x
  • Country ranking ?

    191
  • Producer ranking ?

    5
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2030

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The Story

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.

 

Domaine Armand Rousseau is the largest landowner of the Chambertin vineyard with a total of 5.3 acres. The 32 acres of Chambertin Grand Cru represent some of the finest and most storied Pinot Noir acreage on the planet and with all producers included typically produces less than 60,000 bottles. Chambertin is the beating heart of the red Grand Crus of the Côte d’Or sitting high on the hillside and bordered by Latricières-Chambertin to the south and Clos-de-Bèze to the north.

Vinification: Grapes are meticulously sorted as they arrive in the winery. Following a cool maceration the must travels by gravity into barrel where it will stay for the entire vinification process lasting typically 18-24 months. Each Armand Rousseau wine is blended unfiltered.

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.

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Vintage 2020

In Burgundy, the harvest is over for most farmers. It has been a year with a lot of heat both in July and August. A huge problem this year has been leaf-thinning and canopy management. Those who have not paid enough attention to the leaf-thinning experienced problems with sunburned grapes.

In Cote d’Or, it is especially the heat that has been tricky this season. First and foremost, some grapes have been burned by the sun resulting in raisins that the critical winegrower will not want in the cellar. Secondly, too much sun for a longer period caused stress among the vines and thus shut down the ripening. The result is grapes that look ripe but are still not ripe in taste. On the other hand, the most critical winegrowers report of really good grapes in the winery. Producers up north in Chablis are also reporting a satisfactory harvest.

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Information

Origin

Beaune, Burgundy

Other wines from this producer

Chambertin Clos de Bèze

Charmes-Chambertin

Clos de la Roche

Gevrey-Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St Jacques

Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques

Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er cru

Mazy Chambertin

Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes

Inside Information

Long ago, a man named Bertin decided to cultivate the same vines in his field as those of the Bèze monks.

His wine was so exceptional that his vineyard came to be known solely in reference to him: Bertin's field, or, in French, 'Champ de Bertin', which over the years became 'Chambertin'.

The grapes for this Chambertin Grand Cru come from three vineyards in the east-facing Chambertin appellation, and from a fourth vineyard, ‘Larrey’, a north-south parcel at the edge of the woods. The layout of this vineyard is such that it can only be cultivated using a horse and plough.

The soil has a very high limestone content. At the top of the Clos it lies on Bathonien calcerous clay and halfway down on crinodial limestone and marl from the Bajocian age. The stones are spread out unevenly.

Chambertin is the wine of kings. Powerful, virile, concentrated with good structure. A wonderfully persistent mouthfeel with aromas of chocolate, liquorice and small red fruits.

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Highlights

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