In the early 1990s, my uncle invested in his first bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche—a 1985 vintage that he found absolutely spectacular. He described his first sip of the wine as full of smoke and sweet, ripe red fruit, with a long, velvety finish. That experience made him a La Tâche fan for life. A few years later, he had the opportunity to try a few other La Tâche vintages that he enjoyed even more. The 1985 vintage, while delicious, was just the tip of the iceberg. The discovery that DRC made so many breathtaking vintages of La Tâche only deepened my uncle’s love for these wines.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche is one of the greatest wine labels in the world. Even the lowest-rated vintages from this estate are still exceptionally high in quality, which means it’s nearly impossible to invest in a bad bottle of La Tâche. However, as with any label, some vintages are more valuable and impressive than others. Seeking out the very best wines from this producer ensures you’ll get the highest return on your investment and will get to enjoy only the finest wines the estate made.
What Makes Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche Different?
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche is thick and velvety, with notes of plum and rose. Compared to the DRC’s flagship Romanée-Conti label, La Tâche usually a bit bolder, and for this reason, collectors who enjoy rich, concentrated wines sometimes prefer the La Tâche label over the flagship. The boldness of La Tâche wine may be due to the vines on which the grapes are grown; the La Tâche vineyard has slightly younger vines that produce lively fruit.
Another reason why so many collectors seek out bottles of La Tâche is because these wines are consistently high in quality, even in difficult years. The uppermost area of the vineyard has thin, fast-draining limestone soil, while the lower parts of the vineyard contain more rich clay and tend to retain more water. This means that winemakers can select fruit based on growing conditions. In a hot year, they might select more grapes from the lower slope for the blend; in a rainy year, they might select more grapes from the top of the slope, combining the two to create the optimal blend. Yet, while quality is usually very high from year to year, some La Tâche vintages still receive more praise than others.
The Best Recent Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche Vintages
Last year at a tasting event, I met a collector who said he opened a bottle of 2012 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche just a few weeks after he bought it. Some of the other collectors at the event told him that he made a mistake by opening the bottle so young; they felt that he had spoiled the tasting experience for himself because the wine hadn’t been given the chance to mature. However, he strongly disagreed. He said that even though the wine was clearly very young, it still had incredible finesse and balanced flavors. While he could have waited a decade or more for it to age, he was happy with his decision to open the bottle early. He said, “La Tâche is so delicious—why should I wait to enjoy it?”
A top-quality bottle of La Tâche already tastes very refined in its youth, and while it doesn’t have the complexity of a mature bottle of wine, it is still an absolute joy to drink.
Collectors usually buy bottles of young Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche to lay down and drink or sell decades later. However, when you buy the best vintages from this producer, you don’t necessarily have to wait. A top-quality bottle of La Tâche already tastes very refined in its youth, and while it doesn’t have the complexity of a mature bottle of wine, it is still an absolute joy to drink. Moreover, young bottles cost much less than older ones, meaning that you can buy more of them. Most of my friends who collect DRC buy a few bottles at a time from recent vintages so that they can drink some young and keep the others in storage until they mature.
Whether you’re planning on buying a wine to lay down long-term or you want to experience the taste of a young bottle of DRC, here are the best Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche vintages from the last fifteen years:
- 2014: Allen Meadows calls this vintage “fireworks in a glass.” This is a fresh wine with complex aromatics and red fruit flavors. It should drink well in its youth, but it’s likely to age at least 25 years.
- 2012: The 2012 vintage is very aromatic and has some minerality on the finish. This wine will take a great deal of time to mature fully—at least 20 years. In the meantime, it offers a mix of red and dark berry flavors as well as plenty of spice.
- 2010: Jancis Robinson calls this vintage “absolutely heavenly,” and with good reason. With fine tannins, a powerful floral nose, and intense spice, this is a vintage that impresses even the most selective of palates. If you can only invest in one recent La Tâche vintage, this should be your top choice.
- 2005: This is one of the best vintages DRC has ever produced. It is intense and powerful, with a mix of floral aromatics and rich fruit. Although it is deeply concentrated, it is still very finessed and elegant.
These are the best recent DRC La Tâche vintages, however, that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones worth investing in this year. All of the wines in the list above received a score of at least 96 points or higher, on average. There are many other La Tâche vintages that received slightly lower scores but that are still exceptionally high in quality. For example, the 2015, 2009, 2006, 2002, and 2001 vintages have all been highly praised by wine critics and are expected to increase even further in quality and complexity as they age. Because La Tâche has been so high in quality over the past 20 years, you can safely invest in nearly any recent vintage. High scores have driven up the cost of La Tâche significantly over the past few years, yet the quality-to-price ratio is still excellent.
