In June, the Swedish importer Vinunic again arranged a tasting of the current vintage from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which meant the 2012 vintage. DRC, as they are commonly known, is a well-known Burgundy producer that is widely considered to produce some of the best wines in the world. The same type of tasting was held last year, then with the 2011 vintage, and three years ago with the 2009 vintage. It was a pleasant surprise that the importer did do a tasting of the 2012s, because the production volume is painfully small.
Summing up my impression of the 2012s
In general terms, the 2012 Burgundy vintage shows rather much similarity to 2010, meaning that they possess good (but not excessive) ripeness of fruit combined with a good level of acidity providing freshness, and are generally of a pure character. On the margin, 2012 is not quite as outstanding as 2010, and the wines are perhaps not quite as consistent in style and quality as that vintage. However, the examples I have tasted this year have come across as more 2010-like compared to those I came across last year.
The 2012s from DRC follow this pattern quite nicely, and remind me a lot of the 2010 DRCs while they differ quite a lot from the firmer, somewhat leaner and less accessible 2011 vintage. This means that we’re talking of fabulously elegant and well-balanced wines with noticeable minerality that possess quite a lot of charm right now, but that also have quite a lot of cellaring potential.
Only in the case of La Tâche have I tasted the 2012 and the 2010 against each other, but I have the impression that the “simpler” 2012 – Corton och Échézeaux – fully perform on the level of the 2010s, while the “heavier” 2012s – Richebourg, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, and La Tâche – are just behind the 2010s, but only by a neck.
By the way, not Vosne-Romanée 1er cru was produced by DRC in the 2012 vintage.
Nose with ripe cherries, violets and other flowery notes, discrete notes of liquorice as well as some musk and truffle. An elegant nose. Palate with ripe cherries, noticeable acidity, good concentration of berries, powerful minerality, smooth tannins, and a long mineral-dominated aftertaste with cherries. Young, 93(+) p.
A very elegant, smidig and mineral-driven Corton that showed more complexity with time in the glass. More tannins than the Échézeaux.
Nose with ripe cherries and ripe strawberries, perfumed notes, spice, hints of herbaceous and stalky notes, as well as animal notes and musk. A quite elegant nose. Palate with cherries, powerful and dominating minerality, good acidity, rather light and smooth tannins. Fine concentration and complexity. Young, quite elegant, 94+/95(+) p.
Displays more traditional stalky and animal notes that I didn’t find in the Corton, and also shows more depth. The difference between the two comes across as more obvious with time in the glass.
2012 Grands Échézeaux
Nose with ripe cherries, spices, violets, perfume, some musk, hints of liquorice, the lightest touch of stalky notes, elegant. Palate with cherries, powerful minerality, good concentration, noticeable minerality, smooth but noticeable tannns. Young, 95+ p.
In the nose it is rather similar to the Échézeaux but slightly more spicy and heavier. On the palate it is slightly darker and more concentrated, with slightly more noticeable tannins, on approximately the same level as the Corton.
Nose with noticeable minerality, ripe dark cherries, violets, some hyacinth?, rather pronounced perfume notes, some spice, and liquorice. Definitely elegant! The palate shows enormous minerality together with cherries, fine acidity, some spice notes, smooth tannins, a flowery and perfumed impression, and smooth and mineral-dominated aftertaste. Young, 96+ p.
Slightly more elegant and mineral-dominated than the rest. A very charming and increadibly elegant wine!
Nose with ripe strawberies and cherries, rather prominent spice notes, some orange zest, liquorice, violets and perfume, as well as minerality. Palate with dark cherries, noticeable spice, minerality, rather noticeable but very smooth tannins, good acidity, long aftertaste with spices, cherries, and some tannin. Young and needs time, but is reasonably approachable now, 96+ p.
Somewhat spicier and heavier than the previous wines, reminds me of a more powerful version of the Échézeaux and Grands Échézeaux, and is less similar to the Romanée-Saint-Vivant.
2012 La Tâche
Nose with ripe cherries, quite noticeable minerality, some orange zest, spice, liquorice, musk, flowery notes and perfume, some barnyard aromas, and hints of stalky notes. Perhaps the wine showing the most typical DRC notes of them all, as well as quite elegant. Palate with cherries, powerful concentration, massive minerality, good acidity, perfume, and smooth tannins. Young and elegant, 97(+) p.
As often is the case with La Tâche, it combines the character of Romanée-Saint-Vivant and Richebourg, but is one notch better. This time I’d say its more similar to the Romanée-Saint-Vivant than the Richebourg, but with more power.
This was a tasting with two bottles of each wine, and on this day the cork devil was nasty enough to strike at one of the La Tâche bottles! Our hosts had a couple of hours to find a replacement, but couldn’t produce a second bottle, so we had to settle for half the amount in our La Tâche glasses. To compensate for this, a bottle of 2010 La Tâche was generously pulled out from a secret reserve, i.e., was also tasted in a smaller amount:
2010 La Tâche
Lighter colour than the 2012. A big nose with strawberries, cherries, quite noticeable minerality, some stalky notes, musk, slightly developed notes with hints of decaying leaves, very elegant. Palate with ripe strawberries and cherries, massive minerality (more than the 2012), enormous concentration, fine acidity, rather noticeable but still very smooth tannins (more than in the 2012), and a long aftertaste rich in minerality together with berry notes. Rather young but with some development, enormously elegant, 98+ p.
A fabulously elegant wine, and in fact slightly more mineral-dominated and elegant than the marvelous 2012. The 2010 hadn’t “gone hiding” in a “dumb phase”, and was more open for business than I had eexpected. As a comparison, here is a description of a tasting of the 2010 DRCs when they were recently released.