The vast majority of labels made by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) are meant to be aged for decades and not opened a moment too soon. However, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux is perhaps the one exception. While you can lay this charming wine down for many years, you can also enjoy it while it’s young. In fact, it often retains a youthful vibrancy even after it’s spent 20 or 30 years in storage.
So, whether you’re looking for a top-quality Burgundy vintage to resell on the market or an approachable bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti to drink while you wait for your other wines from this producer to mature, investing in the Échezeaux label is a smart choice. This guide to the best vintages of DRC Échezeaux can help you build a spectacular collection that you can savor for many years to come.
What Makes Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux Special?
While Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche get the most attention from wine critics and collectors, the producer’s Échezeaux label is an underrated wine that should not be overlooked.
As Échezeaux ages, the tannins soften slightly and it becomes sweeter and rounder in style.
Like the estate’s other red wine labels, Échezeaux is made from 100-percent Pinot Noir and aged in new oak. However, one thing that sets Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux apart from its peers is that the vines from which the grapes are harvested are slightly younger than those in other vineyards owned by DRC. The vines are about 32 years old on average, two years younger than the next-youngest vines (those used to make Romanée-St-Vivant) and 30 years younger than the estate’s oldest vines (used to make the Montrachet label). Many wine enthusiasts mistakenly believe that old grapevines make higher quality wine, however, this view is overly simplistic. Younger vines simply tend to produce fresher-tasting, slightly less concentrated fruit than older vines. In fact, 32-year-old vines are ideal to produce a fresh, sweet, fruit-forward Pinot Noir like Échezeaux. They are just old enough to grow complex and fully ripe fruit, but not so old that the fruit loses its youthful vigor. This is part of what makes Échezeaux so approachable immediately upon release.
Another reason why knowledgeable Burgundy collectors seek out the best Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux vintages is that the flavor of the wine is incomparable. Beyond its youthful acidity, it has an herbaceous bouquet that many drinkers find incredibly alluring. The wine perfectly combines savory and sweet notes–succulent blackberry and raspberry with violet, Earl Grey tea, and marine flavors. As Échezeaux ages, the tannins soften slightly and it becomes sweeter and rounder in style, but the wine never completely loses its biting acidity or complex herbaceousness.
However, only some Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux vintages are meant to be aged for long periods of time; this wine generally drinks best when it’s less than 15 years old. However, if you choose to invest in one of the very best vintages of this label, you could lay these wines down for many more decades–and potentially resell your bottles for a profit.
The Best Recent Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux Vintages
Like most grand cru Burgundy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux is generally consistently high in quality year-after-year, but some vintages are more age-worthy and collectible than others. According to average critic scores on wine-searcher, the best recent Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux vintages (that received a score of at least 93 points) are:
- 2015: Hold.
- 2014: Drink or hold.
- 2012: Drink or hold.
- 2011: Drink or hold.
- 2010: Drink or hold.
- 2008: Drink or hold.
- 2005: Hold.
- 2004: Drink or hold.
These recent vintages can be drunk within the next few years while they’re still at their most lively, or you can put your bottles in professional storage right away to keep them safe until you decide to sell them on the secondary market.
Some critics estimate that the 2005 vintage won’t be ready to drink until 2025 or 2030.
Although Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux is meant to be drunk younger than its peers from the same estate, that doesn’t mean that the wines won’t benefit from some additional aging. Most Échezeaux vintages younger than 2010 can still use some time to fully open up. On the other hand, many wines made before 2010, such as the 2008 and 2004 vintages, are drinking well already. Still, even these wines may benefit from additional time in storage, especially if you enjoy the taste of mature wine, so keep this in mind as you build your collection. As for the 2005 vintage, this was one of the greatest years in the label’s history and has a much longer aging potential than usual. Some critics estimate that it won’t be ready to drink until 2025 or 2030. When in doubt, find up-to-date drinking windows for every vintage you invest in using a reliable vintage research tool.
Top-Quality Older Vintages of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux
If you don’t want to wait for your Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux bottles to mature, consider investing in a few of the top vintages from past decades. Older vintages that received the highest scores (90 points or more, on average) are:
Keep in mind that, while Échezeaux evolves in flavor during the first ten years of its life, this process slows down as the wine continues to age. As a result, the wine often gains in value by a few hundred dollars or more within the first decade, but may plateau in price once it reaches a certain age (usually ten to 15 years after release). So, generally speaking, it’s better to invest in young wines if you plan on reselling your collection and buy older wines only if you want to drink the wine yourself.
Tips on Building a Collection of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux
There are a few important things to keep in mind as you build a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux collection. First, there’s a significant difference between the Échezeaux and Grands Échezeaux labels. Many wine enthusiasts confuse these two labels, but Grands Échezeaux wines are meatier and more powerful in flavor than the sweet, herbaceous Échezeaux. Moreover, Grands Échezeaux is usually slightly more expensive than Échezeaux, in part because it’s made from grapes grown on older vines.
Buy from a reliable source, ideally one that inspects every bottle for signs of possible damage.
Another thing to consider when you build a collection of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux is that the quality of the wine depends to some extent on how it was stored. The top vintages listed in this guide are so high in quality that they should still be worth drinking even after many decades. But unless the bottles were kept under ideal conditions in a home cellar or (better yet) a professional storage facility, there’s no guarantee that the wine inside will still be drinkable. This is true of all Domaine de la Romanée-Conti labels, not just Échezeaux. This is why you should buy your wine from a reliable source, ideally one that inspects every bottle for signs of possible damage beforehand.
One final tip for collecting Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échezeaux is to seek out only the best vintages whenever possible. All Domaine de la Romanée-Conti vintages and labels are relatively consistent in quality, but because Échezeaux is softer and less powerful in flavor than other labels from this producer, it can taste a little too reserved in lower quality vintages. By investing in Échezeaux wines from the top vintages in the estate’s history, you’ll get to see the softer, sweeter side of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
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.