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2018 domaine de la romanee-conti, romanee-saint-vivant grand cru, marey-monge (750ml)

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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.

Critics Scores



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.

Region Summary

Small in size but mighty in influence, Burgundy is home to some of the most sought-after and investment-worthy wines on Earth. Legendary vineyards and centuries of winemaking tradition combine to produce incomparably powerful pinot noirs and subtle chardonnays. Add in extremely low annual yields, and it’s easy to see why Burgundy’s prices are second to none.

Why We're Investing

Pound for pound, Burgundy (or Bourgogne to the locals) produces more expensive, high-appreciating wines than any other wine region. According to Liv-ex, Burgundy is also the best-performing region over the last five years, ten years, and 15 years. There’s no reason to think that will change anytime soon. That’s because Burgundians are obsessed with winegrowing. The fixation on slopes, soil, and sunlight is a way of life. And while demand is high, two historical figures have ensured that this world-class wine is increasingly produced in smaller and smaller quantities. First are the Cistercians, an order of Catholic monks founded in the 11th century who owned extensive property in Burgundy. They noticed that each of their vineyards produced slightly different wines based on the soil and sunlight. This realization laid the foundation for the region’s vineyard lines and its fixation with terroir. Today, French law protects vineyard lines, which prevents the expansion of property. But aren’t other regions like this? Not quite. Châteaux and producers in Bordeaux, Champagne, and elsewhere can source grapes from other vineyards for their wine. That is not the case in Burgundy. A vigneron cannot expand production unless they buy more land in their existing vineyard. That requires finding a willing seller, something that is rarer than most top-shelf Burgundies. The second important figure is Napoleon. (Yes, that Napoleon.) His Napoleonic Code required the equal distribution of inherited property and land amongst heirs. As a result, Burgundy’s vineyards are becoming further fragmented with each generation. Some prestigious winemakers have no more than one row of vines to their name. That’s not all. Burgundy has a semi-continental climate that contributes to low annual yields. A single severe frost or hail can decimate a harvest, even limiting the production of some wines to a single barrel. With unpredictable weather leaving yields in limbo each year, names like Domaine Leroy, Armand Rosseau, and Joseph Drouhin command a premium at auctions. Taken to the extreme, a single bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti once sold for $558,000 at auction, a then-world record.

What's the Latest

Historically, Bordeaux has dominated the secondary wine market, once accounting for 96 of the trade by value. Buyers viewed Burgundy as too risky and fickle because of its semi-continental climate that contributed to inconsistent vintages. Modern technological advances in viticulture and vinification have offset some climate challenges, and Burgundy has rapidly gained market share. In 2022, Burgundy reached its highest percentage of trade by value at 51.0, temporarily eclipsing Bordeaux atop the wine world. People aren’t just investing in more Burgundy. They’re investing in different kinds of Burgundy wine, too. Over the last three years, the number of different Burgundies traded on the secondary market has risen 284. Consumer demand has expanded beyond the top sub-regions like Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin, and there is still room to grow. Perhaps most importantly, Burgundy remains resilient even in bumpy economic times. The iconic French region delivers what collectors and connoisseurs want most – brand equity, liquidity, and an extensive track record of growth. It makes Burgundy an easy asset to appreciate in any economic climate.

Looking Forward

The insatiable demand for Burgundy has taken the region to stratospheric heights. According to Liv-ex, the Burgundy 150 grew 39.3 in 2021. That was the second-best mark of any wine region, behind only Champagne at 41.5. Experts predict that momentum will carry into the coming years. Charles Antin, an auctioneer and head of wine auction sales at Zachys, put it this way, “We’re still setting world records for certain wines, but the graph can’t go up as steeply as it has, forever. My prediction is a cooling off, not a falling, but continuing to rise in the long run.” Even with climbing prices, eagle-eyed Vinovestors can still find remarkable deals. For instance, 2015 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru was released at $2,000 per bottle. Today, it retails for more than $100,000, if you can find it. Meanwhile, 2020 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet debuted at $1,600 per bottle, a bargain for anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle.