Romanée-Conti: symbol of tradition and nobility

January 14, 2013

We should not be surprised that a single bottle of Romanée-Conti sometimes sells for $10,000 and more, for the Domaine Romanée-Conti (aka DRC) is one of the oldest and finest vineyards of Burgundy, France, and its wines, a veritable symbol of tradition and nobility.

Louis François de Bourbon, Prince of Conti

Louis François de Bourbon, Prince of Conti

In 1087—eight years before Blessed Urban II would call the nobility and chivalry of Europe to arms in the First Crusade—the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Vivant de Curtil-Vergy was officially restructured as a dependant priory of the famous Abbey of Cluny, some 60 miles away.

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In 1131, the acreage that would later become the famous Domaine, was deeded to the Priory by Hugh II, Duke of Burgundy. However, it was only in 1241—during the reign of Saint Louis IX, King of France—that the monks turned the acreage into vineyards. They cultivated these vineyards for almost 350 years, selling them at last to Claude Cousin, on February 19, 1584. With the passing years, the renown of the Domain’s wines increased and the vineyard changed hands several times, being purchased on July 18, 1760 by His Most Serene Highness, Louis François de Bourbon, Prince of Conti, head of the cadet branch of the French royal family.

Romanée-Conti wine

Romanée-Conti wine

From the days of the Prince on, the Domain’s Grand Cru wines were known as Romanée-Conti.

In 1776, Louis François Joseph, the last Prince of Conti, inherited the vineyards at the death of his father, but they were confiscated during the French Revolution, and the republican government auctioned them off to the highest bidder, Nicolas Defer de la Nouerre, in 1794.

Romanée-Conti vineyard

Romanée-Conti vineyard

In the mid-nineteenth century, like many European vineyards, the Domaine Romanée-Conti was affected by the phylloxera epidemic, but it was one of the last vineyards of Burgundy to replace the old blighted vines with new ones originating from grafts on to the blight-resistant American rootstocks. This reconstitution task was only completed after World War II, in 1947.

 

Brie and Portobello Mushroom Recipe: http://nobility.org/2012/01/19/brie-recipes/

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