So, a friend calls me (close friend) and asks me what I’m doing. I tell him I’m BBQ’n chicken at home…He tells me he’s coming over right away, and I know he is bringing a special bottle of wine. How do I know you might ask? Well, he works for Dionysus, the generous, philanthropic wine lover who loves to share bottles of wine that he opens. I have no idea what my friend is so eager to share with me, but I never miss an opportunity to taste from the wonderful Dionysus cellar.

As I am working out in my shop, getting utensils for the BBQ, I hear my friend bantering with my Bella (my chihuahua). When I step out to greet him, he asks me if I would like to taste some ’96 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Red Burgundy (Pinot Noir). As soon as those words left his lips, I was so excited, I could hardly keep myself in check. DRC is on my bucket list of wines I would like to try before I (like you know, go under the grass), pass away. This Pinot Noir is some of the most sought after in the world, and one that I thought I would never get a chance to try. In steps Dionysus. I didn’t want to try it because it is outrageously expensive (which it is). I wanted to try it because, it comes from some of the finest vineyards in Cotes-du-Nuits and is talked about in hushed tones. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) is considered by most in the wine world to be one of the masters of Burgundy and those who have tried either the Romanee-Conti, La Tache, Romanee Saint-Vivant or Richeborg continue to talk about it as they might the birth of their first-born.

Romanee-Conti is the hardest to get with a production of only 450 cases a year. On release it goes for close to $8,000 a bottle. The La Tache, considered to rival Romanee-Conti in quality, has a production of 1.870 cases a year and is easier to find (it sells for around $2,000 a bottle). I for one consider no wine to be worth that much, but it sells out every year and is considered to be the best Pinot Noir in the world and maybe some of the best wine in the world. When the opportunity to try it came my way, I was not going to pass it up.

The aromas on this wine were other-worldly (and I’m not kidding). Asian spice, cinnamon, ripe strawberries, red cherries, perfumed red flowers, wet stone and chocolate tones. Intense, intense, intense. Bright cherries on the palate with mineral notes and a touch of tea. Asian spices came through on the mid-palate into the finish. It was almost meaty in texture, with spice and white pepper notes lingering on the bark, red flower and mineral driven finish with a touch of Asian spices that lingered. This Pinot Noir is a baby, even at eighteen years old with a load of personality that is waiting to burst at the seams. Give it ten to twenty more years (seriously), and then you will see its full potential. If there is anyone out there that is willing to share this bottle with me ten years from now, I would be happy to participate in the name of research…Just saying.

Cheers to my good friend for sharing, and of course my friend Dionysus!
Stan The Wine Man

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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