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The 2017 La Tâche Grand Cru is another of the more expressive wines in the range. It opens with striking mid-palate pliancy and also possesses a level of inner sweetness the other wines don’t have, and yet there is plenty of the tannic clout that defines the Richebourg as well. Time in the glass allows all of those elements to emerge fully, especially the aromatics that are such a La Tâche signature. Creamy, ample and wonderfully expressive, 2017 is superb today. I would cellar the 2017 for at least a few years, even if it is incredibly alluring right now. Harvest took place on September 6 and 7. ~96AG
The 2017 La Tâche Grand Cru was picked on September 6 and 7 at 34hl/ha and bottled between March 25 and April 24. As Aubert de Villaine had noted earlier, this is a more introverted La Tâche that bided its time in the glass. The fruit is slightly darker than the Romanée-Saint-Vivant, with the addition of a little blueberry and violet and background scents of moorland, though they needed 10–15 minutes in the glass before they revealed themselves. The medium-bodied palate delivers lithe tannins matched with a very fine line of acidity. This displays more body and grip than the Richebourg or Romanée-Saint-Vivant, and wondrous piquancy on the loamy finish. What it does not possess, unlike the previous two vintages, is a never-ending aftertaste. This La Tâche does its job but prefers not to hang around. Afford this four to five years. 2,082 cases produced. Tasted at Corney & Barrow’s annual in-bottle tasting in London. ~97VM
The 2017 La Tâche Grand Cru soars from the glass with a captivating and beautifully integrated bouquet of exotic spices, rose petals, raspberries, cherries and blood orange mingled with notions of cinnamon and coniferous forest floor. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, with a deep and tightly coiled core that marks it out as the most muscular wine in the cellar, displaying considerable concentration and largely concealed structure. While this is a dramatic young La Tâche, there's evidently plenty held in reserve, too, and it simply has appreciably more presence than any of the other wines that preceded it in this tasting.
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. ~96+ WA Neal Martin
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