2001 Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Dinner (Imperial Treasure Teochew, Takashimaya): So, finally to the Holy Grail. This was perhaps the most subtle and understated, perhaps even reserved, of all the wines on the night – one that demanded time and attention to appreciate. Yet coming at the end of a few tremendous flights of the very best Vosne-Romanee can offer, it was clearly Primi Inter Pares, the first amongst equals. It had deep yet subtle nose, not dazzling like the La Tache or seductive like the RSV, but quietly captivating, a perfectly integrated jewel of a bouquet with gentle notes of earth and toasted wood spice, sprigs of herbs and a little floral perfume, and then shades of dark cherries and berries. Lovely. It was the palate that truly took my breath away though. This was a wine so comfortable in its exquisite quality and its hallowed position at the apex of Burgundy that it had no need to trumpet its own graces. It was subtle, gentle, but insistent, showing layer after layer of glowingly pure red cherries and blueberries seasoned with fragrant spice and a deep, gentle earthiness that led into neverendingly long finish that knitted together deeply integrated acidity and a gentle bite of the most velvety tannins. It had a reservoir of depth and power, yet the words that kept coming to mind were “harmony” and “purity”. A profound wine combining the perfumed elegance of Romanée St. Vivant with the strength of Richebourg, the generosity of La Tâche with the spicy masculinity of Echezeaux, all effortlessly melded into a zen-like completeness – this is the synthesis of everything Vosne-Romanée is supposed to be; so long, so quietly compelling that I was still savouring its imprint on the palate a full 30 minutes after we left the dinner. What struck me most was how seamless the wine was, it had a wholeness and singularity that perhaps only a great Musigny of all the other wines in Burgundy can achieve, yet this was wed here to a beautiful, weightless transparency that I have yet to taste in any Musigny. I feel extremely privileged to have shared in this wine; it is an experience that will live for a long, long time in the memory. On the night, this seemed ageless, already drinking well, yet feeling as though it will age effortless for decades to come.
Light pepper aroma initially. Long on the palate, medium to full bodied, good fruit, quite elegant, balanced and round with a silky texture. Other than that, not giving much. Tasted with AdV; wine provided by him, from the domaine.
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(DRC Romanee Conti) The last thing I remember drinking was a 2001 DRC Romanee Conti, an animal of a wine, so rich and so primary, fleshy, thick and mountainous in its personality. Beef blood, black fruits, leather and cedar were everywhere, but it was the sheer sap here that was most impressive, although it was very young to get a complete experience
(Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti) Unlike London, the bottles here consistently showed no ruby tones - virtually the same shade of medium, medium-plus cherry red as the other wines. Versus La Tâche there's more obvious spice that goes together with a melange of red and black fruits. Given time in the glass there's a higher-toned floral aspect. Sweet, concentrated palate that is a little understated, but continues to understate itself for over a minute on the finish! Slowly evolves a cedary aspect to the finish.
(Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti) In the tasting glass, this wine is a shade lighter in colour vs La Tâche, it's also the only wine in the line-up to show some ruby colour. The nose starts with a blast of fruit and spice - very much like La Tâche - but closes down much faster. A quarter of an hour with the glass yields a few more floral notes, and then something a little green that morphs into a cedary pencil-lead note. The palate is very round, without the initial fireworks of the La Tâche, in fact it's very understated. This is a wine that you could easily overlook after La Tâche and the RSV, but what sets it apart is the crystalline purity of fruit in the mid-palate and the faint but haunting finish. Very special
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