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This is the Domaine's only plot that is not located in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. Located on the village of Morey-Saint-Denis, it is a hard calcareoussoil, with a depth of barely 30 cm of soil and big stones which gives it its name. Clos de la Roche has the power and the richness of Morey-Saint Denis. Very expressive wine. Beautiful and elegant complexity.
Of all the villages of the Côte de Nuits, Morey-Saint-Denis is one of the most fruitful in terms of the number of its Grands Crus. The Clos de Tart, which remains a solely-held entity, was founded by the Cistercians of Tart in 1141. Since that date, it has been owned by only three families. The Clos Saint-Denis came on the scene in the 11th century, thanks to the fortress of Vergy. The Clos de la Roche and Clos des Lambrays are both semi-monopoles and both have long histories which have involved some adjustment of boundaries between Climats. The Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint-Denis were awarded their Grand Cru appellations on 8 December 1936, Clos de Tart on 4 January 1939, and Clos des Lambrays 27 April 1981.
Facing east or slightly south of east at around 250 metres above sea-level, these Climats may be seen as a southerly extension of the Grands Crus of Gevrey-Chambertin. First comes the Clos de la Roche, then Clos Saint-Denis followed by Clos des Lambrays, and finally Clos de Tart leading to Bonnes-Mares.
Limestone dominates in the Clos de la Roche where the soil is barely 30 cm deep with few pebbles but with large boulders which give the climat its name. In the Clos de Tart, scree-derived soils 40-120 cm thick cover the underlying limestone. The Upper part of the Clos des Lambrays is marly with claylimestone soil further down. The Clos Saint-Denis at the foot of the slope has pebble-free brown limestone soils which contain phosphorus (like Chambertin) and clay (like Musigny).
Diversity is to be expected as each Grand Cru has its own personality. To the eye, this wine is plain ruby, sometimes a bit darker. Veiled in strawberry and violet, the Clos de Tart offers both robustness and charm. Quite tannic when young, it softens with age while gaining in complexity. The Clos des Lambrays is a true aristocrat, fully rounded in youth and with added depth and gravity as the years go by. The Clos Saint-Denis impresses by its finely–tuned nuances – this wine is the Mozart of the Côte de Nuits. The Clos de la Roche is firmer, deeper and more serious, closely akin to Chambertin. Aromas of humus and truffle are often precursors to notes of small red or black fruits. A small part of the BONNES-MARES appellation lies in this commune, but the greater part is in Chambolle-Musigny. (See Fact-sheet No. 5).
Intense and full-bodied when fully mature, these wines have a densely tannic texture and an aromatic richness which makes them a fitting - and equal - partner for feathered game. They are perfect, too, with a rib steak and, for lovers of Asian cuisine, adapt well to the aromatic intensity of glazed poultry. Their supple but virile tannins go well with veal (braised or in sauce) and with roast or braised lamb. One must also not forget their invaluable affinity for strong-flavoured soft-centred cheeses.
Serving temperatures : 12 to 13 °C for young wines, 15 to 16 °C for older wines.
The climatic specificity of 2009 was illustrated by a generous sunshine and a few rainstorms. In addition, two episodes of hail (April and may) hit the major part of the Clos de la Roche as well as the Mazoyères-Chambertin (assembled and vinified with the Charmes Chambertin). The mini and maxi temperatures were almost always above normal ever since the beginning of April until the end of August.
The vine starts its development towards the end of March. The weather conditions at the beginning of April favour the growing and the different stages develop rapidly. The opening of the buds is early, and, at the end of April, the average stage is of 4/5 leaves. After a decrease in activity at the beginning of May due to lower temperatures, the return of sunshine allows a rapid evolution of the vegetation. The flowering is effective during the last week of May. Then, the vine continues its development between sun and rain and, at the end of June, the stage of the closure of the grape is reached. The veraison is takes place between August 15th. and 20th. according to the exposure of the plots.
Despite a combination of rain and high temperatures which could have brought mildew and oidium contaminations, the vines have been spared and, at the eve of grape-picking, the sanitary state is exceptional.
Harvest started on 7th. September with excellent climatic conditions. Grapes were very healthy, not much sorting was necessary except on plots which were submitted to hail in spring. Moreover, the beautiful climatic conditions from the end of august until the start of picking - except a short storm episode mid-august - favoured the maturity of the berries.
This year, Domaine Armand Rousseau innovated in keeping 20% of full grapes – except for Clos de la Roche – to pursue its perpetual research for optimal quality. Therefore, the small berries full of sun could liberate the sugar they contained progressively, and in this way, allowed the wine to increase its natural richness while keeping very good acidities.
Malolactic fermentations started at the end of November and developed rapidly. In fact, all cuvées but one had finished in January.
All these elements announce a vintage quite exceptional in quality together with good quantity.