Leroy versus DRC Burgundy Tasting at WWWB

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 07:30 PM

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"Nothing makes the future look so rosy as to contemplate it through a glass of Chambertin."
- Napoleon Bonaparte


Two of Burgundy's elite will face off this evening!  This will be a "Once in a Lifetime" tasting to remember!!  But we try to make them all great tastings and memorable experiences for our “Wine Drinking People”!  To be able to taste 8 wines from these two domaines on the same table is a unique and truly a “Once in a Lifetime” experience but this is the second one of these tastings that we have hosted this year after picking up these in a large collection.
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October is a month full of great tastings with three back to back to back “Once in a Lifetime” tasting we start out the week with the Wines of Angelo Gaja and White truffles on Wednesday night and Friday we have our annual California cult tasting featuring Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Bryant and more.  Remember we stop hosting events at the end of November so we have to get two months of tastings squeezed into the month of October.

We will close the Wine Bar in December and only be open for private parties so if you want to come to one of our events this year, check out the calendar of events for the next two months as these events usually sell out quickly.

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Leroy versus DRC Burgundy Tasting at WWWB
Thursday, October 5, 2017
7:30 PM
Leroy Ruchottes Chambertin 1985.jpg
1985 Maison Leroy Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru

(94 points) The 1985 Leroy Ruchottes-Chambertin is a classic example of a grand cru from the Gevrey-Chambertin appellation. The color is still very dark ruby, and the bouquet has just begun to release secondary aromas of grilled meats, leather, and baked red and black fruits. The high tannin levels may cause some to think the wine is rustic and rough-edged, but there is sensational concentration of fruit, a deep mid-palate, and a spectacular, long, opulent, tannic finish. The wine is still too young to be enjoyed, and can be safely cellared for another 20-25 years. (12/1992) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Image result for 1990 Domaine Leroy Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
1990 Domaine Leroy Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
Price: $2895.00  Sale $2547.60
(96 points)The magnificent 1990 Clos de Vougeot is medium-to-dark ruby-colored and offers a nose of waxy red cherries. Big, broad, and medium-to-full-bodied, it has satin-textured black cherries and spices that seemingly last forever in its interminable finish. This wine has great harmony, equilibrium, and balance. (10/2000) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Image result for 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
Price: $1595.00  Sale $1403.06
Quantity in Stock: 2

(96-98 Points) The DRC's Romanee St.-Vivant is a tough wine to evaluate. I found the 1990 to have a pervasive earthy, cinnamon, clove, sweet fruit-scented nose intermingled with scents of spicy new oak. Although closed, the wine exhibits great depth, medium to full body, and copious quantities of hard tannins in the long, structured, austere finish. It requires a patient buyer. Anticipated maturity: 1999-2015.  The Wine Advocate
Image result for 1995 Domaine De La Romanee Conti Romanee St Vivant Grand Cru
1995 Domaine De La Romanee Conti Romanee St Vivant Grand Cru
(93 points) Unctuous, showing delicious fruit and terroir character. Almost delicate, but also full-bodied, rich and ripe, with attractive rose petal, plum, black cherry and currant character. So ripe, it's almost hot on the finish, but still a lovely, velvety wine. Best after 2005. “PM Issue: Aug 31, 1998
Image result for 1998 Domaine De La Romanee Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru
1998 Domaine De La Romanee Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru

Of all Domaine's wines, it is the most forward, the least complex, It opens out before the others with a ravishing clarity of expression, uncomplicated and cleanly etched;  a caressing softness  cloaks a steely skeleton which permits it to evolve with elegance. He is the younger brother of Grands-Echézeaux, the glorious eldest whose fortune Echézeaux aspires to equal. It sometimes comes very close when it speaks the muscular language of the conquistadors.
Image result for 2000 Domaine De La Romanee Conti Romanee St Vivant Grand Cru
2000 Domaine De La Romanee Conti Romanee St Vivant Grand Cru
Price: $1575.00  Sale $1386

