TN: Richebourg and Romanee St Vivant Dinner

RICHEBOURG AND ROMANEE ST VIVANT DINNER - Summer Pavilion, Ritz Carlton, Singapore (8/1/2015)

After a series of great vintage focused dinners, we moved recently to doing themes instead. Richebourg and RSV this time - two of the great Grand Crus of Vosne Romanee, with the later being one of my very favourite plots in Burgundy. Food was brilliant, company good as always, and the wine were top class. We knew which wines were in which flight, but they were then served blind within the flight itself.


  • 1989 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses - France, Champagne
    En magnum, 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay. This was a gorgeous champagne, lovely in every way. It had a wonderful nose straight out of the bottle, with little touches of cream and brioche layered over sweeter aromas of ripe lemons and red apples and honey, all fringed with whiffs of flinty oyster shell, chalky minerality and just that little floral accent. Beautiful. The palate had a lovely matured roundness to it, with full, fleshy flavours of ripe apples and cherry flesh edged with citrusy lemon peel notes. Really delicious. Great long finish too - white fruit, honey and a nutty, buttery brioche character pierced with more of that wonderful flinty, stony minerality trailing away beautifully on the back palate. While the Pinot-rich character of the wine really came out in its power and fullness, it was also very elegant and refined, with lots of wonderfully fresh, youthful acidity and a sparkling verve to its mousse that gave this a really nice sense of energy and focus. This all added up to an almost deceptive youthfulness in spite the wine’s matured roundness and lovely integration. A superb Champagne – I could drink this all day, every day. Great now from the magnum, it should continue to go strong for many years yet. (94 pts.)
  • 2012 Francois Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Rather overworked and oaky - this was a world away from a classic Louis Carillon Perrieres, or even the later versions from Francois’ brother, Jacques Carillon. A bit of a pity, because it was clearly made from excellent raw material. The wine had a very expressive nose, with lots of creamy tones wed to ripe fruited aromas - bright lemons and pears and a tropical pineapple twist - all lined with drifts of sweet flowers and toasty oak. The palate had a nice depth and girth to it but came across rather modern, with a rich, oily texture and ripe flavours of red apples and pineapples layered with creamy, buttery nuances. Lots of battonage going on here I thought. Thankfully, the nice purity of the fruit and a liveliness lent by the wine’s acidity kept it balanced and decently focused all the way into a ripe, sweetly-fruited finish. Here, more toasty oak showed up alongside a little stream of minerality. There was certainly quality and balance in spades. However, this was clearly a more obviously worked wine than the effortless Louis Carillon Perrieres of the past, and I really missed some of the elegance and drive of those wines in this example. Take nothing away from this though – it is still very young and needs easily 6-8 more years to strut it stuff and, all said, it was a well-made Puligny 1er Cru - just not quite my style. (92 pts.)


