x
  • Country ranking ?

    175
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    roasted game with mushrooms

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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With the 2010 La Romanée we enter the realm of wines that are going to require many, many years to just start drinking well. In the 2010, I am drawn to the wine's explosive energy and tension. Beams of salivating acidity and firm tannins provide the backdrop for a vivid and viscerally thrilling Burgundy. The 2010 is an eternal wine that captivates readers for many, many decades. I only hope to taste it again when it is mature.

 

This is discreet and reserved with a gorgeously complex nose that offers up notes of violets, cassis, black berry, clove, sandalwood and anise hints. There is a palpable sense of energy to the brilliantly well-delineated, cool and restrained flavors that possess outstanding mid-palate concentration with focused power and a strong mineral component that culminate in a driving and explosive finish. What is interesting here though is that the power is delivered with no apparent weight and the supporting tannins are wonderfully sophisticated. While there is some of the trademark youthful austerity it seems less pronounced in 2010 than in some other recent vintages. A magnificent and perfectly balanced effort of pure silk that should age accordingly and this is undoubtedly one of the best wines in a great vintage.

Score: 97 Allen Meadows, Burghound.com (49), January 2013

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The Story

La Romanée's tiny 0.84ha, under half the size of its neighbour La Romanée-Conti, make it the smallest Appellation Controlée in France. A monopoly of the Liger Belair family since the 1830s, La Romanée is just above La Romanée-Conti and therefore has a slightly steeper slope and shallower soil. Since 2002 the wine has been made by Vicomte Louis Michel Liger-Belair who heads up the Domaine du Comte Liger Belair estate, turning La Romanée into one of the truely great Burgundies it always had the potential to be. Though closed and reserved in its youth, the wine habitually displays an elegance and haunting brilliance, and after a minimum of 7-10 year's bottle age blossoms into one of the very best red wines in Burgundy, if not the world. Approximately 300 cases are made each year.

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair’s wines keep getting better. The improvement is less a reflection of the underlying vintages and more the result of the work the estate has done to convert their vineyards to biodynamic farming. These are some of the most unique and compelling wines being made anywhere in Burgundy. The house style emphasizes the weightless transparency, finesse and sweetness that only Pinot Noir (and perhaps Nebbiolo) is capable of. As good as the 2010s are, the 2009s have also turned out beautifully. I will report on those wines in the April issue. Readers may also want to check out my video interview with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair posted on www.erobertparker.com for more historical perspective on the domaine.

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Wine Information

The domaine holds the monopoly of this 0.8452 hectare grand cru – Burgundy’s smallest appellation contrôlée. The soil is reddish-brown over a bed of pink, Premeaux limestone to the west of the parcel, and deeper more clay soil to the east. In 2015 20% of the vines were over 100 years-old, 50% were 60 years-old, and 30% were aged between 20 and 40 years-old. The annual production is around 3,600 bottles.

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Vintage 2010

THE 2010 BURGUNDY VINTAGE 

Compared with 2009, these figures represent a deficit of 25 percent in red and 16 percent in white.

It was a cold, drawn-out winter, some two degrees cooler than the average, though rainfall and sunshine were normal. There was one severe attack of frost on December 22nd, just before Christmas, which caused widespread damage on the upside of the main road from Beaune to Dijon. In many places the road is on higher ground, and the land dips before climbing up towards the premiers crus, thus causing a frost pocket. It is here, just as in 1985, that the damage has been done. Some vines have been killed outright; others managed a late push of vegetation which was either unproductive or far to late to be useful. This, and further depredations later in the season, have led to a crop some 25 percent less than the average (which is some 250,000 hectolitres, excluding generics, for the Côte d'Or).

 

Apart from a brief interlude in April the cold climatic pattern persisted right through until June 22nd. The vines flowered late and irregularly. Coulure and millerandage were widespread. There were isolated attacks of mildew. Conditions were the opposite of promising. The harvest would be late and maturity would be uneven unless there were to be a dramatic improvement in the weather.

