Keen to discover more about the illustrious Domaine de la Romanée Conti and its precious wines?
Domaine de la Romanée Conti or DRC is one of the most hallowed names in the world of wine!
Its history and winemaking practices are nothing short of awe-inspiring. DRC wines have captured the hearts of many, including an Archbishop of Paris, who in 1780, described it as “velvet and satin in bottles.”
What makes these sublime wines so sought-after? Why do they command astronomical prices? And, how can you buy these rare wines?
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about DRC - its roots, acclaimed vineyards, best wines you should buy, prices, and the easiest way to buy them.
This Article Contains
(Click a link below to jump to a specific section)
- The Prestigious Domaine de la Romanée Conti
- The Vineyards or Grand Crus of DRC
- Winemaking at Domaine de la Romanée Conti
- How Domaine de la Romanée Conti Wines Taste
- Interesting Facts about Romanée Conti
- Why Should You Invest in Domaine de la Romanée Conti Wine?
- The Precious Wines of Domaine de la Romanée Conti
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée Conti Grand Cru 2015
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti La Tâche Grand Cru Monopole 2015
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Richebourg Grand Cru 2015
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Montrachet Grand Cru 2014
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru 2015
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Corton Grand Cru 2016
The Prestigious Domaine de la Romanée Conti
Known for its age-worthy wines, Domaine de la Romanée Conti is easily one of the world’s most collectible wine producers.
Based in the village of Vosne-Romanée in Burgundy, France, the Domaine is now owned by the de Villaine and Leroy/Roch families.
It is managed by Aubert de Villane and Perrine Fenal Leroy. Perrine Fenal stepped up after the death of esteemed co-director Henry-Frédéric Roch in 2018.
Perrine Fenal is the daughter of Domaine Leroy founder, Lalou Bize-Leroy— who was co-director of DRC with Aubert de Villaine until 1992. Domaine Leroy is another Bourgogne icon, with estates in Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey Chambertin.
Interestingly, DRC produces only grand cru wines, though wines labeled as Premier Cru (or 1er cru) may be released in exceptional years. This 1er cru is labeled Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Cuvée Duvault Blochet and is made from younger vines and secondary grapes on the grand cru vineyards.
Let’s explore more about DRC’s revered grand crus.
The Vineyards or Grand Crus of DRC
Domaine de la Romanée Conti holds parcels of land in some of the most valuable vineyards in the world. Its most famous is La Romanée Conti, a tiny vineyard located in Vosne-Romanée, in France’s Burgundy region.
A. La Romanée Conti Vineyard - The Jewel of Burgundy
This minuscule vineyard received AOC status in 1936 and is a monopole of Domaine de la Romanée Conti.
What is a monopole?
In wine terms, a monopole is an appellation or a wine-growing area controlled by a single winery. DRC has two monopoles—Romanée Conti and La Tâche.
At only 1.81 hectares (4.47 acres), La Romanée-Conti grand cru produces one of the scarcest, most expensive red wines in the world. This is nothing but DRC’s greatest wine, Romanée Conti.
Grape and Terroir
The Romanée Conti vineyard cultivates Pinot Noir, one of the oldest grapes in the world and also one of the hardest to grow.
However, the terroir of Romanée Conti on the midslope of Côte d'Or is well-suited to this finicky grape. Well-drained, pebbly limestone soil and an easterly position with ample sunlight allow the Pinot Noir grape to thrive extremely well.
The vines here are more than 50 years old on average and are extremely low-yielding. Only 450 cases of wine are produced on average annually!
DRC wines are the best examples of how terroir influences the character of a wine, imparting nuances of the soil and climate into each masterpiece wine bottle!
A Brief History of La Romanée Conti Vineyard
In the 13th century, Romanee Conti was owned by the Church through the Abbey of Saint Vivant and was known as Cru de Clos.
Four centuries later, it came into the hands of Philippe de Croonembourg, who renamed the vineyard to La Romanée.
In 1760, a Croomenburg descendent sold the vineyard to the Prince of Conti, who changed the name to include his own - Romanée Conti.
After the French Revolution, Romanée Conti passed through a succession of owners. It wasn’t until 1869 when an ancestor of the de Villaines, Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet, bought it. He went on to build the Domaine that we know today.
B. The Eight Other Grand Cru Vineyards
The tiny Romanée Conti may be the jewel in the crown, but Domaine Romanee Conti has plots in eight other grand cru vineyards.
La Tâche, Romanée-Saint-Vivant (Romanée-St-Vivant), Richebourg, Corton, Echezeaux and the Grands Echezeaux vineyard produce the sublime Pinot Noir that DRC is renowned for.
However, in 2018, DRC added the Corton-Charlemagne grand cru vineyard to its portfolio to extend its foray into white wine production. 2019 is the first vintage.
