The 2005 La Tache epitomizes the unique mysteries of Pinot (not to mention the character of a great site), with its aromas of game, musk, iris, star anise, vanilla, allspice, and naturally also an abundance of sweet, ripe, implosively tiny-berried fruit. Imagine a black Riesling. On the palate, a vivid freshness of fruit, pungency of spice and flowers, and melting away of what in point of analytical fact are abundant tannins, all engender an almost white wine dynamic of fruit-mineral call-and-response and clear, incisive penetration of flavors to every recess of the mouth. This is a T.R. sort of wine – you just don’t feel the stick. Once the grapes in these fabled vineyards had reached a potential alcohol of 13%, reports Aubert de Villaine, he was ready to pick, because conditions had seldom been so conducive to perfect ripeness (including that of the stems). It was all done in a week, commencing with La Tache and Romanee Conti, and finishing on September 23 with Romanee-St.-Vivant (and Montrachet, on which I shall report at a future date). De Villaine intended to bottle in March or April by gravity in six-barrel lots, as has become general practice here over the past decade.