Buying 1990s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche
While almost all of the most recent Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche vintages require much more time to be considered mature, many vintages made in the 1990s have already reached their peak. When you invest in these vintages, you have more options for your collection. You can drink some of these wines now without the risk of opening them too early, or you can resell them on the secondary market for a profit. You can also continue to store them for another decade or more, depending on their quality.
In general, La Tâche from the 1990s tends to be lower in quality than more recent vintages. However, there are two standout vintages that you should consider adding to your collection:
- 1999: This vintage received a perfect score from Robert Parker and nearly perfect scores from Allen Meadows, Jancis Robinson, Stephen Tanzer, and John Gilman. The 1999 vintage is maturing very slowly and still hasn’t reached peak maturity yet. It is intense and aromatic, with a firm structure and a long finish. You can drink this wine now, but saving it for another decade may allow it to deepen in complexity even further.
- 1990: The 1990 vintage is a perfectly balanced mix of sweetness and earthiness. It has subtle notes of violet that have become more evident as the wine has matured. It will likely reach peak maturity in the next five years, but some critics say that it will continue to develop in complexity well into 2030.
If you buy a bottle of 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche, be prepared to drink or sell it fairly soon. Selling this bottle around 2025 will likely get you the best return on investment as this is within the wine’s ideal drinking window. If you invest in a bottle of 1999 La Tâche, you have more time to decide what you want to do with your investment. This vintage won’t reach peak maturity for another decade, making it an ideal choice for collectors who like to keep their bottles in storage for a few years before deciding whether to drink or sell them.
Investing in the Oldest Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche Vintages
Many collectors invest exclusively in young Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche vintages because these usually offer the best return on investment. However, this isn’t the only option you have when you start a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche collection. You can, and should, consider older bottles that are already at least 30 years old.
Every year, there are fewer bottles of older La Tâche available on the market as bottles are consumed, broken, or lost over time.
For one thing, these vintages have a proven track record; they have to be exceptionally high in quality in order to age as long as they have. Second, these wines become rarer—and therefore more valuable—as time goes on. Every year, there are fewer bottles of older La Tâche available on the market as bottles are consumed, broken, or lost over time.
If you’re looking to invest in some of these older vintages, consider a few of these excellent options:
- 1978: With notes of cherry, earthy forest floor, and spice, this is a complex, elegant wine that has aged perfectly over the decades. In fact, it’s not expected to reach the end of its drinking window until 2040.
- 1966: Despite its age, this wine still tastes quite fresh, with plenty of spice and lively acidity. While it’s still drinking well right now, critics recommend drinking or selling this bottle very soon, as it is nearing the end of its drinking window.
- 1964: This vintage is smoky and fruit-driven. It is exceptionally sweet and almost fatty, yet is balanced by very high acidity. This wine may still develop more complexity over the next few years, but you shouldn’t wait longer than a few years to drink or sell it.
- 1962: This vintage has aged very well; in fact, you can still safely store it for another decade. The wine is sweet, intense, deeply complex, and doesn’t require decanting.
- 1949: Full of minerality and earthiness, this is a lean, yet still fairly sweet wine. It’s full of spice and floral notes that have only become more prominent with age. This vintage may continue to age for decades more, as it’s proven to be one of the longest-lived in the estate’s history.
This list is not comprehensive; many other La Tâche vintages also received high scores from critics and would make excellent investments. However, these vintages are some of the most reliable in terms of quality and value. They are highly sought-after on the secondary market and still taste delicious even after 40 or more years in storage. The only caveat is that many of these wines are difficult to invest in. Not only are they hard to find at auction but they are also commonly faked by people looking to take advantage of unsuspecting collectors. To ensure that you’re buying authentic bottles, shop for wine from a trustworthy retailer who performs careful bottle inspections.
How to Start a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche Collection
Is it better to invest in older or younger La Tâche wines? It depends on your expectations for your collection. If you prefer to drink your wines and you don’t care to make a profit from them, then you should invest in La Tâche made prior to 2000. These bottles have either reached maturity or are fast approaching it, so you’ll get to experience an incredible complexity of flavor without waiting for decades. However, if your goal is to make the highest return on investment from selling your collection on the secondary market, then it’s wise to invest in the youngest bottles you can find. You should keep these bottles in professional storage for a minimum of ten years before you sell them.
You can also collect wines from a variety of different vintages to get the best of both worlds.
However, these aren’t your only two options. You can also collect wines from a variety of different vintages to get the best of both worlds. In my experience, the collectors who are happiest with their La Tâche collections are those who keep their options open and who know how to manage their collections effectively. They invest in the best vintages they can find and keep careful track of their wines using an online cellar management app. An app like this takes the guesswork out of the collection process by showing the ideal drinking windows for every bottle. With these tools, you’ll spend less time managing your collection and more time enjoying all of your incredible La Tâche wines.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.