Robert Parker 95-97
The 2014 Romanée St Vivant Grand Cru has a pure bouquet as you would expect, an equal mixture of red and black fruit, but infused with cold stone, wet limestone scents. This is beautifully focused. The palate is very well balanced with superb density, almost Richebourg-like in style, here veering towards dark red fruit — cranberry, wild strawberry and a touch of brown spice towards the supremely focused and long finish. Sophisticated and precise, this is a Romanée-Saint-Vivant that will rivet you to your seat. The dogs were yapping away when I rang the doorbell chez Leroy in Vosne. I think they recognize me now, know my smell. Stranger danger? No, it’s just Neal. And behind them came their owner, Lalou-Bize-Leroy, still as fit as a fiddle and full of energy, flanked by her loyal assistant Frédéric. Pleasantries done, we made our now ritualistic descent in the lift, dogs in tow, down into the caves to taste through her 2014s. Instantly I saw that they cellar was occupied by a few more barrels than last year, the yields a tad higher at a still very modest 21 hectoliters per hectare. Lalou told me that July and August was rather poor in terms of the weather, but matters improved after August 15 and that she ended up picking from September 17. “I like the 2014s a lot. They are very ‘jolie’,” she tells me, flitting between barrels, making sure that each is not too reduced before giving the nod to pour into my glass. “But the 2014s are different to the 2013s. They were more ‘gentile.’ I find these a little more tannic than the 2013s, with very good acidity levels. The pH was around 3.30. I find the very precise with lovely fruit.” Lalou traditionally bottles earlier than her peers and she told me that she intends to bottle in December. Though there was some reduction to overcome, it is clear that the 2014s represent a very fine vintage for the domaine and I found the wines as Lalou described, full of energy and nervousness, precise and mineral-driven, not overtly powerful wines but with what you might call “streamlined intensity” — and often deliriously silky-smooth textures. No doubt there will be difficultly to find and warrant a second mortgage, but these are seriously fine expressions of the vintage crafted by a one-off who truly deserves the title of ‘legend.’ As you expect, these are wines that, like Lalou, are full of energy despite the reduction that one inevitably encounters out of barrel. They are very terroir-specific, perhaps not abiding by the Burgundy hierarchy as much as other vintages; that is to say, some of the premier crus I thoughts ranked equal to the grand crus and vice versa. The grands crus are exceptional, especially the Richebourg, which ranks as one of the finest 2014s that I tasted. This is closely followed by the Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Musigny and Chambertin, incidentally the latter augmented by a new acquisition that the domaine are currently converting to biodynamic viticulture. Some of the village crus are truly wonde
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040
The 2014 Romanée St. Vivant is a bit reduced today, but it possesses striking depth and density. This is an especially dark, dense RSV, and yet there is plenty of underlying grip. Readers will have to be especially patient, as the 2014 does not appear like it will drink at its best anytime soon. A finish endowed with substantial tannin and high acidity only reinforces that impression.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2044
A positively kaleidoscopic nose features restrained Vosne-style spice and a beautiful range of floral elements on the black fruit, sandalwood and Asian-style tea aromas. By contrast the elegant and refined flavors are a good deal more reserved that are like silk on the mid-palate though the hugely long and moderately finish tightens up in a real rush. Somewhat unusually at this early stage, this is actually a bit less complex than the Richebourg though I would expect that to change with extended bottle aging. In short, this is a classic RSV.