Assortment (L&W), Grand Cru, DRC
RC – Like many 2002s at five years of age, this is really beginning to close up and become a good deal less expressive. Vigorous swirling however coaxes a superbly detailed if reluctant nose of dried rose petals, kirsch and plenty of spice elements. The medium weight plus flavors are taut, focused, very backward, powerful and punchy and like the nose, blessed with seriously impressive detail and layer after layer of sappy extract and incredible depth. Impeccably balanced with a certain tenderness here with tannins that are sophisticated and quite fine with the classic Romanée-Conti character of an almost spiritual sense of harmony. Though it will need a lot of time, this will become a great vintage for Romanée-Conti. LT – This is very reserved though determined swirling reveals a nose that is exceptionally fine and pure with fantastic aromatic detail and an almost diaphanous transparency of expression that reveals all of the kaleidoscopic La Tâche spice box nose, including anise, clove, plums, high-toned black cherry, crushed red raspberry and more. The broad, expansive and powerful flavors are quite strict on the mid-palate with massive depth yet the finish is round, generous, sappy and superbly complex with a finish that lasts for minutes. Despite the aromatic fireworks and opulent character, there is an underlying tenderness here that suggests that this will be approachable relatively early but the balance is so fine that this should easily age for 30 years, perhaps longer. RIC – This is pungently floral with fresh rose notes nuanced by intense red fruits and a deep, wonderfully attractive plumy hint followed by powerfully spiced lavors that offer impeccable balance and real muscle plus a sappy, palate staining finish. The tannins are extremely fine in this vintage and there is a lovely suppleness to the mid-palate without its usual robustness; in fact, there is a pretty textured quality to the structure. This is not to suggest that there isn`t plenty of vigor and intensity here, only that this is decidedly more refined than usual, which makes it all the classier. RSV – Highly aromatic, indeed almost kaleidoscopic in the sheer breadth of aromas but it`s the spice that is so remarkable. The flavors are quite fine with beautiful detail and a drop dead gorgeous velvety texture that is soft in the middle yet quite firm on the terrifically long finish. The overall character here is rather discreet and understated and while there is plenty of character, it`s clear that this is built along the lines of elegance and finesse rather than the robust power and punch of the Grands Echézeaux. Moreover, it has put on weight since it was bottled and while it`s not quite as good as the `01, it`s not far off. GE – Sweet, pure and completely classic mostly red pinot fruit aromas are enhanced by subtle nuances of floral notes, damp earth, underbrush and even a hint of game. The big, muscular but utterly refined flavors are superbly intense, reserved and backward supported by remarkably sophisticated tannins and stunning length. This is a very concentrated wine of real breed and impeccable balance that should age for 3 decades, perhaps longer. The transparency is better in the 2001 but there is a bit more mid-palate concentration in the 2002. A choice, qualitatively speaking. ECH – Deep ruby. This too is very spicy and even more aromatically expressive revealing linear, taut, intense, wonderfully complex, solidly structured flavors that display impressive acid/fruit/tannin balance. This culminates in a gorgeous inner mouth perfume and a tight, very firm finish of notable length. This may have over achieved in 2002 relative to its usual standard.