The village of Vosne-Romanée was mentioned as early as the 6th century and was known as Vanona which means Forest. In AD 890 the priory of Saint-Vivant was established and soon started attracting vineyards as gifts, most notably the 1.8 hectares that would become Romanée-Conti, from Alix de Vergy in 1232.
The Croonembourg family purchased the land along with neighbouring La Tache in 1631 and they renamed it Romanée for reasons that remain unknown to this day. André de Croonembourg put the family holdings up for sale in 1760; this sparked a bidding war that was eventually won by Louis Francois, Prince de Conti who beat Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress to the prized estate. La Tache and Romanée-St-Vivant passed into private hands. Despite losing all his lands during the revolution, The Prince’s lasting legacy was naming the vineyard Romanée-Conti.
In 1869 the estate of Romanée-Conti was purchased by Jacques-Marie Duvalt-Blochet who started to create the Domaine as we know it today making acquisitions in Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux and Richebourg. After changing hands a few times the domaine today is owned by his heirs the de Villaine family. Edmond Guidon de Villaine sold half his shares to friend and financier Henri Leroy in 1942 and due to the complicated Burgundian succession laws a number of members of both families own shares in Domaine de la Romainée-Conti today under the Co-Directorship of Aubert de Villaine and Henri-Frederic Roch.
The Vineyards owned by DRC are grouped around the village of Vosne-Romanée and occupy slopes that face to the east and south-east. The soil is iron-rich and contains limestone on a bed of rock and marlstone. Yields are often low due to pruning and removal of any substandard grapes prior to the harvest. The vineyards of La Tache and Grand Echezeaux have even started to embrace biodynamic practices.
Often referred to in Burgundy as ‘The Domaine’, DRC produces only Grand Cru wines. These, especially the monopoles of Romanée-Conti and La Tache are considered amongst the best wines in the world and due to their scarcity command very high prices.
• Vineyard holding – 4.67 hectares of 34.79 hectares
• 100% Pinot Noir
• Average production – 1,340 cases per year
Echezeaux is a vineyard that has a reputation for variable quality, mainly due it sub-division among 80 owners. DRC occupies a premium plot within the Grand Cru vineyard and in very good years produces wine that surpasses some of its stable mates. The lack of topsoil and limestone bedrock means grapes ripen easily. Despite the reputation of wines from Echezeaux lacking the finesse of some of its neighbours, the DRC offering is still highly rated and in demand.