Winemaking at DRC follows impeccable standards. Let’s take a look at some of the unique production techniques.
Winemaking at Domaine de la Romanée Conti
DRC’s Aubert de Villaine instituted organic farming in 1986, following traditional and natural winemaking practices:
- Only natural yeasts are used for fermentation.
- Aging is conducted in 100% new oak, sourced from the Domaine’s private supply in the Troncais forests.
- The wines are not filtered, and if racking off lees is needed, it’s done by gravity from cask to cask.
- If fining is required, DRC utilizes fresh eggs.
- Finally, the wines spend 16-20 months in oak before bottling.
How do Domaine de la Romanée Conti Wines Taste?
Each Burgundy grand cru has a unique terroir, lending unique flavors and characteristics to the wines. Romanee Conti wines, for instance, have a vegetal note that evolves into a rose petal aroma with age.
For example, here’s a comparison of a tasting of 2017 vintages from some of the grand crus:
- Corton red is expressive and open, revealing crisp fruit and magnificent energy.
- La Tâche has to be aired in the glass, and eventually reveals a nose of discreet blue fruit, with a complex and exquisitely balanced palate.
- Romanée Conti has a more immediate bouquet than the La Tâche, with pure, vibrant red cherries and cranberry, and an effortlessly harmonious palate.
- Le Montrachet is a full-bodied and textural wine with aromas of crisp green pear fresh pastry, clear honey.
- Which wine glass to choose for different types of wine
- How many calories are there in your glass of wine?
Interesting Facts about Romanée Conti
Here are some more interesting facts about the Domaine.
1. The only Burgundy domaine that produces 100% grand cru wines
DRC is the only Burgundian domaine that can claim all their wines are from grand cru vineyards.
Read more: How to design the ideal cellar for your collectible wines
2. DRC vineyards are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site
In July 2015, Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits climats received the “World Heritage” status from the United Nations. This came after a decade of lobbying and research led by DRC’s Aubert de Villaine.
3. Traditions and lineage hold strong at DRC
The current Chef de Cave (head winemaker of the Domaine), André Noblet, took over from his father, Bernard, in 1985. Bernard Noblet had taken care of the cellar for 45 years before that.
4. “Sharing” was not in the Prince of Conti’s vocabulary
Louis-François de Bourbon, the Prince of Conti who gave his name to the vineyard, was not a fan of sharing. When he acquired La Romanée in 1760, he took all its wine bottles off the market, keeping it for his personal consumption.
5. DRC wine is a favorite of Asian collectors
Asian collectors love Burgundy wines, and DRC even more so. Part of it is the association of DRC as one of the premier wines of Burgundy.
In July 2020, a 6-liter Methuselah bottle of DRC Romanée-Conti 1999 led Sotheby’s Hong Kong wine auction with a stunning sale of US$272,100. This is double its previous estimated value.
6. DRC is a favorite target for counterfeiters
The high-priced grand cru wines are a frequent victim to counterfeits.
One of the most infamous cases involved Rudi Kurniawan, an Indonesian fraudster who was nicknamed “Dr. Conti” after his prolific production of imitation wines, including DRC.
7. A blackmailer once threatened to poison La Romanée Conti vines
In January 2010, DRC’s Aubert de Villaine received a note threatening to poison La Romanée Conti’s vines for the ransom price of a million Euros (US$1.1 million). The French authorities apprehended the blackmailer, and the vines remained safe.
8. DRC’s most expensive vintages cost more than a Ferrari 812 GTS
In October 2018, two bottles of DRC’s 1945 Romanée Conti were sold for $558,000 and $496,000 at a Sotheby’s New York auction. That costs more than a Ferrari 812 GTS, which commands more than $380,000 today.
Why were those bottles of rare Burgundy so costly?
Only two bottles of the highly celebrated vintage were produced in 1945!
Read more: Find out how many glasses you can serve with a bottle of wine.
9. DRC Bâtard-Montrachet wines cannot be bought
DRC has a tenth cru vineyard whose wines you can never buy! This white wine from the 0.42-acre Bâtard-Montrachet vineyard is consumed exclusively at the Domaine among friends and family.
10. DRC HQ sits on Rue du Temps Perdu
It’s not easy to visit DRC to sample their wines, given the number of wine lovers who are politely turned away without an appointment. No wonder the street that its headquarters lies on is called Rue du Temps Perdu, which roughly translates to the Street of Lost (or Wasted) Time!
Besides being masterpieces in themselves, DRC wines are one of the most sought-after investment wines. Let’s see why.
Why Should You Invest in Domaine de la Romanée Conti Wine?
DRC bottles are a priority for wine investors mainly due to their historical links with royalty, inimitable standards of winemaking, scarcity, and age-worthiness.