  • 1987 Mongeard-Mugneret Richebourg - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
    A great start to the main event. This was such a pleasure to drink. It had a gorgeous nose, with a gentle toss of damp soil and then savoury meat and umami tones ringed around a core of dark cherries and preserved berries, all subtly perfumed by sweet drifts of dried flowers and Vosne spice. Wow. This was followed by a lovely, silken palate - about the softest Richebourg I have ever had I think - with soft, mellow tannins and a gentle stream of acidity tripping through clear, juicy flavours of dark cherries and wild berries liberally sprinkled with woody spice. It was just a bit too soft and wooly on the midpalate, missing some structure, but this was otherwise still very alive, and so very elegant and charming. Nice finish too, with an absolute mouthful of spice and mineral on the backpalate, and just a little twist of drying herb trailing away at the very end. Lovely, engaging stuff. Perhaps lacking a touch of Richebourg muscle and power, and maybe just starting to approach the end of its peak drinking window, but this was really delicious. Lesson learnt - it takes 28 years on an off vintage to get a Richebourg ready for prime time! (93 pts.)
  • 1996 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Richebourg - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
    Superb. It started out with a wonderful nose - lush, deep and engaging, this filled the senses with wafts of earth and meat and mushroom, dark cherries and plums, all seasoned with fragrant spice and dark flowers and orange peel. A ridiculously beautiful bouquet; this was a dance of earth and sweet fruit and flowers that could only come from Burgundy. After all those deep, lush aromas, the palate was actually surprisingly lithe and lifted, with dancing notes of red cherries and red berries ringed with a wreath of smoky meat and spice and little floral notes, all packaged in a wonderful elegant structure of fine tannins and prickly 1996 acidity. Make no mistake though, this was no pushover. In fact, I would say it was a Richebourg good and proper, with a firm, sinewy feel to behind all that grace - like a male ballet dancer in full flight. Richebourg muscle wed to Hudelot-Noellat’s characteristic elegance I wrote. This was especially clear the wine’s finish, with a subtle strength and sneaky length to it as the wine stretched into a deliciously spiced finish littered with cloves and nutmeg and woody notes. With time, it seemed to open up and take on more weight as well, starting with a juicy plumminess on the attack and then leading into a deliciously mouthwatering midpalate. A great wine. Full, complete, yet also always focused and precise – this was truly beautiful and showing quite wonderfully with just a bit of airtime. Give it a few more years though, and it should be even better. (94 pts.)
  • 2000 Domaine Jean Grivot Richebourg - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
    I learnt my lesson from the last bottle and opened this some 12 hours before dinner. A little bit was poured out and the rest re-stoppered. Even then, it was still clearly the tightest of the Richebourg flight. The nose was pleasant, but I would call it subtly engaging rather than expressive. It showed tightly wound notes of dark fruit and earth, meat and mineral, and just the gentlest sprinkle of spice and fresh herb running along behind. A very polished, if rather less than generous bouquet. While it was also tightly wound on the palate, this was definitely far more pleasing than the last bottle. This time round, the wine showed powerful, mouthfilling layers dark cherries and berries wound around a muscular core of fine, firm tannins and well-integrated acidity. There was such a lovely clarity and strength to it, and it was absolutely focused and delineated - all muscle, with not an ounce of extra fat I thought - but it seemed as though there was so much more locked up in the dark depths of the wine. Even with this bottle, I found it quite austere and surprisingly primary for a 2000, with just subtle little notes of spice and earth and mineral adding a bit of complexity as the wine puled away into a long, deep, quietly powerful finish. Very good indeed, very complete, but it needs tons of time yet. At least a decade I think. 93+ (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Gros Frère et Sœur Richebourg - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
    Lovely, but way too young. It had the meatiest nose of all the reds, with a lovely bacony, mushroomy savouriness ringed with wafts of toasty, woody spice, some minty accents and then pure, lifted aromas of red cherries and red berries infused with a floral perfume. A really nice marriage of funk and flowers. The palate was still so very youthful. Deep and powerful, but still tightly packed and absolutely focused and delineated, this seemed to fill the mouth with a single, insistent beam of dark cherries and blackberries fringed with spice and menthol and herb notes as the wine stretched into a gracefully powerful finish. Very impressive. I thought this was a tremendous wine, combining purity and definition with sheer power and force. It is clearly at least a decade or two too young though - give it enough time and this will be a great Richebourg. (94 pts.)


  • 1989 Domaine Leroy Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Stunningly youthful for a 1989, this was very good indeed, but somehow still seemed some years away from peak. It had a typically rich, Leroy nose, with almost liquered aromas of melted cherries and dark berries wed to funky notes of earth and boiled herb, all wreathed with a rich, fragrant spiciness, with peppery accents, and woody notes of nutmeg and cloves - absolutely entrancing. After all those rich aromas on the nose, the palate was almost surprising with its finesse and purity, with wonderful fineness to its tannins and a livewire of juicy, citrussy acidity running through lovely pure flavours of red cherries and berries on the attack, and then more matured notes of orange peel and sour plums, and a little stream of rose petals floating alongside on the midpalate and into a long, mellow finish with a gentle earthiness and a little drift of spice closing the wine out nicely. Very good indeed, but it still seems to be holding quite a bit back in reserve behind its wonderfully pure, but still rather primary fruit. This all added to the wine lacking a bit of something. I would give it 8-10 years more easily, hopefully it will take the short step up from being a good to great wine by then. (93 pts.)
  • 1990 Jean-Jacques Confuron Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Gorgeous. The first in the Romanee Saint-Vivant line-up, and probably my favourite of the lot. It had a wonderful nose of sweet spice and fragrant herb and dried rose petals dancing around pretty notes of red cherries and dried berries. How lovely – this is just how I would describe the nose of an archetypal RSV to a person who has never tried one before. The palate was absolutely delicious too. Lovely, pure and clear, with true Grand Cru strength wed to a mellow gentleness brought on by age. It showed wonderfully juicy flavours of red cherries and raspberries seasoned with gentle notes of earth and spice, and then complex little notes of orange peel and menthol and a lift of dried spices pulling away into a long, drifting finish. This was at a perfect place for drinking now, with soft tannins and superbly integrated acidity wrapped around a wonderfully pure core of flavours. An absolutely lovely wine. (95 pts.)
  • 1999 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Corked, very unfortunately. Little layers of cardboard and a twang of peanut soup overwhelmed the more perfumed notes of red berries and flowers and spice and a gentle earthiness on the nose. A real pity. The palate seemed rather scalped too. It had a wonderful purity and definition to its flavours of red berries and cherries, lots of elegance and just a beautiful, velvety mouthfeel, but it just seemed just a bit thin for a Grand Cru, petering away with a little kiss of orange peel and spice. I love Arnoux’s RSVs and was very much looking forward to this – it was quite sad when the wines were unveiled and this turned out to be the flawed one. NR (flawed)