At this early point, there was virtually no difference between this bottle and the 750 ml, the review of which is: Brooding, backward and quite a bit more reserved and less expressive with subtly spicy black fruit aromas trimmed by a subtle hint of oak and followed by restrained, pure, gorgeously sappy and harmonious, completely seductive flavors that offer the best delineation of any of these wines. This is extraordinarily fine and detailed with length that lasts and lasts. Though this will undoubtedly add weight and complexity, it will likely always be understated and refined rather than powerful. This is a simply sublime combination of spice, silk and velvet delivered in a perfect sphere of impeccable balance. Incredible by any standard but especially so for the vintage. Tasted: Mar 05, 2005 Score: 91 Drink: Try from 2020+ in this format Burghound
Image result for 2007 Domaine Leroy Latricieres Chambertin Grand Cru
2007 Domaine Leroy Latricieres Chambertin Grand Cru
Price: $2150.00  Sale $1892
Quantity in Stock: 5
Latricières-Chambertin is a 7.4 hectare parcel of vines found south of Chambertin on shallow stony soil. It is therefore very easy to reach the limestone rock layer beneath. The name 'Latricières' comes from the latin latericium 'slope' which alludes to the slope of the land favourable to vine-growing. Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru has characteristics similar to that of Chambertin but it is a lighter style of wine. The history of the cru suggests it began to be cultivated in 1508, and its name means "the small miracle".
Image result for 2007 Domaine Leroy Nuits St. Georges Aux Allots
2007 Domaine Leroy Nuits St. Georges Aux Allots
Price: $425.00    Sale $374.00

Tuna Carpaccio with black truffle
Cog Au Vin Stuffed with Veal demi Glaze

This event is $995 + tax per person there are only 12 seats available.

Probably one of the most sought after wines by collectors of fine Burgundies are the wines of Domaine De La Romanée Conti (also called simply DRC).  They carry a sort of mystique about them that you only find in collectibles such as a Picasso, or a Rembrant- things that only an elite few can afford to own and even fewer really appreciate.  

Talk of Lafite or Mouton or the upstart Petrus pales in significance when one considers that this precious piece of earth was a sacred spot five centuries before the first words were ever written about claret.  Consider, for example, the significance of that crisp, fall day in 1241 when the landscape was red with the color of wine, and the air was laden with the smell of it.  The monks gathered in their Abbey at the Vosne and decided to sell the vineyard of Romanée-Conti.  They had owned it for almost 200 years and it was a monumental event when it returned to private hands.  Over the ensuing centuries, inheritance laws and the wave of anti-clericism that followed the French Revolution caused the great growths of Burgundy to be divided into a thousand meager plots.  So sacred was the vineyard of Romanée-Conti, that it never once sub-divided through nine changes of ownership.

The vineyard was once called La Romanée until it was purchased by the Prince de Conti in 1760.  De Conti acquired the vineyard only after a great struggle.  The other contestant was King Louis the Fourteenth’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour.  The prince held a banquet to celebrate the acquisition; underscoring the significance of the event was the fact that it was attended by figures such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau; even a very young Mozart was there to play the harpsichord.  When the Conti fled France during the revolution, Romanée-Conti changed hands several more times – among its owners was Napoleon’s banker.

Today’s proprietors, the Leroys and the De Villaines, have run the Domaine jointly since 1942.  After an emotional power struggle, Aubert De Villaine, who has co-managed the Domaine for 19 years, has emerged from the shadows of the ubiquitous and flamboyant Madame Bize Leroy (who was booted out by the De Villaines and other members of the Leroy family for alleged conflicts of interest).