Here’s a comparison to understand the extent of its scarcity. Only 450 cases of DRC’s top wine, Romanée Conti, are made in a year. And, DRC only produces 6,000-8,000 cases a year across all its grand crus. In a way, this guarantees that it’s demand is hardly met!
On the other hand, the great wine estates of Bordeaux produce thousands of bottles annually. Chateau Lafite Rothchild, one of the most exemplary estates, releases about 20,000 cases of wine a year!
All these factors continue to drive up its desirability, demand, and prices - evident in its stellar track record at auctions (as we’ve seen already!)
Now take a look at some of DRC’s splendid wines that you should consider buying.
The Precious Wines of Domaine de la Romanée Conti (Including Taste, Prices)
We’ve picked a vintage from each of DRC’s grand cru vineyards, except the super-exclusive Batard-Montrachet white.
1. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée Conti Grand Cru 2015, Côte de Nuits
The 2015 vintage unfurls beautifully with a complex nose of exotic spice and mineral. This Burgundy red is a seamless blend of sweet, ripe strawberry and cherry fruit, pepper, tea, and herbs on the palate. With the softest tannins, it ends with an intense, long, and fruit dominated finish.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée Conti Grand Cru 2015: $23,000+
2. Domaine de la Romanée Conti La Tâche Grand Cru Monopole 2015, Côte de Nuits
The La Tâche 2015 vintage has a nose of opulent, pure black fruit with a hint of red, blackberry liqueur, black cherry and plum, complex sous bois, caramel, and subtle limestone minerals. Concentrated and balanced, with the perfect amount of acidity, it ends on a long finish that resonates with tea and Vosne spice.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti La Tâche Grand Cru Monopole 2015: $5,700+
3. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Richebourg Grand Cru 2015, Côte de Nuits
The DRC Richebourg Grand Cru 2015 offers highly intense aromas of stems, sous bois, dark fruit, sweet red fruit, and mineral scents. The palate has a distinctive red fruit flavor with earth, ash, and toasty notes. Round, silky tannins complement a powerful but harmonious structure.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Richebourg Grand Cru 2015: $4,000+
4. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Montrachet Grand Cru 2014, Côte de Beaune
This 2014 Chardonnay has a wonderful nose full of minerality, citrus, apple, peach, baking spices, and pineapple. Soft and seductive, this Burgundy white has plenty of citrus, apple, and tropical fruit on the palate. The structure is fine with well-integrated acidity, driving to a fruit dominated finish.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Montrachet Grand Cru 2014: $8,000+
5. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru 2015, Côte de Nuits
The 2015 vintage Pinot Noir is deep and concentrated with lovely wild berries, light floral tones, and some leather aromas. It offers delicious red currant fruit, delightful licorice with a long, juicy finish.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru 2015: $2,900+
6. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015, Côte de Nuits
The Echezeaux 2015 is expressive on the nose, displaying ripe, jammy black fruit with a hint of red, blackberry liqueur, black cherry, plum, licorice, smoke, caramel, spice, and crushed rock. It is concentrated and opulent, and has a bright acidity and an intense, fruit-driven finish.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015: $2,400+
7. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015, Côte de Nuits
The 2015 vintage red wine offers the aroma of fresh red fruit, which becomes candied with more time in the glass. Medium acidity and round but noticeable tannins make up the underlying structure of this wine.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015: $3,000+
8. Domaine de la Romanée Conti Corton Grand Cru 2016, Côte de Beaune
The 2016 Corton Grand Cru is a splendid bottle of Pinot Noir with lots of fresh herbs around a sweet fruit core dominated by a tasting note of strawberries and sour cherries. It has a beautiful, soft structure with fine tannins and a medium acidity.
Price of Domaine de la Romanée Conti Corton Grand Cru 2016: $2,100+
Now for the most important question:
How to Buy DRC Wine
Finding a DRC vintage isn’t easy by any means. You could spend ages scouring wine portals, fine wine exchanges or auctions for that rare wine bottle.
Also, they’re sold on an allocation basis - meaning only a few distributors get a limited quantity of wines allocated for selling.
Thankfully, there’s a much easier way to buy DRC wine!
Let a trusted wine investment company like Vinovest do the buying for you. You can easily invest in DRC and other fine wines like Cristal Champagne, Roumier, or ice wine, through a few clicks of your mouse.
Buy Exclusive DRC Wines through Vinovest
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The Essence of Tiny Vineyards Captured in a Bottle!
A sip of Romanée Conti wine is a brief sensory experience of the rich history of Burgundy and it’s ancient grapevines.
And, the value of a DRC wine lies in its enigma - the scarcity, meticulous winemaking, and its ability to evolve with age - all this, beautifully captured in a single bottle!
Let Vinovest help you seek out and buy that elusive DRC. Sign up today and add a DRC to your impressive wine portfolio!