The 2001 Montrachet Grand Cru from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is an outstanding white Burgundy, although juxtaposed against the ’99 Ramonet, I feel that it was always playing catch-up despite melioration with air. Clearly, it takes time to open, and I only begin penning my tasting note after two or three hours, for there is a mote of reduction. Eventually it reveals, almost reluctantly, scents of lemon zest, white peach, nectarine and a light wet limestone/petrichor aroma, although it never quite achieves the crystalline precision of the aforementioned Ramonet. The palate is beautifully balanced thanks to its nigh perfect acidity, and quite powerful in style, with a penetrating, tropical-tinged finish. So Ramonet took the gold medal, DRC silver and Leflaive bronze, but all three were winners.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2032
Aubert de Villaine: There are two sorts of DRC Montrachet: If the vintage has botrytis like this one, 2004 and 2008, they are good in the short term (20 years). Others such as 1985, 1986, 1996, 2003, 2005 and 2009, which have no botrytis, last for ever and keep their freshness. Mid to bright green gold. Broad and sweet with crème patissière. Masses of depth and lots evolution too. Very solid. Dry finish. Vibrant with real structure. Chef Alain Dutournier of Carré des Feuillants said it reminded him of wet stones. Robert Vifian of Tam Dinh suggested Marilyn Monroe, with which we all disagreed. Pamela de Villaine suggested her husband’s pin-up Ava Gardner. Very persistent and certainly very mineral. Very slightly austere but wonderfully long. A scond bottle served at the end of lunch with cheese just before the Yquem, was green, fresh and creamy.
Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020
Wonderfully pure and ripe white flower fruit aromas are framed by a deft touch of oak that merge seamlessly into racy, intense, superbly dense flavors that display a good deal more minerality than usual and the incredibly long finish has the grip of a red. While this is a very rich wine, it is perhaps a bit less opulent than usual and I actually quite like the sense of linearity and racy finishing acidity. In this sense, the wine quite reminds me of the incredible ’96.
Anticipated maturity: 2011-2021
Robert Parker 93
The Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s policy of late harvests for their Montrachet leads to forward, expressive wines with boisterously flavorful personalities. The 2001 was picked at 14% natural potential alcohol and reveals some hints of botrytis. Buttered toast, hazelnuts, and smoky spices are found in its aromatic profile. This plush, intense wine admirably combines muscular power with elegance. Light to medium-bodied, it is a fresh, delineated, spice-laden effort that is packed with pears and minerals. Drink it over the next 9-10 years. Concerning the 2001s, de Villaine, the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s co-director, stated that â€œit was not an easy year, it was a real roller coaster for vignerons. The estate’s vineyards, like everyone in Burgundy, had rot infestations so we did two harvests, one for the best, healthiest bunches and then another. Of course, we meticulously sorted all the fruit as we always do.â€ Those readers who are always looking for news concerning the next vintage will be interested to hear the following. Unlike almost all his colleagues who said that 2002 was going to be a spectacular vintage, de Villaine informed me that it would â€œanother irregular year.â€ Importer: Wilson-Daniels, St. Helena, CA; tel. (707) 963-9661
Anticipated maturity: 2003-2013