A bottle of Échezeaux wine from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti will cost you well over €2,000. That’s a lot of money, particularly for a bottle of wine. It may be a great wine, but could you really call it great value? It’s all relative, of course, but anybody who spends that sort of cash on wine could certainly consider Échezeaux to be something of a bargain!
What is Échezeaux wine?
Échezeaux is a premium red wine made from the Pinot Noir grape in Burgundy, France. Its name comes from the the specific vineyard in which the grapes are grown, as is common in Burgundy wine.. At this price, we’re not talking just any vineyard, of course. Échezeaux is one of Burgundy’s prestigious Grand Cru vineyards, the highest classification for land in the region.
Grand Cru Burgundy is some of the finest wine in the entire world, and has long interested the sort of wealthy collectors that spend thousands on stocking their wine cellars.
Where is the Échezeaux vineyard?
Understanding Burgundy wine can be complicated at the best of times, so let’s keep it simple: The Échezeaux vineyard is located in the commune of Flagey-Échezeaux, itself located in the Côte de Nuits region. The Côte de Nuits is part of a larger region known as the Côte d’Or, but let’s not worry about that for now. In very basic geographic terms, the Côte de Nuits lies between Dijon and Beaune. It’s the heart of Burgundy’s red wine country.
What makes Échezeaux so special?
Burgundy is legendary (or notorious, depending on your viewpoint!) for its hyper-specific breakdown of vineyard land. The whole region is broken down into tiny, individual parcels, known as “climats”, in a concerted effort to identify the best growing sites. As a Grand Cru vineyard, Échezeaux has been officially recognised as worthy of the very top level. Considering the quality (and price) of Burgundy wines at lesser levels, this is impressive!
The vineyard itself has individual plots, known as lieux-dits, and ownership is divided between more than 80 proprietors. This is quite remarkable when you consider that the vineyard itself is only 37.6 hectares – in Bordeaux, that would be considered a relatively small vineyard for one single château owner. As a result, there really isn’t that much land – or fruit – to go around. The quantities made by any individual owner are tiny, and thus demand far outstrips supply.
To understand why Échezeaux is so special (and a relative bargain), let’s look at its finest wine – that from the mythical Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux
Entire books have been written about the legendary Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Pound for pound, it’s probably the world’s most famous wine producer, and regularly produces the world’s most expensive wine: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti. That one’ll easily cost you around €15,000.
By comparison, the couple of thousand you’ll pay for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux doesn’t look so bad all of a sudden. You’ve got the same owner, same winemaker and the wines are aged in the same cellars.
If you’re still not sure: We understand. €2,500 is still a lot of money. We don’t blame you if you need a little more convincing. Let’s open up a bottle of Échezeaux wine and see what all the fuss is about.
Tasting Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux 2001
The 2001 vintage in Burgundy was challenging, and even top producers had issues. Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and winemaker at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, managed to produce a range of stunning wines through the sort of attention to detail and meticulous grape sorting the domaine is known for.
This Échezeaux has a pale ruby colour, indicative of both its age and the Pinot Noir grape variety from which it is produced.
On the nose, there is delicious blackberry fruit and spice, with some earthy undertones. This wine is only now coming into its drinking window, and over the next few years the earthy aromas will begin to dominate.
In the mouth, this is medium-bodied and silky. Dark fruit flavours dominate the palate, and the finish is incredibly long and satisfying.
Is it a bargain? Can a wine of this price truly be good value? It’s hard to say, but this is clearly an extraordinary wine. If it’s within your budget, treat yourself!