2017 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru

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Reviews

The 2017 Grands-Echézeaux Grand Cru is a pretty big step up in this range, both in terms of depth, power and energy. Here the flavors are dark, while there is quite a bit of tannin lurking beneath. Black cherry, graphite, leather, smoke, spice and menthol infuse the 2017 with tons of virile, somber character. Readers will have to be very patient. A whole range of sepia-toned aromas and flavors shrouded in tannin add depth to an imposing Grands-Echézeaux built for cellaring. Harvest was on September 12. ~96AG

More brooding and reserved than the Échézeaux that preceded it in the tasting, the 2017 Grands Échézeaux Grand Cru unwinds in the glass with an enticing bouquet of cassis, blackberries, blood orange, exotic spices and musk. On the palate, it's full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with a more introverted, structured profile than the Échézeaux, its considerable reserves of concentrated fruit framed by an abundance of powdery tannin and succulent acids. Long and penetrating, this will reward sustained bottle age. The Grands Échézeaux was picked on September 12.

The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti's 2017s are showing brilliantly from bottle, and this tasting with Bertrand de Villaine was one of the absolute high points of my two months of visits along the Côte d'Or. While barrel tasting is informative, there is no substitute for tasting finished wines in bottle—especially at an estate such as the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, where élevage is quite long and the wines are allowed to take their time—and spending an hour or two with full glasses of wines such as these is not merely of immense professional interest but, I admit, a source of great personal pleasure. Bertrand de Villaine observed that the development of the 2017s in barrel and in bottle has been "reassuring," as the wines have gained in depth and profundity despite a vintage that marks the domaine's most generous yield since 2009—despite the domaine's spring debudding, its low-yielding vine selections and the high average age of its vines. Revisited in bottle, the wines show even better than they did from barrel, and it is clear that this is a vintage that will give immense pleasure to anyone able to secure a few bottles. Hauntingly aromatic, structurally supple and pungently intense, this vintage will drink well younger than both its 2016 and 2015 predecessors, but it is much closer in quality to those two vintages than I perceived 12 months ago. At the end of our tasting, the group spent some time discussing possible analogies, and the comparison I found the most compelling is with the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti's 1985 vintage. Indeed, I had drunk a superb 1985 Grands-Echézeaux from the domaine over dinner with a good friend a few days before my visit, and the similarities in overall balance between the two vintages were strikingly apparent as I tasted through the young 2017s. The domaine's 2017 Montrachet also merits special comment, as it is a magical wine built for the ages. ~94+ WA Neal Martin

The 2017 Grands Echézeaux Grand Cru was picked at 41hl/ha on September 12 and bottled on May 21 and 23, 2019. Given 10–15 minutes to open, it is clearly richer on the nose compared to its petit frère, revealing hints of kirsch, red currant and orange pith and subtle loamy aromas. The palate is medium-bodied, with suppler tannins than the Echézeaux and hints of wild mint, freshly rolled tobacco and a touch of spice toward the harmonious finish, which fans out effortlessly; it is perhaps less grippy than the 2015. This is an open “G.E.” since it can often be difficult to read just after bottling. It will give enormous pleasure over the next two decades. 1,290 cases produced. Tasted at Corney & Barrow’s annual in-bottle tasting in London.~94VM