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. Force and subtlety in one wine ?
Richebourg reacts well to new oak, which it can dominate completely. It is therefore regularly matured in new casks of oak from the forests of Tronçais and Bertranges. It is easy to guess its depth and finesse, but this is a wine which is frequently discreet during the first months of its maturing period. To express itself, it needs a little encouragement (aeration, for example).
Richebourg requires very few tricks for it to express itself. There's no need to break up the cap or to control the temperature inopportunely; the vinification follows the general rules of the estate; no more, no less. The most important thing is to have ripe grapes to start with, which is not difficult, given the low yields.
Planted during the 1950s, this 'grand cru' vineyard regularly produces small grapes, perfect examples of 'pinot fin'. It is not particularly precocious and likes to take its time to mature; a characteristic which can also be found in the cask, once the wine has been made! The grapes present a fine balance between sugar and acids, certainly at the origin of this appellation's character.
The estate possesses about three quarters of an acre in 'les Verroilles', plus a tenth of an acre in 'les Richebourg', just below 'Cros Parantoux' (or close to an acre in total). The vines are oriented principally towards the east, and they are characterised by being planted in rows running north-south – a protection during hot years. Generally speaking, the site is fairly cool.
The climatic conditions of the vintage are reflected in the bottle: small yields, a fine degree of maturity, thanks to a heat-wave in August, and a good level of acidity, preserved by the north wind just before the harvest and the cold of the cellars the following winter. The 2005s have a very great potential: they are dense and deep, with silkiness (perhaps the main characteristic of the vintage) and good structure. The big question is: have they closed up? A little, certainly, which is only natural after three years in the bottle already. Nothing to worry about, though, and after 10 minutes in the glass, the aromas open out again in all their splendour. In any case, it would be better to lay them down, except for the less prestigious wines that may be drunk in order to catch a glimpse of this voluptuous vintage.