5 minutes with Noah May opens a hitherto sealed case of La Tâche 1978

5 minutes with: Noah May opens a hitherto sealed case of La Tâche 1978

Our wine specialist shares a once-in-a-career opportunity to inspect a case of a wine that represents a ‘Holy Grail’ for collectors

‘The wines of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti are some of the rarest and most sought after on the planet,’ explains Noah May, a specialist in the Wine department in New York. The Domaine’s legendary Grand Cru vineyards produce wine in small quantities, which, says May, makes them ‘the Holy Grail for lovers and collectors of fine Burgundy’.

La Tâche is a Monopole vineyard, meaning it only has one owner, rather than several, as most vineyards do in Burgundy. This is one of the two greatest wines the Domaine makes, and 1978 was its finest vintage of the latter half of the 20th century. ‘Finding a single bottle at auction is rare,’ says May. ‘Finding a full, unopened case like this is something that only happens several times in a career in wine.’



Wine specialist Noah May discovers the case is in exemplary condition. The wines have been stored in a perfect environment since release


Before this inspection, the twelve bottles were enclosed in a wooden case reinforced by a metal band, leaving the wines to rest in peace, without disturbance. ‘There is always a fraught moment when you open a case of rare, mature wine of this quality and value,’ reveals May. ‘Adrenaline kicks in — will the bottles have survived the test of time and be in good condition at almost 40 years of age?’

Thankfully, this case is in exemplary condition. The wines have been stored in a perfect environment since release. The levels are high into the neck and the colour is appropriate for age: a reassuring light ruby that catches the spring light.



La Tâche is one of the two greatest wines made by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and 1978 was its greatest vintage of the latter half of the 20th century


‘This is a superlative case of La Tâche 1978, and is one of the highlights of our April auction, indeed our year,’ May says as he removes one of the bottles for inspection. ‘This promises to be a superlatively fine, fascinating wine perhaps approaching peak, and very possibly with years of life ahead.’

 


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