Domaine Leroy   Richebourg Grand Cru

2011 Richebourg Grand Cru

By Domaine Leroy

2011 Richebourg Grand Cru from Domaine Leroy, Burgundy, France

The esteemed 2011 vintage for the Richebourg Grand Cru from Domaine Leroy emerges as a beacon of Burgundian artistry, transcending the confines of its broad-shouldered brethren from preceding years. This formidable red reveals the prowess with which Domaine Leroy commanded the peculiarities of an erratic 2011 climatic dance in Burgundy.


An Embodiment of 2011 Vintage Character

Even within the complex tapestry of Burgundy's myriad crus, it is perhaps the 2011 vintage that truly delineates the finesse possible under capricious weather patterns. In this context, Domaine Leroy's Richebourg enchants with a captivating poise that speaks volumes of the estate's viticultural precision. The careful orchestration of limited yields and organic farming techniques imbue this Grand Cru with a regal composure; it evokes a narrative of rich cherry and blackcurrant notes, veiled in smoky undertones.


Vintage-Specific Nuances As Investment Cues

The cooler-than-average August and the ensuing warmth in September 2011 afforded the Pinot Noir fruit precise ripening conditions in the Richebourg vineyard. The result is a symmetrically poignant acidity and supple tannin structure that distinguishes the 2011 vintage. Such balance enhances this wine's longevity, rendering it an intriguing proposition for investment connoisseurs seeking to augment their portfolio with a worthy centrepiece.

Alas, maturity will undoubtedly be benevolent to this vintage; as cellared bottles march through time's corridor, collectors may expect an evolution into ever more complex layers of spice and earth – a testament to the land's noble heritage.


Connoisseurship & Investment: A Harmonious Duo

In summary, this Richebourg Grand Cru exemplifies the year's singularity within the landscape of enduring Burgundy legacies. Given Domaine Leroy’s consistent performance and the momentum around fine wine investment, securing allocations from such stellar years warrants earnest consideration. The enigmatic charm of 2011 entices one not only to ponder upon its consumption but also to muse over its potential maturation arc as a tangible asset with deepening allure.

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The 2011 Richebourg Grand Cru is a cousin of the Romanee-Saint-Vivant on the nose, but a little more taciturn prior to revealing enthralling sea-spray scents with aeration, here interpolated by subtle pine needle scents, coniferous forest. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a denser framework than the RSV with a powerful, almost burly finish, though perhaps the Romanee-Sain-Vivant has a little more finesse and tension. Still, a magnificent wine, though. Since I started visiting chateaux and growers in 1997, I have been fortunate to have ticked off most of my personal Holy Grails, yet a handful remain. One was to visit Domaine Leroy and taste with Lalou Bize-Leroy, who I have only met briefly on two occasions in London. Given the responsibility of covering Burgundy, I avowed to tick that one off as soon as possible. So, on a sultry Thursday morning, I finally pulled into the pebbled courtyard of her winery in the village of Vosne with maybe just a single butterfly fluttering around inside. Lalou was stepping out of her 4x4, beloved dogs yapping around their mother and perhaps warning her of an intruder in their midst. They are not exactly cut out to be guard dogs – no offence intended. Lalou was exactly how I remembered – with her wiry frame, like a titanium alloyed twig. Her piercing hawk-like blue eyes and angular cheekbones would give Kate Moss a run for her money. She was attired like a fashionable thirty-something and exuded the vivacity of a twenty-something with a penchant for the occasional rock climb. After pleasantries we discussed her belief in biodynamism and the ways in which the cosmos affects Mother Nature down to the Earth’s core. We toured the rudimentary winery occupied by the black-painted wooden vats and then down below to a vaulted tasting room, bottles lying hither and thither of what must constitute every wine she has made since acquiring Charles Noellat’s holdings in 1988 to establish Domaine Leroy. She was courteous to the point of occasionally scolding herself for vocally enthusing about the wines, mindful of not disturbing my perspicuity. Did the wines stand up to their reputations and let us face it, stratospheric price? The answer is “Yes.” Here was a master-class in terroir: the wines made in almost identical fashion in the winery, so that what is perceived in bottle is the interplay between Mother Nature and vine (under the guiding hand of Rudolph Steiner philosophy). Of course, one must always remain objective, and I have been around the block enough times to simply relate precisely what I find within the radius of a wineglass. And in 2011, it was clear that the wines of Lalou Bize-Leroy seemed to deliver a sensational level of quality that would make most winemakers curl up and weep, asking: “How does she do it?” I had to inquire at the end of the tasting whether they were all matured entirely in new oak, so seamlessly was the wood embroidered into each cuvee. Tasting through the entire range of 23 wines, before zooming down to Domaine d’Auvenay, the high points were scintillating Nuits-St-Georges Village Crus that transcended all my expectations and the sheer consistency of the Grand Crus, perhaps with the exception of the 2011 Latricieres-Chambertin, which I have always found wanting in the past. The Romanee-St-Vivant could be the apotheosis of the vintage, certainly one of the finest that I have tasted from the domaine and even dared “out-finesse” the Richebourg. What amazed me was the otherworldly precision, as if you could pick out each aroma or flavor from the air. Only the Chambolle-Musigny Charmes appeared unruly when compared to its peers, a little too feisty on the nose for my liking. Otherwise, this is just magic in a glass. Importer: Martine’s Wines, Novato, CA; tel. (415) 883-0400

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 August 2013

Vintage performance