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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti releases ‘awesome’ 2020 vintage

While other Burgundy producers have been releasing their 2021s over the last few weeks, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti has just launched its “awesome” and “unique” 2020 vintage following a sampling in London yesterday.

Attracting around 100 members of the UK wine trade and press, where three bottles of each of the producer’s prized wines were opened for sampling, the first tasting of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 2020s was conducted on Thursday morning by its exclusive UK agent, Corney & Barrow.

Commenting on the wines from 2020 in a report on the harvest, co-owner of the domaine, Aubert de Villaine, said that he expected the vintage “to find a special place among the great successes of recent years: it is unique, an original.”

Indeed, writing about the 2020 Burgundies in the tasting booklet, Corney & Barrow managing director Adam Brett-Smith said that the latest release was “arguably the most beautiful” of a “fabulous trio – 2018, 2019 and 2020.”

Speaking about the vintage conditions, he recorded that flowering took place in “fine conditions”, and the summer “was hot and dry” – and not as “ferociously hot during August as 2019”.

With the grapes “maturing at extraordinary speed”, picking began at the domaine with the youngest vines on 18 August, with the older vines from 23 – the same start-date as in the heat-wave 2003 vintage.

According to Brett-Smith, “the grapes were magnificent: small, thick-skinned, intense, sweet and perfectly healthy”, while yields “were average, which was a pleasant surprise.”

While the domaine may have been expecting the wines from 2020 to have an “opulently dense style” like the 2019s, Brett-Smith notes that the latest releases are “unquestionably powerful”, but with “a purity, precision and freshness that is astonishing.”

He suggested that this combination of characters may have resulted from changes to viticultural techniques at the famous producer following a series of hot summers – such as heightening the canopy in 2018 to provide a greater shading of the bunches. Consequently, he said that 2020 “marks a new era for the domaine and its finessing of the climatic movements of the past 20 years.”

Concluding, he wrote, “Whatever, it is an awesome vintage.”

Information on the wines – including production figures – can be seen below. Prices of the 2020 release range from £1,185 per case of 3 for the Corton to £3,870 for a single bottle of Romanée-Conti, with prices in bond, UK.

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