There are more startling complexities in the 2005 Romanee-Conti than in any other wine here today, perhaps in the vintage. A stunning, high-toned and utterly unique perfume of pink grapefruit, blood orange, tangerine rind, vivid rose petal, musk, cinnamon, sage, and cassis seduces the olfactors in kaleidoscopic rotation. I hesitate to court sacrilege or ridicule with Germanic allusions but it is impossible not to imagine a great Pinot scented with Gewurztraminer and Scheurebe. On the palate, a pure, clean meatiness emerges, like butchering a meadow-fed lamb, bitter-sweet flowers flying forth in an inner-mouth profusion. Soy and black truffle lend a dark, savory note to the proceedings, leading the long finishing procession over a path strewn with rose petals. Fear not: despite its silken texture, there are abundant tannins woven into this amazing tapestry as well, and I am sure those lucky enough to own some can retain it as collateral, then leave it to their children, safe in the knowledge it has not decayed. Reverential drinking after a dozen or more years would, however, be my preference. 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.