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99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted at the La Tâche vertical at The Square. The La Tâche 1966 is one of those wines were composing a tasting note seems futile. How can you express such a wine in words? Well, I will try. It must be considered one of the greatest La Tâche of all time. Typically of this vineyard it is a mercurial Pinot Noir that is deceptively simple upon first acquaintance. Then you notice its unbelievable delineation as scents of dark fruit, sous bois, cigar box and an exotic hint of star anise gently unfold. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannins and nigh perfect acidity. There is such brightness and vigor in the 1966, allied with a sense of authority. Over time it gains precocity and there is a daring note of cough candy surfacing unexpectedly on the finish after ten minutes. This is an astonishing La Tâche that flirts with perfection.
97 points Wine Spectator
Light brick with orange edge. This also exhibits a slight vegetal note initially, along with plenty of forest underbrush, growing more penetrating with a core of sweet cherry in its bouquet. A caressing red, full of silky, sweet cherry and berry flavors and smoke. A picture of finesse, superb balance and a long finish. This loses nothing after an hour in the glass. Drink now through 2020
92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound
Some bricking though the center is still ruby. The wonderfully elegant nose is still quite fresh with some remaining vestiges of primary fruit though it has now largely passed into secondary aromas trimmed in the classic La Tâche spice and plenty of anise, clove and hoisin notes. The rich, full-bodied, beautifully detailed flavors display a slight edginess to them as there are the beginning traces of acidity poking through on the snappy finish. To be sure, there is plenty of richness and velvet to buffer most of the acidity but it may not for very much longer as this is clearly becoming more and more fragile. Still, the '66 LT is a real beauty of a wine and one that is perhaps slightly more reserved than many vintages. Over the years I have found the '66 to be a consistent performer though again, I underscore that it's time to drink up, at least in 750 ml format.
Well-cared for vines, strictly controlled yields and as late as possible harvest produces an aromatic and opulent wine. Deeply coloured, La Tâche develops a palate of extraordinary aromas of dark fruits, truffle and spices.
Rich and concentrated, its bouquet releases infinite tones that melt in the mouth to form a lovely ensemble – always exceptional, even in the difficult vintages. Hence in 1950 and 1951, it was the only wine in the domaine that was bottled.
Like many other Burgundy properties, the parcel La Tâche was originally connected to a monastery. It was then owned by two different families, one of which was the Joly de Bévy, who were dispossessed during the Revolution.
Later owned by the Basire and then the Liger-Belair families, the remaining part of La Tâche was purchased by the emblematic Domaine de La Romanée-Conti in 1933, joining the other mythical crus of Grands-Échézeaux, Échézeaux and Richebourg. From this vintage, La Tâche, solely
owned by one single domaine, became a ‘Cru Monopole’.
It is of course rare, producing 20,000 bottles per year, and is highly sought after by wine connoisseurs around the world, particularly in Asia.
La Tâche remains more accessible in price than the iconic cru of the domaine, DRC, yet it is also regarded as an icon with legendary status.
Buying a bottle of La Tâche, even in a lesser vintage, not only provides an extraordinary pleasure when opening the wine, but, if not opened, will give a certain guarantee of a comfortable appreciation in the medium term.
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.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is without question the most famous estate in Burgundy and arguably the greatest, producing some of the best wines in the world. It is probably one of the most traditional wineries in France. Wines are produced in small quantities while the demand is huge. The domaine has 25 hectares of vineyards, all Grand Crus, including the jewel in the crown, the 1.8 hectare monopole of Romanée Conti.
Romanée-Conti, a vineyard of four and a half acres,was originally the property of the Abbey of St. Vivant. In 1760 Prince Conti acquired it against the competition of a famous collector of jewellery, Madame de Pompadour – the king’s minister against the king’s mistress. He withdrew it from the market and reserved it for his own dazzling social events. It was he who created the myth surrounding Romanée-Conti.
The price of this tiny, treasured vineyard was 80.000 livres, which in those days was worth a small kingdom. Reclaimed as property of the nation during the Revolution, the vineyard passed through the hands of several proprietors to an ancestor of the present owner for 14.000 gold pounds in 1868.
In June 1940 began the journey of 16-year-old André Noblet from estate´s cellar caretaker to chief winemaker. The moment was not exactly favourable for the young man, as in July France was occupied by Germany. This single-minded and intelligent young man wanted to learn as quickly as he could all there was to know about the making of the estate´s wines, and Louis Clin did not spare his efforts, time or knowledge from this eager and gifted youth. As early as 1946 André vinified his first wines under Mr. Clin´s supervision. André Noblet finally took over the whole responsibility for the estate´s wines after the death of Louis Clin.
–We are the keeper of a certain philosophy of wine and, mainly, we are concerned by the perfection in details" assures Aubert de Villaine.
Aubert de Villaine became co-director of the domaine in 1974. His goal at the domaine is to bottle a wine that has had almost no manipulation, but is the result of perfectly balanced, healthy fruit. At the domaine everything is directed at producing great wines which are ideal for keeping. Biodynamics, used over the last ten years, has led to a change in direction under the new leadership of Henry Frédéric-Roch, one of the domaine's co-managers, together with Aubert de Villaine.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
1, Rue Derrière le Four
Tel. + 33 3 8062 4880
Fax + 33 3 8061 0572