Vosne-Romanee is competing for the most expensive wine real estate in the world. Difficult to get bad red Burgundy wine from anyone in this distinguished terroir. In fact it has arguably the two best vineyards on the whole globe in La Romanee-Conti & La Tache both a monopoly of the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – often referred to as DRC. Therefore it was with great anticipation (like Carly Simon “I was thinkin’ about how right tonight might be” but in a different context) that your scribe attended a dinner at Cinara in Vancouver on November 29, 2016 celebrating 10 vintages of Vosne-Romanee Malconsorts 1er Cru from Moillard. That house has been a major player in the region under a variety of confusing names: starting in 1848 as first Moillard-Grivot, Thomas+Moillard family since 1850, followed by Maison Moillard & Domaine Moillard, Domaine Thomas-Moillard, and Domaine Charles-Thomas (major contributor to the Moillard brand for 70 years). Key large parcel of vines next to La Tache was bought from Ligier-Belair in 1933 and later sold off in 2005 to Dujac & de Montille (their first vintages 2009). My anticipation was rewarded with some outstanding bottles from particularly the top vintages of 1999 and 1985 but of course as expected there was quite a bit of bottle variation.
Vertical of Vosne-Romanne Malconsorts 1er Cru:
2003: Two different labels tasted – Domaine Moillard & Domaine Charles-Thomas. Hot year with some raisin-like grapes though old vines fared better but sometimes have drier tannins. Moillard negociant label showed darker, bigger, coarser and more rustic while Charles-Thomas preferred with much lighter colour of more delicacy yet with luscious complex elegance. Well done for the hotter vintage conditions.
2002: Domaine Charles-Thomas. Not that hot but dry summer resulted in early charm. Remember it was generally a terrible European vintage with Fall rains except for the surprising rain avoidance in Burgundy. Solid drinking well and sweet with duck confit tortellini, ragu & reggiano.
2001: Domaine Charles-Thomas. Wet summer with heat spikes resulted in variable difficult conditions in which to make delicate wines but helped by selection and lower yields. Here surprisingly Vosne-Romanee classy on a lovely plateau with some drier finishing tannins.
1999: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Exceptional Burgundy year combining power + charm with ripe grapes yet superb balance. Brilliant showing by best bottles and no rush to consume them. Two bottles seemed overly herbal and dirty earth and not at the same level.
1998: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Good colour from the thick skins but tougher style could still develop.
1997: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Earlier drinking style that is smooth charming and ready to enjoy now. At a vertical tasting/dinner 15 years earlier on November 30, 2001 Comte Olivier de Mesnil du Boisson Export Director of Moillard stated that their wines show “finesse” especially with food and that even then this same 1997 showed so much “smoother” than their 1998.
1996: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Opposite of 1997 with slow maturing high acidity fruit. Still rather tart but vintage often shows improvement each time I try it.
1995: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Reduced crop that was backwardly austere early on but have gained substance and body in bottle. Some tannins left but drinking deliciously right now – especially paired with beef shortrib, wild mushrooms. potato pave & carrot.
1993: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Healthy crop of grapes with lovely fruit showing some charm. Under-rated year with a lot of style and expressive Malconsorts quality.
1985: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Luckily I had the opportunity to collect and enjoy drinking more of this vintage of Burgundy than any other. Never disappoints from initial charming release to presently. More maturity with 30+ years results in supreme delight here from this top terroir. So fragrant and smooth silky textures. Sublime. Unfortunately one bottle was corked. Textbook endorsement for the appellation and the Moillard house. Hopefully the 1999 will develop to this level and beyond.
Have you tried a wine from Vosne-Romanee? Impressed?
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