This wine is produced within the Vosne-Romanée commune, specifically from the Grand Cru vineyard of Richebourg, an appellation itself, which is divided by 10 growers and is the third most sought after grand cru vineyard wines of the district (after Romanée-Conti and La Tâche) Lucien Le Moine is a small House of Grands Crus in Beaune. It is a two people operation established in 1999. The company buys grapes from several growers and is than responsible for the whole vinification process.
Climate and soil Similar to must of the Côte d'Or it has a semi-continental climate with a slight influence of the Atlantic Ocean. A humid spring, long, hot, sunny summer, a relatively warm autumn and a long cold winter. Heavy rainfall, hail or spring frosts can cause problems. Minimal Mediterranean influence. It is located in a slightly elevated slope (15%), with crumbly, marly limestone with limestone pebbles soil.
Viticulture and grape variety(ies) In order to claim the appellation Richebourg Grand Cru, wines not only need to be made from at least 85% Pinot Noir grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are permitted to a maximum of 15%) grown exclusively within the climat, but must also meet the strict production conditions specified in the appellation laws. These conditions are designed to guarantee the quality of the wines, and control such factors as vineyard management, maximum yield levels and the natural sugar and alcohol content of the finished wine.Planted during the 1950s, this 'grand cru' vineyard regularly produces small grapes, perfect examples of 'pinot fin'. It is not particularly precocious and likes to take its time to mature; a characteristic which can also be found in the cask, once the wine has been made! The grapes present a fine balance between sugar and acids, certainly at the origin of this appellation's character. Most producers practice organic viticulture and even biodanamyc as in DRC.
Vinification Richebourg requires very few tricks for it to express itself. There's no need to break up the cap or to control the temperature inopportunely. The most important thing is to have ripe grapes to start with, which is not difficult, given the low yields. This wine reacts well to new oak, which it can dominate completely. It is therefore regularly matured in new casks of french oak. Notes on vinification from the producers website:
We buy "by a friend" our oak from the Jupilles forest, we are maybe the only Winery in the world to age ALL our wines in this very fine oak, we produce our barrels "by another friend" with a slow toast on coals, personally adapted to the Crus and even to the years.
We age all the Crus on 100% of their lees: both whites and reds. We do gentle "battonages" (stirring) three to four times a month putting the lees in suspension in the wine, the wine than feeds upon the lees gaining in balance and complexity. We keep the wines on their lees until bottling never racking during aging. Still, since each year is different, we adapt these generalities to each vintage; so we can have some years without any stirring (2004) and some with stirring every week (2003, 2005).
We close our cellar in order to keep humidity and low temperature through spring, which allows us to push the malolactic fermentation late into summer. The natural CO2 associated to this fermentation protects the wines during the hot summer enabling us an extremely limited use of SO2.
Once malolactic is done we follow the maturity of each barrel, tasting it twice a month. Bottling takes place after a full moon (where atmospheric pressure is favorable), by gravity, Cru by Cru whenever a wine is ready.
All our wines, whites and reds are neither fined nor filtered.
As our wines are never pumped (no racking, no filtration, bottling by gravity...) the natural CO2 from the malolactic is present even in bottle. In fact we are looking for this presence as it helps protecting the wine in the most natural way. The CO2 protects the wine by closing it upon itself that is why ALL OUR WINES MUST BE DECANTED; With decanting CO2 will leave and the wine will show itself. If one has time decanting can be for a few hours, if not a few minutes: by pouring the wine into the decanter and moving it slowly allowing the gas to leave. (in http://www.lucienlemoine.com/about_us.php)
Scale of production and quality of wine Richebourg Grand Cru AC is only 8 ha in size, divided by 10 growers, most notably Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Gros family and Domaine Méo-Camuzet. The allowed maximum yield for the apelattion is 35hl/ha. In this specific case, Lucien Le Moine will only produce an average of 300 to 900 bottles per Cru. Richebourg wines are usually extraordinary, combining power with supreme elegance. The silky, velvety tannins are complemented by a minerality which adds powerful depth and makes this grand cru one of the most sensual and complex wines. Its purple colour reflects like a jewel the purity of Pinot Noir. The aromas are extremely complex and express an entire spectrum, the floral aspect is characterised by notes of peony, roses and violets, the spicy aspect by notes of licorice, vanilla and coriander, the fruit aspect by notes of red and black fruit (raspberry, black currant...), the vegetal aspect by notes of undergrowth, methyl, fresh cut herbs, the exotic aspect by notes of leather and musk and sometimes with notes of caramel and chocolate. It is a wine which with age becomes more and more earthy (humus, wet undergrowth) and wild (animal fur).