Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2012
Burgundy writer Clive Coates refers to this Grand Cru as perhaps the finest red wine in the world. Always a tour de force, this wine has uncanny balance. It is very structured, dense, and powerful, it has firm, ripe tannins, yet it is not heavy. It has uncommonly long length on the palate.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Profound aromatics with great depth, layers of flavours and richness on the palate. An imposing wine with a very long finish.
Tasted blind at the annual "Burgfest" tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Chambertin Grand Cru has a touch of mint on the nose, complementing the mixture of red and black fruit, a pastille-like purity developing with time. This is very charming and the oak is neatly folded into the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, the acidity perfectly judged and lending the tension and poise one expects from a Chambertin. It does lose a little intensity in the glass but it's from such a high point it is neither here nor there. This is a wonderful Chambertin.
Each of the domaine’s prestigious holdings is in Gevrey Chambertin, with the exception of Grand Cru Clos de la Roche in Morey-St. Denis. The domaine controls a remarkable 8 hectares of Grand Crus, including 6.25 acres in Chambertin and 3.45 in Clos de Bèze. Rousseau owns 5.5 acres in the famed Premier Cru Clos St. Jacques, which accounts for 40% of the total acreage and 100% of the 2.5-acre monopole, Grand Cru Clos des Ruchottes.
In August 2012, following the purchase of Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin’s vineyards by its new Chinese owner, Louis Ng Chi-sing, chief operating officer at SJM Holdings in Macau, its management was entrusted to Eric Rousseau of Domaine Rousseau. The five-acre property, which includes the Chateau, is comprised of small plots of the grand cru and premier cru ‘Chambertin’ vineyards, while the balance is Gevrey-Chambertin AOC.
Eric Rousseau is adamant that yields should be severely limited to promote faithful expression of the individual vineyard. The wines age in barrel for 18 months before bottling. Rousseau releases its wines exactly two years after the vintage.
This small village is home to the Grands Crus in the farthest northerly stretches of Côte de Nuits and is famous for some of the deepest and firmest Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Gevrey boasts nine Grands Crus, the best of which are arguably Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. As with all of the fragmented vineyards of Burgundy, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the two, which are situated adjacent with Clos de Bèze slightly further up the hill than Le Chambertin. Clos de Bèze has a shallower soil and if you’re really counting, may produce wines less intense but more likely to charm. Some compare Le Chambertin in both power and plentitude only to the prized Romanée-Conti Grand Cru farther south in Vosne-Romanée.
Two other Grands Crus vineyards, Mazis-Chambertin (also written Mazy-) and Latricières-Chambertin command almost as much regard as Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The upper part of Mazy, called Les Mazis Haut is the best and Latricières-Chambertin offers an abundance of juicy fruit and a silky texture in the warmer vintages.
Other Grands Crus are Ruchottes-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin.
The most respected Pinot Noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin are robust and powerful but at the same time, velvety and expressive: black fruit, black liquorice and chocolate come into play. After some time in the bottle, the wines are harmonious with bright and sometimes candied fruit, and aromas of musk, truffle and forest floor. These have staying power.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”