“My story is much too sad to be told, but then practically everything leaves me totally cold…”
Actually, I don’t know the entire story, in fact I know very little about the actual story, but when I saw this bottle, I and probably everyone else probably cried. Here is one of the most famous wines internationally acclaimed and now it is just a curio, a bottle that will never be opened and this particular bottle that should have been truly worthy of being the nectar of the Gods, is probably the most expensive bottle of red-wine-vinegar known to man. This may be the worst example of ullage I have ever seen. Ullage is the Anglicized version of the French word ouillage and it has a couple of meanings, both kind of similar in the big picture with wine. To put it in easy-to-understand layman’s terms, it is the amount of air space between the wine in the bottle and the cork that I am going to discuss, the other meaning is for the evaporation of wine in a barrel while it is aging, before bottling and normally the winery “tops” the barrels with additional wine to keep the barrels full, to prevent oxidation.
If you look at a normal bottle of wine, especially in the older bottles, there was a lead capsule that was applied over the cork and bottle, to further hinder the evaporation of wine if the cork became porous. On an average bottle of wine, the wine actually is filled up to the bottom of the capsule, if not above that line. This particular bottle is called a Jeroboam and is equivalent to six standard bottles of wine, just compare it to the normal wine bottle at its side. I would venture to say that this bottle may have lost the equivalent of a bottle of wine, as the wine is down to actual slope of the shoulder of this bottle and a Burgundian bottle has more of a graceful sloping shoulder compared to a Bordeaux style bottle that most people immediately think of, as the classic wine bottle profile.
The Societe Civil du Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, or DRC is Burgundy’s best-known and most collectible wine producer. DRC is based in the village of Vosne-Romanee and the domaine sells wines from eight different Grand Cru vineyards the span the length of the Cote d’Or. While saying that, there are a total of twenty-eight hectares almost entirely Pinot Noir, except for three white (Chardonnay) Grand Cru vineyards. The Society was created to save the vineyards by skirting the dreaded Napoleonic inheritance laws at that time, and has basically stayed within the realm of one family. Richebourg is one of six Grand Cru vineyards in the village of Vosne-Romanee. The wines are noted to be the most opulent with dense fruit and very long cellar life. Unfortunately, I am sure that this bottle will just enjoy the rest of its days as a decoration in a wine cellar.