Despite its diminutive size of barely one hectare – it is, in fact, the smallest appellation not only in all of Burgundy but all of France – La Romanée , gently nestled in the village of Vosne-Romanée and just above the renowned Romanée -Conti vineyard, is home to one of the most expensive and desired Grand Cru wines on the global fine wine market.
Sharing the “Romanée” name with three other vineyards in the region, this tiny titan of Pinot Noir more than holds its own against themas well as its other famous neighbors including La Grande Rue, Richebourg and Aux Reignots. It has enjoyed its own appellation since 1936.
La Romanée has had a complicated history. Staring in the 16th century, the parcel changed names – and owners – no fewer than eight recorded times until in 1827, General Louis Liger-Belair, who acquired the land years earlier, finally put the confusion
Steeply-sloped, La Romanée’s location on the Cote d’Or render it ideal for Pinot Noir. Similar to the nearby Romanée -Conti vineyards that rest below it, the pebbly terroir is comprised of brown limestone, sand and clay; however, due to its angle, La Romanée has a much smaller proportion of clay, making the topsoil thinner which in turn allows for easy, near flawless drainage. The vineyard is also unique among its surroundings in that the rows of vines caress the contour of the slope as opposed to running upward.
La Romanée’s Pinot Noir is flamboyant, complex and well-defined. Deep ruby in color, it ages into an even darker crimson as its bouquet features red and black berries, violet and spices, followed later by leather, wood and hints of underbrush. Its tannins are silky, its depth refined, and its finish long and sensual. In short, it is a rich, powerful and aromatic expression of Burgundy’s beloved red grape. For optimal enjoyment, it should age at least a decade, and can continue to mature another ten to fifteen years without being compromised.
Although the Liger-Belair family has owned the property for centuries, Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair is fairly young. It wasn’t until 2001 that it took the reins of the wine production side of the business which had been previously handled by Bouchard Père et Fils. Since assuming management, Comte Liger-Belair has incorporated biodynamic principles, and horses are used to plow the fields. Maceration time is brief, and mostly new oak is used. The marriage of old and new seems to be successful, as the La Romanée cuvee, the domaine’s signature wine, is currently one of the most sought-after around the world. Making the demand even greater, Comte Liger-Belair limits production to only 300 cases per year, bringing the small appellation very large rewards.