montrachet area, which, combined with heat, resulted in a spectacular development of botrytis in the white wine vineyards.

Luckily, Vosne-Romanée was not hit and could still benefit from sunny days. Once more the Pinot Noir showed its capacity to produce sugar very fast, just before reaching full maturity. This maturity was physiologically reached on September 20th. But as the vineyards had never experienced during the course of the year the stress of dehydration so useful for a complete ripening of phenolic compounds, we decided to let the grapes benefit from the sun until they reached full maturity.

It is rare that the weather during the 8/10 days of harvest does not concentrate all the climatic characteristics of the growing season. That was indeed the case in 2010, a "cyclothymic" year, if ever there was one.

On September 22nd, we harvested very healthy grapes in Corton and the following day it was the turn of Montrachet. Perhaps because of the storm that broke out on the 19th, maturity was very high and the percentage of noble rot significant.

On Friday, 24th, while we were starting the harvest in Vosne-Romanée, storms arrived and brought in a single day very important quantities of water to the vineyards. Humidity set in and remained until September 30th when the Sun returned. As a result, the progression of botrytis was regular, but the maturation gained at the end of the vegetative cycle was definitely acquired as well as the resistance of the grapes with small berries and thick skins. We can look at this as the third significant event of the vintage. Nevertheless, due to the progression of botrytis, a severe selection was necessary.

Once again, our experienced team of harvesters performed their traditional "haute couture" work. On the one hand they left aside for a second picking the vines bearing big or not ripe enough berries. On the other hand they eliminated from the grapes the parts that had been affected by botrytis. As a result, after Bernard Noblet and his team had put the finishing touches on the pickers' work on the sorting table, only the perfectly ripe and healthy grapes were kept for the vats

The vineyards were harvested in the following order:

September 22nd ..... Corton
September 23rd ..... Montrachet and Richebourg (beginning)
September 24th ..... stop in the morning - afternoon : Richebourg
September 25th ..... Richebourg (end) and Romanée-Conti
September 26th ..... La Tâche (beginning)
September 27th ..... La Tâche and Romanée-St-Vivant (beginning)
September 28th ..... Romanée-St-Vivant
September 29th ..... Romanée-St-Vivant (end) and Grands-Echezeaux (beginning)
September 30th ..... Grands-Echezeaux (end) and Echezeaux (beginning)
October 1st ........... Echezeaux
October 2nd .......... Echezeaux (end) and second picking
October 5th ........... end of second picking

Given the harvest proceeded in cold weather, the natural pre-fermentary macerations that resulted permitted the thick skins of the grapes to slowly release tannins and anthocyanins. At the time of this writing, after around 17 days of vatting for the first vats harvested, the wines show good colour and an excellent tannic structure which should give them a strong aging potential. The acidities are exceptionally good and, as mentioned above, the fermentation aromas are noble.

The Montrachet that has started its fermentation in vats should be sumptuous.

We cannot say much more at present; we have to wait a little longer before we can confirm our first impressions.

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Average Bottle Price

2015 2014 2013
1 478€ +21.2% 1 219€ -21.0% 1 544€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Light, Ruby red and Bright

ending

Long, Flavorful and Lingering

flavors

Raspberry, Violet, Coffee, Toasty, Smoky and Spice

nose

Youthful, Complex, Seductive and Refined

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Balanced, Concentrated, Well-Integrated, Youthful, Medium-bodied, Firm, Focused, Vivid and Silky tannins

Verdict

Intelligent and Sophisticated

Written Notes

Fine colour. Ripe, rich, profound nose. Very high class. More sensual than the Romanée-Saint-Vivant.Full body. This is very lovely. Lots of energy and depth. Splendid concentrated fruit. Multi-dimensional. Really very fine indeed. 19.5p

Pronounced, lovely nose shows toasty, roasted coffee and wild ripe strawberry flavours with some smokiness. The palate is concentrated, focused, crisp and mineral. Very intense red fruit flavours with lovely spicy notes.Sheer purity and balance with lingering, long aftertaste. Near perfection?
  • 94p
Bright ruby red in color. Generous and distinct on the nose, with a bold composition of spices, raspberries, wild cherries and a darker streak of dried rose petals. Nicely structured with smooth tannins and bright acidity, encompassed by cherry candy, black tea, strawberry, and hints of lavender and spice.
  • 94p

Information

Origin

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Other wines from this producer

Bâtard-Montrachet

Corton Grand Cru

Echézeaux

Grands Echézeaux

La Tâche

Les Gaudichots

Marc

Montrachet

Romanée Conti

Romanee Saint Vivant

Vosne Romanée

Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cuvée Duvault Blochet

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  Richebourg 2010  ( Domaine de la Romanée-Conti )

Fine colour. Ripe, rich, profound nose. Very high class. More sensual than the Romanée-Saint-Vivant.Full body. This is very lovely. Lots of energy and depth. Splendid concentrated fruit. Multi-dimensional. Really very fine indeed. 19.5p

5m 19d ago

94p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Richebourg 2010  ( Domaine de la Romanée-Conti )

"Pronounced, lovely nose shows toasty, roasted coffee and wild ripe strawberry flavours with some smokiness. The palate is concentrated, focused, crisp and mineral. Very intense red fruit flavours with lovely spicy notes.Sheer purity and balance with lingering, long aftertaste. Near perfection? "

3y 17d ago

94p
 Jonas Sandberg, Sommelier (Sweden)  tasted  Richebourg 2010  ( Domaine de la Romanée-Conti )

"Bright ruby red in color. Generous and distinct on the nose, with a bold composition of spices, raspberries, wild cherries and a darker streak of dried rose petals. Nicely structured with smooth tannins and bright acidity, encompassed by cherry candy, black tea, strawberry, and hints of lavender and spice."

4y 7m ago

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