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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.
In Burgundy, the harvest is over for most farmers. It has been a year with a lot of heat both in July and August. A huge problem this year has been leaf-thinning and canopy management. Those who have not paid enough attention to the leaf-thinning experienced problems with sunburned grapes.
In Cote d’Or, it is especially the heat that has been tricky this season. First and foremost, some grapes have been burned by the sun resulting in raisins that the critical winegrower will not want in the cellar. Secondly, too much sun for a longer period caused stress among the vines and thus shut down the ripening. The result is grapes that look ripe but are still not ripe in taste. On the other hand, the most critical winegrowers report of really good grapes in the winery. Producers up north in Chablis are also reporting a satisfactory harvest.