L'Assemblage Blog

Domaine Romanée-Conti 2014 – A tasting of their latest releases

Posted on 13/02/17, filed under Burgundy, Wine Tasting | No Comments

Despite some dramatic climatic conditions, the 2014 finished on a positive note for DRC. A long tumultuous growing season ended with an Indian summer of sunny, warm, dry weather. Then came the cool cleansing northerly winds to dry the deep coloured bunches. The harvest started around the 16th September in Corton and finished with Le Montrachet on the 22nd. Vinifications under the watchful eye of Bernard Noblet, ensured a long secondary fermentation in oak casks before a final bottling in Spring 2016.

Here are my notes on the main grand crus. We know 2014 was a magnificent vintage for white burgundy but not quite as big and ripe as 2015 for the Pinot Noir. However, these '14s display the pure terroir expression of a cool, classic vintage and have the fruit, acidity and tannin balance required for ageing. We have tasted some seriously fine reds in this vintage with DRC and a hand-full of other growers leading the field.


Deep red with a bouquet of wild strawberry, briars, incense and hedgerow. Earthy sour cherry and berry fruit, herbal notes with mineral edge . Robust, medium full with firm tannins for now. 89+ GW


Fresh raspberry and blackberry with floral notes. Textured slightly sour fruit with notes of tobacco, dry tannins with a metallic earthy finish. 88+ GW


Aromas of rose, scorched earth and berry fruit in the background. Currants, all spice, herbal with textured tannins constructing a profound medium bodied expression of this great grand cru. Clearly defined layers energised by precise acidity and a mineral tension that compels you to take another sip. Seriously sophisticated. 94+ GW


Wonderful aromas of sweet raspberry, cinnamon and cherry. A full palate displays generous sweet fruit with a saline mineral edge. Seductive, very finely textured tannins, mixed spice and acidity that lifts the finish. Superb example. Drink from 2020+ 95 GW


Deep bright ruby, some nice ripe red fruits though restrained, especially in the mid palate. The tannins are finely textured but there is a solid compact mid palate with brisk acidity on the finish. This is layered but so closed that it will take at least 5 years to come round. 94+ GW

La Tâche

Deep red hues. Light sour cherry fruit, floral hints and cinnamon spice on the aromatics. Earthy restrained fruit with tea leaf nuances. Intense but austere at present with a solid depth of finely textured tannins. Layers of complexity but disjointed and will need 3-4 years to integrate. Great potential though. 95+GW


Intense aromas of earth, briars, rose and dusky fruit beneath. Powerful sinews of sour edged fruit, raspberry and blackberry pith that tastes a little austere now. This sits between layers of earthy minerality, mixed herbs, sappy tannins from the wood and stems. Not bitter but dry and savoury. This is packed with flavour, compelling complexity with a prominent acidity that projects a long lateral finish. Awkward, brooding and introverted for now but given another 5-7 years, the components should weld together to form a truly classic terroir driven style. 96+ GW

Notes and scores by Guy Willings

THE FINE WINE MARKET – Winter 2016 to 2017

Posted on 12/11/16, filed under Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, News | No Comments
There has been a dramatic shift in the value of the pound since the referendum, demand is high and our international sales have grown significantly. We are optimistic that despite the economic challenges ahead, there are some great recent vintages to sell from the classic regions of France and beyond. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages maybe variable in quantity but outstanding in quality. Fair pricing and slight inflation will help supply and demand forces thrive.
Good back vintages are rising in value regardless as they are available now, ready to drink and dwindling in supply. Many of our clients who bought wine en primeur over the years are now selling back to us and making very healthy returns.
If you have fine wines surplus to your requirements please contact us for a competitive quotation. We often pay above auction hammer prices for good provenance stock. 


Posted on 29/08/16, filed under Bordeaux, Champagne, News | No Comments

Our friends in Bordeaux have reportied very hot conditions throughout the region with little to no rain since June.  Vines on the deep gravel loams of the left bank have been more affected by the heatwave than those on the limestone and clays. By October we will know if this will be a great warm vintage or a hot drought vintage. Certainly production will be down after the late frosts in Spring, hail and rain during flowering, followed by the heatstress now.

According to an article in Drinks business news last week, France's total production is expected to come in at 42.9m hectolitres (hl) (944m gallons) for 2016, down from last year’s 47.8m hl, the ministry’s statistical service, Agreste..
It blamed the “spring freeze that hit certain wine-growing areas, recurring winds made worse by drought around the Mediterranean and damage stemming from frost” for the drop in production levels.

Champagne was one of the worst-hit regions after several bouts of spring frost and hailstorms which are forecast to drag output down by as much as a third.

An even larger drop in production is expected in the Loire Valley, where late spring frosts wiped out up to 30% of its harvest, according to an official report published by InterLoire. In some areas, temperatures dropped to as low as -6°C as frost bit across the Loire into Burgundy and down to Languedoc.

In the Loire, the worst affected areas were the vineyards of Touraine, Nantais and Sarthe, with losses of up to 80% in some communes.
In the Pic Saint Loup appellation of the Languedoc, sudden hailstorms last week devastated vineyards just weeks before harvest. According to online wine magazine Terre de Vins, up to 60% of production in the Pic Saint Loup AOC has been affected, with the communes of Lauret, Claret, Valflaunès, Sauteyrargues and Corconne all hit.

The combined difficulties faced by various regions in Franc means that it will once again produce less wine than Italy, which last year climbed to the top of the table to become the world’s biggest producer by volume.