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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.
Burgundy Report: Arguably the of the decade producing consistently high quality wines the breadth of the Côte de Nuits. 1988 is a more complete version of 1985. This time the wealth of sumptuous fruit was matched by a firmness of structure gave us first class wines.
Prices rose at the Hospices sale by 35%, albeit after two quiet years, and growers also increased their prices though not by as much. Tasted later in 2000, the wines seemed still very much on the young side. Those at village level were singing, the premier and grands crus still tight.
Red Burgundy 1988 - The Weather
For once Burgundy escaped the pitfalls of frost, hail and rot. Spring 1988 was warm and gentle without a disastrous cold snap, leading to good flowering conditions in June, followed by hot, dry weather throughout most of July and August.
September was mostly fine and dry; some growers began harvesting in the 3rd week of the month but those who waited until the end of September were amply rewarded and produced the best wines.
In youth the wines were deeply coloured and well structured with very prominent tannins. Over the years they have become more integrated and harmonious, with the best wines now combining a very good balance of ripe fruit, crisp acidity and svelte tannins. They are drinking well now, although many of the top wines still have not reached their peak.