The 2016 Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, picked on September 27–28 at 27hL/ha, has a heavenly, perfumed nose of blackberry, briar, wet limestone, incense and pressed iris flowers, displaying much more fruit intensity than the Corton alongside. There are subtle graphite notes that develop with aeration – the old-school pencil box, though it is never more than a fleeting suggestion. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and quite rounded in the mouth, and that graphite tincture builds toward the second half. I adore the energy and balletic poise of this Romanée-Saint-Vivant as it deftly fans out toward the finish, exerting grip, but with the softest of touches, and offering deceiving weight and depth. A wine that exudes panache and sophistication. 1,304 cases produced. Tasted at Corney & Barrow’s annual in-bottle tasting in London.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2050
Vines aged 38 years. 27 hl/ha. Harvested 27-28 September, bottled early March 2018. 1,304 dozen produced. Very slightly redder in colour than the Corton. It smells cooler too, with more whole-bunch freshness at first. Here it’s the fruit and herby freshness that sings and much less spice than on the Corton. Less exotic and more ‘Nordic’ in its purity. The fruit aroma and flavour is redder too, not strawberry but in that direction. The flavour is sweet on the palate even though the wine is bone dry and the sweetness is undercut by the effect of the very slight whole-bunch austerity. The tannins are incredibly fine but not yet smoothed out, adding to the extreme freshness and purity. Tightly wound, the fruit and woodland freshness go on and on. Odd as it may sound, it seems to get more dense in your mouth after it has gone. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2040
Robert Parker 95
The 2016 Romanee-St-Vivant Grand Cru is super, bursting from the glass with a kaleidoscopic bouquet of potpourri, red berries, cassis, peony and rose petal. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and fine-boned, with tangy acids, superb concentration and an ample chassis of powdery structuring tannins, concluding with a long, fragrant finish. This is a Romanee-St-Vivant that exemplifies the intensity without the weight that distinguishes the Domaine’s best wines, and it equals the fabulous 2015 rendition.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2060
In contrast to the expressiveness of the prior three wines, this is reduced to the point that little of the nose beyond a discreet spiciness is discernible. Otherwise there is a highly refined mouthfeel to the almost lacy yet concentrated middle weight flavors that possess first-rate complexity on the balanced and wonderfully persistent finish. This is class in a glass with its emphasis on finesse which is quite different from the robust power and punch of the Grands Ech and Richebourg.