Happily Burgundy then enjoyed a fine, even hot, period of several weeks until July 21st. The downside was that there were, inevitably, the usual storms, and in places, hail damage. On July 10th parts of northern Beaujolais and the southern Mâconnais were affected: Moulin à Vent, Saint-Amour, Leynes, Chaintré, Pouilly-Vinzelles, and the village of Fuissé. There was hail in some of the left bank vineyards in Chablis, especially in Vaillons. But the Côte d'Or and the Chalonnais seem to have been spared.

The weather in August was uneven; nice and warm, but with no lack of rain. We had oidium, here and there, and black rot elsewhere, in vineyards not properly looked after, especially in southern Burgundy and parts of Meursault. Together with the hail this has resulted in uneven quality in the Mâconnais, while further north the vintage is much more consistent.

 

Once into September the weather changed again. The wind changed to the north. It began to be much cooler during the night. Most days were dry and warm (though not hot – 25° maximum) but above all very sunny. It is sun, rather than heat, which ripens the fruit. Photosynthesis was able to continue right to the end, as the vegetation remained green. Acidities did not plunge; while the grapes continued to pile on sugar. Except where there had been prior hail or cryptogamic damage the fruit remained very healthy.

Apart from a few gloomy days around Tuesday September 7th, and a brief tempest in the evening of the 12th, which occasioned hail damage in Santenay and the southern end of Chassagne-Montrachet, the fine weather continued until Friday September 24th, by which time everyone was into their harvest. Picking began across Burgundy at more or less the same time: the 16th in the Beaujolais, the 18th in the Mâconnais, the 20th in the Côte Chalonnaise, the Côte d'Or and Chablis, though some waited until the 23rd. Following a pause on the 24th the good conditions continued with but brief stoppages for what turned out to be showers rather than more prolonged periods of rain. Most growers had finished by the week-end of October 1st.

 

All reports underline the same conclusion about the 2010 harvest. It has turned out a great deal better than one could possibly have imagined at the end of June. If only it had been drier in August! Not that August was wetter than the average, indeed in southern Burgundy precipitation was the same as in 2009.

The Beaujolais are not as abundantly seductive as in 2009, but they are perhaps more classic. The fruit is fresh and delicious. The crop is small and quality is less even than in it was in the previous vintage. The wines are in their prime now.

Quality in part of the Mâconnais has been compromised by the July 10th hail. It is here that the 2010 vintage is at its most heterogenous. But nevertheless, where the fruit has been correctly sorted, we have a combination of good fruit, correct levels of alcohol, nice supporting acidity and no lack of character. The best are delicious now.

Growers in the Côte Chalonnaise are very happy, especially with their red wines. 'That makes three highly successful vintages in a row.' said one, adding that the crop was saved by the anti-rot treatments he had had to apply. Again the whites are fully ready and drinking very well.

 

As elsewhere a small crop in Chablis, as much through a lack of juice in the grapes as to the size of the crop. Good alcoholic dregees – indeed more in the premiers crus than in the grands crus – healthy fruit and nice austere acIdities.

Which brings us to the Côte d'Or. Once again not a lot of juice, owing to widespread millerandage, but more concentration as a result. The red wines showed very good fruit and the grapes were in a very good state of health. Alcohol and acidity levels are more than satisfactory, as are the initial colours. So if the red wines were not as glorious at the outset as in 2009, they were certainly very good, above the current average. And as they developed they seemed to get better and better. The character is more classic than in 2009 and the wines will probably last longer. This was not a vintage to go heavy on the extraction, particularly in communes such as Volnay and Chambolle. That aside, these red wines are consistent; in the Côte de Beaune said to be at their best in Pommard; while the quality in the Côte de Nuits was noted as 'très joli'. Indeed the more you travel north, as is so often the case, the better the wine. The Côte de Nuits benefited not only from a slightly later harvest, but from lower precipitation in August. It is here that the 2010 vintage is at its finest. It is a vintage which shows the  petits fruits rouges flavours of a medium weight, ripe, but not that concentrated a vintage. The wines are more marked by their terroir than in 2009, according to Aubert de Villaine.

