One of the great Burgundian Domaines, based in Vosne-Romanée, owned jointly by the de Villaine and Leroy families, producing Grand Cru wines only: Le Montrachet, the monopoles Romanée-Conti and La Tâche, Richebourg, Romanée-St-Vivant, Échézeaux, and Grands Échézeaux. Its jewel in the crown, La Romanée-Conti, was identified as far back as the early 16th century by the monks of St-Vivant and was later sold as a vineyard called Le Cros de Cloux. By the 17th century it was known as La Romanée and stayed in the same family for four generations until it was sold to the Prince de Conti in 1760. It later became known as La Romanée-Conti but after it had been taken from the Prince during the revolution and sold on in 1794. By 1911 the de Villaine family had become heirs to this great vineyard, after which they name the Domaine. Romanée-Conti was bought by a Julien Ouvard in 1819 and sold by his heirs to Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet 50 years later. Duvault-Blochet's eventual heirs were the de Villaine family. In 1911, Edmond Guidon de Villaine became director of what was now known as the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, a half share was subsequently sold to friend Henri Leroy in 1942, who provided the finance to help further establish the estate as one of Burgundy’s great domaines. His negociant business, Société Leroy, was granted the distribution rights to the wines. In 1975, Henri’s daughter Lalou-Bize Leroy and Henri de Villaine's son, Aubert, were appointed co-directors of this most famous estate, each representing the interests of their respective families. In 1988 Lalou set up her own estate, Domaine Leroy, and in 1993 left Domaine de la Romanée-Conti as co-director.
Bourgogne or Burgundy is a wide-ranging generic appellation in eastern France that has been planted with the vine at least since Roman times, the earliest archaeological evidence coming from 2nd Century A.D. The region, now spanning up to 28,000 hectares, owes a lot to the work of Cistercian Monks in the 11th and 12th Centuries, particularly in the Côte d'Or, who were responsible for identifying some of the finest vineyard plots still in existence today. The appellation is large, stretching between the cities of Auxerre in the North and Lyon in the south and includes Chablis, the Côte d'Or (from where hail some of the world's finest examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), the Chalonnais, Maconnais and Beaujolais. Chardonnay is the main white grape planted, though there is still a fair amount of Aligote to be found if an ever decreasing amount, as well as tiny proportions of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Beurrot. For quality reds Pinot Noir is the dominant grape and the only permitted variety for the "Bourgogne Rouge" appellation controlee, there are plantings of Gamay too, though, which can be blended with a minimum one third Pinot Noir to make "Bourgogne Passetoutgrain." There is also the rarely seen Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, which may include the Pinot Noir, Gamay, César, and Tressot varieties. This appellation also exists for whites, allowing a blend of Chardonnay, Aligoté and Melon de Bourgogne. Being such a big area style can vary enormously: From the steely, minerally white Bourgognes near Chablis to the rounder, more buttery offerings in the Maconnais. Very fine and extremely good value examples of red and white Bourgognes are made by many of the high quality estates in the Côte d'Or, the designated "Bourgogne" vineyards here being on the flatter less well-drained terrain the other side of the RN74 road to the villages and 1er Cru appellations. Some Bourgogne Rosé can also made be made but this is a tiny fraction of the red and white wine production.