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The monks of the Abbey of Bèze owned the Clos de Bèze in Gevrey-Chambertin, given to them in 630 by Amalgaire, Duke of Basse Bourgogne. They cleared the land and planted of the vines in what later became the "Clos de Bèze", a true Clos surrounded by walls.
The fruit comes from the Petit Clos de Bèze as well as from the Clos de Bèze, most of whiwh is located on the upper level of the appellation.
The soil is composed of scree particularly rich in limestone. The plot is located mid-slope on limestones from lower Bajocien and Maris Bajociennes. At the top of the slope, the vines grow from the loamy limestone of Bathonien. Gravel is uneven and the soil is less rich in phosphorous acid at the summit than at the base of the slope. The Clos de Bèze is often described as being the feminine alter ego of Chambertin. It has the elegance and the finesse of Gevrey-Chambertin.
It is a complex and tannic wine, deep in colour and long in the mouth. The aromatic palette is very rich and delicate with a strong presence of red fruits and oriental spices..It is older than Chambertin, but both are of great renown. It has more of a touch of subtlety, more elegant minerality than the Chambertin which is fuller and more powerful.
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.
“2019 is ‘the perfect storm’ of a vintage,” said Laurent Drouhin of top negociant house Drouhin, which owns vineyards in many parts of Burgundy. “We keep smiling because some wines will be great.” The mix included the hottest temperatures since the time of the Black Death 700 years ago (!), frost in April, rain in June, and no rain for nearly four months.
Drouhin’s harvest started on time on Sept. 13, and Laurent’s winemaking brother Frederic reports, “The first reds show an intense and beautiful color, good concentration, great balance and acidity and depth. The whites also show good richness with balance.” It’s a great year for reds, with slightly higher alcohol than usual.
The downside is very low yields. In just one April night, frost destroyed about 30% of the crop in Macon, though what’s left is making wines with good acidity and aromas.
Export company Le Serbet gathered reports from 65 producers in its portfolio, and head of marketing Peter Wasserman says the loss of grapes varies from vineyard to vineyard; in some places it may be as much as 50% to 60% lower than normal. Northern appellations such as Gevrey-Chambertin seem to have done best, down only 10%.
With less wine, you might predict even higher prices, but producers worry that this would drive away consumers.