 

It was more difficult in the early days to pronounce on the whites than on the reds. One wine-maker spoke about 'explosive' aromas, on the side of the exotic, and colours which were less deep than he feared. There are good acidities, but the vintage will be less classic than the 2008s in his opinion. I'm not sure that I agree. Now that the wines are in bottle one can see in the very best wines a striking success: the grip of the 2008s and the richness of the 2009s. That said, it must be pointed out that the storm of September 12th 'turned' much of the Chardonnay fruit. If one did not pick immediatedly, one's wine was comprimised. The result is a heterogenity between the village and minor premiers crus on the one hand and the wines from the better-sited vineyards, not to mention the grands crus, on the other. This is clearly apparent in the wines of Chassagne-Montrachet: wines of only average quality, and many showing too much botrytis, in Morgeots and the vineyards on the north side of the village, such as Chenevottes, Macharelles and Vergers, but fine wines from the slope which runs from Caillerets down to Embazées. Of the three main villages, Puligny and Meursault are better than Chassagne. Proportionately the higher one goes up the hierarchy, the better the wine. At the very top levels there are many white wines which, as they should, promise to be still improving after the age of five, rather than, as seems to be more and more the norm, depressingly, by that time beginning to lighten up. Overall – and there are a few wines which already hint at premature oxidation - this is clearly a better white wine vintage than 2009. And firmer than 2008.

 

Prices rose, but not by much. Growers were already aware of the deficit in quantity when they announced their 2009 prices, so a gentle shading upwards (I speak in Euros), was the order of the day, except that the elastic between the village wines and the less fashionable premiers crus on the one hand, and the grands crus and top village premiers crus on the other, continues to widen. You will pay increasingly higher prices for Richebourg, Puligny-Montrachet, Les Folatières and Vosne-Romanée, Les Beaumonts, while Savigny-Lès-Beaune, premier cru and Paul Jacqueson's Rully, La Pucelles remain a bargain.

by Clive Coates

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

BJ brought another special treat, a 2010 Comte Liger-Belair La Romanée.  Louis Michel studied under Jayer, so we officially decided then and there that his wines would always be welcome at any Jayer night.  This was another spectacular, WOW wine with superb aromatics of pure fruit, great menthol and extraordinary spice.  BJ and I were blown away, and we both decided rather quickly that this was wine of the night.  Its acidity and length were both endless and effortless.  ‘BEST wine’ was in my notes in that exact manner.  When you have a consensus amongst JK and BJ, it becomes official, although I am sure most wine drinkers would rather have an official BJ than an official JK.  That joke will never grow old lol (99). 

  • 99p

Bright ruby. Minerals, red berries, scented, so nuanced and layered on tje nose, complex and refined, touch of spices. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, stunning fruit, texture and body, gorgeous balance, red berries, incredibly long, superb. 98

  • 98p

Medium-full colour. Closed in but not awkward on the nose. Very classy. Aristocratic depth. On the palate equally lovely. Real class. Very intense. Very, very long. Excellent. 19.5p

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Information

Origin

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy

Other wines from this producer

Echézeaux Grand Cru

Musigny

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Aux Cras

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Clos des Grandes Vignes

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Clos des Grandes Vignes

Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Lavières

Vosne-Romanée

Vosne-Romanée 1er cru Aux Reignots

Vosne-Romanée 1er cru Les Brulèes

Vosne-Romanée 1er cru Les Chaumes

Vosne-Romanée 1er cru Les Suchots

Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château

Vosne-Romanée La Colombière

Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Petit Monts

Inside Information

The 2010 La Romanee blossoms from the glass in every direction. At present it comes across as extremely primary, with very little in the way of aromatic development. The tannins are firm yet well-balanced, which bodes very well for the future. The sheer purity and integrity of the fruit is remarkable. This is a dazzling wine, but very, very young. A recent bottle of the 2009 was equally stratospheric. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040.

The La Romanee 2010 is a magnificent effort combining the intensity, depth and transparency of the vintage with the filigree refinement of the great La Romanee terroir. The bouquet is offering deep and layered organic red fruit – intense with a firework of minerality and Vosne spices infused in the delicate fruit. On the palate intense layers red fruit, both juicy and very vibrant with a effortless zen like balance and lightfootedness. It’s tremendously refined and the long mineralic finish is a study in sexy Vosne refinement. The best wine from Louis-Michel Liger-Belair so far .. a masterpiece .. effortless refinement and pleasure.

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