  • 1999 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Superb, but so very tightly wound. This had very DRC whole-cluster nose, showing expressive little touches of earth and boiled herb with fragrant drifts of dried flowers and Vosne spice floating alongside intense notes of sweet red fruit - lots going on already, yet I somehow could not help feeling that there was a lot in reserve, just waiting to unfurl. Same thing on the palate. It was still so very young and hardly ready, with deep but tightly-packed, compact flavours of dark cherries and raspberries bearing a wonderful intensity wed to a balance and focus that was so very DRC. Great purity too - and this was especially clear when compared to the pair of 199 Potel and Girardin Romanée St. Vivant that came after (which were made from purchased DRC grapes). Those wines were good, but this was a step up in the sense of depth and presence wed to a pure, effortless clarity. It still needs time though - easily 10, 15 years - there was such a tightly wound core to the wine, stretching all the way into a fine, elegant finish, where lovely little notes of spice and herb mingled with lovely little dark fruited notes; just about the only semblance of secondary notes starting to show. A very polished, classy wine then, but many years from being ready. While it clearly showed lots of finesse, I thought it lacked a bit of the seductive floral perfume and silky softness that I usually identify with DRC’s RSVs. Great stuff though, and I think it will certainly get there with time. 94++ (94 pts.)
  • 1999 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Very good, but perhaps just a half-step behind the pair of 1999 DRC and Potel Romanee Saint-Vivant on the same flight. Along with the Potel, this wine was of course rumored to have been made from grapes sourced from the DRC vineyard. The nose here was a pleasant mélange of red cherries and berries alongside some funky, earthy notes, a little chalky tone and toasty, cardamom-like spice notes chased by a floral backnote. The palate had a pure, clean, juicy feel to it. A bit surprising given the funkier, rather thicker aromas on the nose, but there was lovely, sparkly acidity and a wonderful purity and juiciness to the wine’s red cherry and berry flavours. There was a burgeoning complexity to the wine, with bits of herb and spice and some chalky earth pulling away into a long finish. This was very good, even if the experience was just a little marred by some green, herby, asparagus notes and a lingering twang of toasty oak right at the end. It still has some room to grow and develop though, with the fruit and acidity and a little bite of chewy tannins all suggesting that this should be better in say 6-7 years than it was on the night. (93 pts.)
  • 1999 Nicolas Potel Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Excellent. I thought this lacked a little charm on first pour, but it really opened up beautifully with just a little time in the glass. The nose was quite tight at first, showing little notes of earth and wood and dark berries, but as the wine took on air, sweeter notes of cooked cherries and red berries came to the fore alongside pretty accents of dried flowers and fragrant spice. By the time we were finishing, the nose had opened up into a lifted, perfumed mélange of spice and flowers. Lovely. Like the nose, the palate started out a bit tight, showing a bit thin, even astringent. It never took on the scale you would expect of a top-end 1999 Grand Cru, but when it hit its stride, it was quite a delight to drink. It shared the same juicy purity of the Girardin RSV that preceded it, with a lovely clarity sounding through ample flavours of red cherries and berries infused with a wonderful spiciness. However, I thought there was a greater sense of structure and depth to this wine as well, with what grew to become a full, generous attack and midpalate undergirded fine, firm tannins that provided a nice, chewy grip to the wine. This had both power and grace and quite a bit of deliciousness to boot. Great finish too, with more toasty Christmas spices mingling with notes of black cherry, orange peel and dried flowers. Wonderfully complex and actually drinking really well for a 1999. A great end to the evening. (94 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Nice job Paul.
I love the Confuron RSV. I think it is one of the very best.

