Chambertin – Domaine Armand Rousseau
Chambertin gained a reputation from the patronage of Napoleon I, who is rumoured not to have drunk anything else and watered down his Chambertin with plenty of water. He favoured it at five to six years old and never drank more than half a bottle with a meal. When the ex-Emperor was exiled on St. Helena, he was forced to drink claret, since that was easier to ship to the isolated island.
The Rousseau Domaine was started at the beginning of the 20th century by Armand Rousseau who, at his majority, inherited several plots of vineyards in Gevrey Chambertin. The Domaine premises with the living house, the storing places, the cellars and the winery, are situated in the oldest part of the village, near the 13th century church.
From 1959, after Armand Rousseau's death, Charles Rousseau was at the head of a Domaine of 6 ha which he continued developing rapidly thanks to his great knowledge in oenology, and his experience, by acquiring new vineyards, especially in "Grands Crus" areas. He decided to turn principally towards export, and, after the USA where his father had already starting to sell his wines right after prohibition at the end of the 30's, he developed the exchanges first with Great-Britain, Germany, Switzerland, soon afterwards to all European countries, then to Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, Brazil, etc. and lastly Asia in the 1970’s.
His son Eric joined him at the beginning of the 1980's to take care more especially of the vineyards and the vinification. In 1993, Corinne, Charles's elder daughter, after many years of professional experience in export abroad and in France, came back to the Domaine and in her turn took in charge the commercial relationship with customers.
In short, 2005 promises to be a great year for aging, as generous in quantity as in quality. The period of vegetative rest which extends from October to February was marked by a winter slightly more rigorous and longer than the previous years, with normal rainfall and overdrawn sunning except in January. The pruning took place from November to March and there was no winter treatment. ‘Débourrement’ was around April 20th.
The renewal of activity of the vine occurred towards the end of March and the beginning of April, and the relatively fresh and disturbed climatic conditions were rather unfavorable to its development. At the end of April, a radical change in time provoked an explosion of vegetation and the delay in maturity compared to 2004 was entirely filled.
The dryness, which started at the beginning of June, was accentuated during all August.
Flowering, engaged quickly, found its apogee from the 6th. to 10th. June. From mid-June to the end of month, the bays grew bigger very quickly because of the hot weather, and the ‘veraison’ began the first days of August.The harvest, begun on the 14th of september, proceeded under excellent conditions, with the weather as with the quality of the extremely healthy, beautiful bunches and in sufficient quantity. All these ideal conditions gave a very beautiful harvest.
Consequently, wine making was done in good conditions and lasted from 15 to 18 days. After a light cooling of the tanks at the beginning of ‘cuvaison’ (until a temperature of 15°C), alcoholic fermentation started naturally.
The maximum temperatures were relatively moderate (28°C to 33°C according to the tanks) and did not require any intervention to control the parameters. The extraction was done in a very soft way, with a little less intervention (pigeages and remontages) than usual. Malo-lactic fermentation, which started quickly, finished in AprilMay. The sugar level was high with a better acidity compared to the previous years, giving a very good balance. The first racking was carried out in September 2006.