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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.
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.