The 1991 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru, picked on October 4 at 21hl/ha, shows some ageing on the brick rim and juxtaposed against the 1996 it is paler in colour. However, the bouquet has exquisite transparency and precision, heavenly scents of strawberry pastille, rose petals, oyster shells and just a soupçon of something a little feral and animal. The palate is elegant and exquisitely defined, certainly one of the most effortless Romanée-Conti wines of the decade with an Oriental element on the finish. Interestingly the 1991 soars in the glass and eventually overtakes the most obvious 1990 (which is probably the only time that I will be able to write that sentence.) Tasted at the Romanée-Conti dinner at the Connaught Hotel.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2050
Robert Parker 92
The 1991 Romanée Conti Grand Cru was tasted at the same private dinner in Beaune with the 1978 and the awry 1966. Whilst I was totally smitten by the 1978, this 1991 did not quite engage the senses as I thought it would, writing as a big fan of the 1991 vintage. The aromatics are mute at first and you get the sense that it is holding everything back despite being over 20 years old and my rigorous swirling of the glass. Red berries and subtle undergrowth scents emerge, bay leaf. The palate is structured and a little rigid at the moment, hints of white pepper emerging with time, dusky red berry fruit, quite structured and masculine. Strangely I had fonder memories of the La Tâche 1991, drunk twice earlier this year. I could not quite engage with this Romanée-Conti as I did with the 1978. Perhaps that was just its showing on the day? I hope I get the opportunity to find out. Tasted November 2015.
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035
I have always loved the ’91 vintage and the DRC ’91s are nothing short of brilliant, indeed they are fully competitive with the domaine’s ’90s, a high compliment no matter one’s preference. An extremely pure and intensely floral nose that is just now beginning to offer up subtle notes of dried rose petal that typically occurs in RC at 10 to 15 years of age. The overall demeanor is decidedly understated at this point, indeed the impression is one of extreme youthfulness as the big if not robust flavors remain intense, powerful and mouth-coating with an underlying vibrancy and transparency that is wonderful to behold. It’s almost hard to believe that at 24 years of age the ’91 is very much still on the way up as the firm finish remains linear, cool and refined. In sum the ’91 RC is superbly classy and a wine of breathtaking beauty as well as one that will easily see its 50th birthday; personally, I wouldn’t touch a bottle for another six to 10 years. Brilliant and note that I have had consistent experiences with this wine.