Many critics, in describing these wines, talk of the continuity of house style and the winemaking genius of the Domaine.  The quietly purposeful Aubert De Villaine takes a little credit for the greatness of these wines.  He speaks of the “genius of the terroir” and of the Domaine’s efforts to keep the winemaking as simple and natural as possible.  American viticulturists may think they have a corner on organic farming, but De Villaine notes that the Domaine’s wines are 100 percent organic.  There are no sprays or pesticides used in the vineyard.  Although De Villaine pays homage to technology and talks of clonal research, he stresses that everything is done to ensure as little manipulation of the wine is done as possible.  Except for the 100 percent new oak, which is used with every one of the Domaine’s wines and the fact that as of 1995 the wines are no longer bottled by barrel (which critics claimed caused bottle variation), one gets the impression that things are done much in the same manner as they were 100 years ago.  De Villaine is succinct:  “There is more to be learned in what not to do than there is in what to do.  Nothing is more difficult than to be simple”.

There are some wine writers that feel there is somewhat of a secret when it comes to the wines of this fabled estate.  Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate has stated that the Domaine’s use of lightly toasted François Frères barrels (the preferred source for most of the great estates of the Côte d’Or), which are air dried for three years prior to use, could have something to do with it.  However, Bernard Noblet, the cellar master, has assured that they are neither steam cleaned nor are they rubbed with any special ointments as speculation has suggested. 

La Tâche is entirely owned by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, a fact that makes it a "monopole."  The domaine has exclusive rights on a second vineyard -- the grand cru Romanee-Conti itself.  It's almost joined at the hip with La Tache; they are within a stone's throw of one another. And just like the great grands crus from the Côte d'Or, Burgundy's "golden slope," both vineyards are well-drained and exposed to the east-southeast; both tilt down gently on the hillside toward the stone walls surrounding Vosne-Romanee.  This village lies in the center of the Cote de Nuits, and its grands crus are the sirloin cut of red Burgundy country: no sinewy tannins, just a marbling of smooth texture.  The wines made here are famous for their spicy, perfumy nose, highlighted by cinnamon and earthy notes that rely more on spices than red or black fruits.


Here is what a few of the critics have said about Leroy:

"In her wines, Lalou seeks a magnified delineation of flavors. Each wine offers a kaleidoscope of sensation, each of which is distinct from the other with no blurring or muddiness. Because of this, it is virtually impossible to mistake one vineyard for another in a Domaine Leroy wine. Lalou seeks a degree of purity, allied to extraordinary concentration, that is almost unmatched by any other producer." - Matt Kramer, LA Times

"Her wines are exactly what they should be as expressions of the terroirs from which they come." - Robert Finigan

"I have said it so many times that it may seem redundant, but " let me repeat it- Lalou Bize-Leroy stands alone at the top of Burgundy’s quality hierarchy. Because she is a perfectionist, and because she has the courage to produce wines from low yield and bottle them naturally, without fining or filtration." - Robert Parker


A bit of History about Maison/Domaine Leroy:

More than a century ago, in 1868, Francois Leroy founded Maison Leroy in Auxey-Duresses, a small village in Burgundy near Meursault. Throughout the years, Leroy has remained a traditional family business. LaLou Bize-Leroy joined the family business in 1955. With great devotion and a lot of work, through constant tastings, she undertook to understand the essential characteristics of each terroir from each vineyard of Burgundy. For Leroy she searches unceasingly to purchase the best.

As a result Leroy cellars a prestigious inventory, which led Jacques Puisais, famous oenologist and great connoisseur, to write "here we are at the Louvre Museum . These are cultural moments about wine and its language. It is a place of reference for great works of the vine." Additionally, Leroy was the distributor of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti wines until January 1st 1992. The Leroy family still owns 50% of the shares.

The wines of Domaine Leroy are produced through the bio-dynamic method. This method prohibits the use of all chemicals, including weed killers, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, moreover it reintroduces the importance of the knowledge of the earth’s cycles and essential cosmic rhythms throughout the year. In short, every effort is made to extract the quintessence from the grapes.

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