The most important luxury wine brand in the world

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Acker Merrall & Condit

Domaine de la Romanée Conti is unquestionably the most important wine brand in the world. Collectors around the world vie and compete aggressively for the approximately 8,000 total cases of his eight extraordinary vineyard bottlings that are marketed and sold worldwide. “DRC” wines are invariably the crown jewels in any wine collection. They have an unbroken history of appreciating in value due to the confluence of growing global wealth, small quantities manufactured, and superb quality year after year. In fact, in 2017 alone, DRC wines grew by 30% in value collectively. Such returns are hard to come by, even for the world’s most successful hedge funds and financial advisors.

A brief story. The history of Domaine de la Romanée Conti dates back hundreds of years in the economic and political turmoil of France. What eventually became Domaine de la Romanée Conti changed hands and owners several times as political and economic circumstances swept through the 1600s until its birth as a single estate in 1869. It is the he year Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet bought the now legendary Romanée Conti vineyard, and the legend of the Domaine was officially born.

Incredible vineyards, rare bottles. The eight properties of the Domaine are extraordinary vineyards, cultivated and cared for over generations. The two most famous of these vineyards are undoubtedly Romanee Conti (also a vineyard itself) and La Tache. The DRC owns these vineyards in their entirety, known in French wine laws as “Monopole”. No one else can make these wines. The average annual production is only 400-500 cases for Romanée Conti and 1800-1900 cases for La Tache. The DRC also produces Richebourg, Romanée Saint Vivant, Grands Echezeaux, Echezeaux, Corton and Montrachet, the most revered white wine on Earth. As few as 250 cases of DRC Montrachet are released each year, and a mere 1500 cases on average of Romanee St. Vivant top the charts so to speak, with the others also few.

A little taste. I have had the extraordinary good fortune to taste hundreds of bottles of DRC-made wines, and I count many of them as the best wines I have ever tasted. In fact, the best wine I had was a bottle of 1945 RDC Romanee Conti. I also like 1971 DRC La Tache, one of their best vintages, which happens to be my year of birth. I hope you enjoy my tasting notes below, tasted on separate occasions.

“The [1945DRCRomanéeConti[1945RDCRomanéeConti lives up to the claim of being the best wine I’ve ever had. “WOW,” my notes began, “STILL AMAZING!” Both the 1923 and 1945 were warm, ripe vintages, and the 1945 even took the tannic intensity of the 1937 up a notch; there was more meat, more earth, more leather, more soy…more of everything. The palate was incredibly long, lingering like what I imagine to be a multiple orgasm. Big, rich, intense and hearty, the 1945 Romanee Conti is still the best wine I’ve ever had. (99+).

“It quickly improved, thanks to a Jeroboam of 1971 DRC La Taché. Big Boy had bought us this jero; it doesn’t get much better than that! 1971 is also my vintage, and I had the good pleasure of having this wine more or less fifteen times, and it rarely does less than astonish. This jero was no exception; it eventually ended up being the wine of the night for almost everyone. He had a fantastic nose, dusty at first and tight out of jero. Aromas of meat, oil, brown sugar, broth, and a hint of citrus all reminded me of familiar ground. It was so young, full of acidity, a fantastic wine with stone walls around its border, like any good Monopole should have. Autumn and broth flavors mixed with red fruits, citrus kisses and a light dressing. Big Boy is never one to be disappointed with his own bottles, but in this case, as often, he was right to say, ‘As flawless as ’71 La Tache gets.’ Tom Terrific said it was “the best bottle of wine he’s ever had,” and that was high praise from Tom. Let’s just say it wasn’t his first wine dinner. there was no doubt who was gonna run this town tonight (98+J).”

If you would like to learn more about DRC wines, feel free to email me at [email protected]

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Jean H. Vannatta