Great notes! How long do you think the Potel RSV 99 needs to maturity?

Thanks for the notes Paul.

Best Regards

2 things

  1. 96 noellats are super dialed in right now, great note on that one
  2. has anyone noticed an excessive amount of corked wines with Arnoux? If I was to go through all the burgundy producers I purchase/consume, Arnoux has to be #1 in corked wines. I just had a corked 00 Reignots yesterday and my friend just had a corked 05 vosne romanee the night before. I feel like a good 20% of the wines I consume from him are corked. In fact the very first arnoux I ever had was also corked! ;D

Great notes!

Incredibly detailed and fun to read. Thanks.
Just one question: would you really call them “declassified DRC grapes,” not purchased; they’re still RSV, no? (Or is there something I am missing here?)

declassified is indeed incorrect, I would think. More like rejected DRC grapes. My understanding is that there are a couple sections of DRC’s RSV holdings that produce, in their opinion, a lesser wine and are kept out of the final assemblage. They must have sold those grapes.

Thank you for these great notes. My obsession with Richebourg can sadly not reach its full flowering due to the stratospheric pricing of these wines. Understanding where the nooks and crannies of vaguely reasonable goodness outside of DRC/Leroy is extremely helpful.

Of the other 9 Richebourg Domaines, what are the strongest/weakest? As far as I can tell from the unbelievably helpful Winehog, the domaines are Frantin/Bichot, Meo Camuzet, Gros F&S, A-F Gros, Anne Gros, Liger-Belair, Mongeard-Mugneret, Grivot, Hudelot-Noellat, but I’ve only had a few of their wines. And does anyone know where LeMoine gets their grapes?

Had a '99 DRC RSV a few weeks ago, probably at least the 6th time I have had this wine since release, and this bottle was the worst showing yet by far (bottle was pristine and perfect).

The wine is just so tight and closed, i think these have gone into a real “leave me alone” phase…

that flawed Arnoux 1999 hurts big time.

I taste and drink quite a lot of Arnoux over the time from 1990 to 2011 … but absolutely cannot confirm any higher rate of corked bottles.
I remember a corky 2010 clos Vougeot in our annual vintage tasting (which was replaced the next year by the domaine) … and a bottle of NSG Poisots (must have been 2001 or 2000) … and long ago a Suchots from mid 90ies …

Richebourg 8.03 ha:

Gros A-F (former Jean Gros until 1995) 0,6
Gros Anne 0,6
Gros Frere & Soeur 0,69
DRC 3,51
Leroy 0,78
Hudelot-Noellat 0,28
Mongeard-Mugneret 0,31
Meo-Camuzet 0,35
Grivot 0,32
Liger-Belair Thibault (former Denis Mugneret until 2001) 0,55
Clos Frantin 0,07

All producers make Richebourg worth of the name, and I would buy all if the prices are ok.
If any I would leave out Gros A-F (since 1996) … and Grivot is fine but not really my style.
At Mongeard-Mugneret the Grands Echezeaux is the better pic.
I have tasted only one bottle of Th.Liger-Belair which was good but not top, a bit heavy in (noticable) oak.

Old Frantins can be super, but I haven´t tasted anything younger …
Also some negociants can be outstanding, especially old ones from Grivelet and also Vienot and Rodet.

No idea where Le Moine gets the grapes/wines, but still Drc is the most likely due to their holdings (see above).

Wow - thanks for the replies guys.

Joshua and Alan - you are right about “declassified”. Wrong use of words. Have changed it to “purchased”


Did Potel get all his RSV from DRC or only the 99 vitange?



don’t know. I would be guessing and have no inside knowledge.

Just to add - I am not a great fan of Anne Gros’ style normally, but she really hits the ball out of the park with her Richebourg. They are almost alway fantastic for me.

Well, the Clos Vougeot is not bad either. The problem is that she has between these 2 GCs (the Echezeaux is younger vines with some problem of the clones) and the Villages Chambolle and Vosne no 1er Crus (except the Savingny) … and as good as they are in their league they are no 1ers.
So it´s kind of a gap between the top-2 and the rest …

Oh yes, of course - Le Grand Maupertui is a great plot. I think also that her sweeter, lusher style does well in the terrors with “bigger” structure like Richebourg and CDV. I wonder how well she would do if given the chance with other plots around Vosne or Chambolle.

Yes, I would be very much interested how (for instance) a Malconsorts would turn out. I think very fine.