Domaine Leroy   Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru

2008 Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru

By Domaine Leroy

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The remarkably maritime mingling of salt spray, alkali, kelp, iodine, and crustacean present in Bize-Leroy’s 2008 Romanee-St.-Vivant could, I think, only have come from this amazing site. Bright red raspberry and pungent ginger and black pepper, add to the invigorating and enticingly savory salinity on a buoyant palate at once subtly creamy and bright. Ocean meets forest as brooding, decadent notes of underbrush and other woodsy organic remains emerge; while musky narcissus and bitter-sweet gentian add enchanting inner-mouth perfume. All the while, there is a keenly kinetic interaction of all these elements. The finishing sense of shrimp and lobster shell reduction allied to persistently bright, downright refreshing red fruits is as uncanny as it is irresistibly coercive of the next sip. And if this wine doesn’t leave you salivating helplessly, I suspect you have glandular medical issues. My Leroy vintage tasting had reached a point where I was caught between the anticipation of those inevitably great wines that lay ahead, and a desire to simply cancel the rest of my work day and spend it sipping and contemplating this Romanee-St.-Vivant. But I still had inter alia eight Leroy grand crus to go – which signals something interesting. Madame Bize-Leroy served this ahead of all her grand crus save the Corton, perhaps because this is ultimately more delicate. It’s also less dark in color than its siblings. This should offer profound and dazzling complexity for 25 or 30 years provided you can uphold your end of the deal. Lalou Bize-Leroy reports average 2008 Pinot Noir yields of 13 hectoliters per hectare, almost absurdly tiny even by her singular standards. Malos were a bit later than usual but were finished by summer, and the wines bottled – as usual – in December. Yet – also as usual – if their development was thereby in any way stunted, you certainly won’t detect it in the bottle today! The best of these display a sense of transparency; levity; and – even when rich and head-spinningly complex – a sheer sense of refreshment and invigoration that I have seldom encountered in other great wines from these sister estates. (Please note that my account of the complete 2007 red collection at Leroy was published in issue #189.) Importer: Martine’s Wines. Novato, CA; tel. (415) 883-040

David Schildknecht - The Wine Advocate, 28 June 2010

Vintage performance