DRC shares in Burgundy shortfall

31st January, 2013 by Gabriel Stone

Domaine de la Romanée Conti showed its 2010 vintage in London this week against a backdrop of plummeting supply in the years ahead.

DRC, Corney & BarrowNoting that 2010 yields were “one third less than in 2009”, DRC’s co-owner Aubert de Villaine told the drinks business that his Burgundy estate produced “hardly 5,000 cases” that year.

Whereas yields at DRC in 2009 were 30-32 hectolitres per hectare in 2009, in 2010 this fell to 24-25hl/ha, with the most recent 2012 vintage smaller still at just 17-18hl/ha.

In addition to the role of the weather in this shortfall, de Villaine acknowledged the impact of viruses such as esca, as well as fungal challenges like botrytis. “It is a problem,” he admitted, but added: “You have to fight with the right weapons and that is where being organic or biodynamic is useful.”

Despite the challenge these issues present, firstly in the vineyard and then later when the estate’s strict allocations are set, de Villaine gave these “enemies” a positive spin.

“Everything you lose is also an effect of quality,” he remarked. “It’s a natural thinning that gives more concentration to what is left.”

Offering his own summary of the estate’s character in 2010, a vintage which won high acclaim across Burgundy, de Villaine noted: “Both the structure – the acid and the tannin – is more obvious than ‘09 and at the same time there is a certain sweetness that shows the maturity of the grapes.”

A recent run of good quality vintages from Burgundy has helped fuel what Adam Brett-Smith, managing director of Corney & Barrow, DRC’s UK agent, as “massive” interest in the region from customers.

Remaining tight-lipped on the size of Corney & Barrow’s own allocation of DRC, Brett-Smith confirmed only that the merchant receives the second largest in the world.

With many UK merchants confirming the growing pressure of demand on diminishing Burgundy allocations, Brett-Smith outlined Corney & Barrow’s own approach to easing this situation. “We’re getting more top producers – you need to broaden the church,” he commented.

However, with so many merchants chasing a relatively small bunch of producers, Brett-Smith admitted: “The buying role is becoming a selling role.”

Describing this changing relationship between merchant and producer, he explained: “You’re selling them the chance of working with you, but they know they could work with dozens of people and by nature they are very conservative.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Glenfarclas
Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

Stilnovisti
London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

ABVGlobal
London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Editorial Assistant

Wine List Confidential
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more