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 size – 1.8 hectares under vine
• 100% Pinot Noir
• Average production – 450 cases per year
Romanée-Conti is a monopole (an area controlled by a single winery) and often the most expensive wine in the world. The production quantities are so small and in such demand that it is often hard to obtain even one bottle of any vintage. The Prince de Conti retained the produce from this legendary vineyard for his personal consumption and today it remains at the top of many critics’ and consumers’ wish lists.
The vines are an average of 53 years old and the last time they were completely replanted was 1947/8 producing their first new vintage in 1952. The Pinot Noir grapes have mutated into 60 different varieties over the years and this coupled with practices like using horse and carts rather than tractors to avoid compacting the soil add up to an unrivalled and rare Burgundy wine.