Probably the most famous vineyard in French Burgundy is located in the Côte de Nuits part of the Côte d'Or, east of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Today, the domaine owns the best vineyards in the municipality of Vosne-Romanée; the vineyards cover a total of about 25 hectares. These are the Grand-Crus La Tâche and (the eponymous) Romanée-Conti as well as parts of the Grand-Crus Richebourg and Romanée-Saint-Vivant (but not the Grand-Cru site La Romanée ). The estate also owns the Grand Cru sites Echézeaux and Grands Echézeaux in the municipality of Flagey-Echézeaux, as well as parts of the Grand Cru site Le Montrachet (see under Montrachet). Incidentally, the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is the only exception to the rule in Burgundy that a vineyard may not be named after a site.
In the mid-13th century, the Benedictines planted the first vineyards in the commune of Vosne-Romanée and named it "Le Cloux des Cinq Journeaux". Until 1584, the vineyard was owned by the Roman Catholic Church, then it changed hands several times. In 1760, Louis-François de Bourbon (a Prince de Conti) acquired it, but it was not named Romanée-Conti until 1794, after the expropriation during the French Revolution. Towards the end of the 19th century, the le Villaine family inherited the estate. In 1942, the Villaine family sold half of the estate to the friendly Leroy family, and in 1950 Henri Leroy became the second managing director. He also kept his trading company Leroy S.A., which took over the exclusive distribution of DRC wines. His daughter took over the management in 1974 together with Aubert de Villaine (*1939). Due to long disputes, she left in 1992 and founded the famous Domaine Leroy in Meursault.
The most famous vineyard, Romanée-Conti, is only 1.8 hectares in size. It is consistently cultivated according to the guidelines of biodynamic viticulture. The soil consists of brown limestone marl with a thin layer of humus. The current vines were planted in 1945. Around 7,000 bottles of red wine are produced here every year. The wine is made from pure Pinot Noir; the best vintages need decades of storage. Grapes from three vines are needed for one bottle of DRC wine. The secret of quality, however, is based on many facts. These include the great age of the vines, extreme planting density with 10,000 vines/ha, rigorous thinning, strictest control of the grapes, yields of only 25 hl/ha, maceration in old wooden vats from 1862, no filtration and new barriques for ageing every year.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is one of the best and most expensive wines in the world. For ten-year-old vintages, you have to spend at least $ 1,500, which are constantly increasing in value. Until 1989, all wines from the Domaine were only released in closed batches (12-pack). So you only got one (only) Romanée-Conti if you accepted eleven other bottles. The famous English writer and novelist Roald Dahl (1916-1990) characterised the wine effusively with the words "Taste it! Drink it! But never try to describe it. Impossible to do justice to such a pleasure with words."
The Indonesian wine merchant Rudy Kurniawan, known as "Dr Conti", sold fake wines as old vintages of Romanée-Conti and was sentenced to ten years in prison for it.