2018 domaine de la romanee-conti, romanee-saint-vivant grand cru, marey-monge (750ml)
Why We're Buying
Any Mount Rushmore of fine wine is incomplete without Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC). The legendary estate commands astronomical prices and 2018 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru Marey-Monge is no exception. This coveted pinot noir comes from 13 acres that DRC purchased from the Marey-Monge family in 1988. The hearty clay soils retain water well and keep the soil cool. As a result, fruit takes longer to mature, giving the grapes time to produce bright and refreshing acidity with concentrated flavors. With 2018 Romanée-Saint-Vivant, raspberries, strawberries, cranberry coffee, dark chocolate, and loam compose the middle-weight flavors, leading to a saline-kissed coda. Even with the complexity of a Rube Goldberg machine, each element exists in harmony. The wine is focused and precise with a serious energy that never waivers. As tempting as it might be to open this bottle in youth, sage investors should exercise at least a decade of patience before revisiting this icon.
Here the nose is brooding to the point of being almost mute and requires aggressive swirling to gradually reveal plum liqueur, purple fruit and a variety of subtle spice and floral wisps. There is terrific punch and detail to the middle weight flavors that aren't quite as concentrated or muscular as those of the Grands Echézeaux yet there is still impressive power on the wonderfully long finish. This is somewhat less refined than it usually is, and not quite as spicy either, though by contrast it is more tannic and a wine that also should develop slowly over the next 25 to 30 years. I found the 2018 to be almost atypical in the sense that it's much more powerful and imposing than usual and it doesn't have the refinement either though that may well come with time in bottle. Patience strongly advised.
The 2018 Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru has a detailed bouquet of dark cherries, blueberry and pressed iris, an undertow of sea spray and petrichor emerging with time. Less floral than previous vintages, it is nevertheless extremely well focused. The palate is medium-bodied and you are immediately struck by the harmony of this wine. Elegant and discreetly spiced toward the finish. I would just like to see more persistence manifest during the remainder of its élevage
Romanée-St-Vivant went through malolactic later than the other DRC Grands Crus and was a little more backward and reductive when I tasted it from barrel. Fermented with 90% whole clusters and aged in new wood, it's paler than its stablemates, with refined red berry fruits, focused, mineral-edged acidity and a racy, chalky finish. Transparent winemaking from a site that often produces the domaine's most elegant wine.