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Domaine Georges Roumier: The Importance
Robert Parker commended Christophe Roumier, nextdoor neighbour of Domaine Mugnier, early in his career for “bringing his family’s already famous domaine to a singular level of excellence through an exemplary application of intelligence, sensitivity, and hard work.” These attributes have undeniably been proven true. “Whenever I meet Christophe Roumier,” writes Neal Martin, “I get the impression of a Burgundy superstar in the eye of a storm. Around him, the world over, Roumier is the Holy Grail for collectors bidding astronomical sums for bottles that bear his family name,” adding that “only the super-rich now have the privilege of tasting the wines.”
More recently Steve Öhman has acknowledged Roumier as “one the very top producers for decades, and it’s hard to recall or even find evidence of a disappointing wine or vintage from this domaine.” Allen Meadows is a particularly enthusiastic fan of the domaine, stating quite simply that Roumier produces “some of the very best wines in Burgundy,” and regularly awarding near-perfect scores to the wines of all vintages, be it the 1928 Bonnes Mares, or the 2009 Musigny.
Domaine Georges Roumier: The Insight
Roumier produces some of the world's finest Pinot Noir, in particular four red Grand Crus: Ruchottes Chambertin and Charmes Chambertin in the Gevrey Chambertin; and Musigny and Bonnes Mares in his native Chambolle Musigny. “For Chambolles with a difference,” writes Clive Coates, “wines which are substantial, even sturdy, as well as velvety and elegant, the best source is the Roumier domaine.” The largest Grand Cru in Chambolle Musigny, bordering Morey Saint Denis’ legendary Clos de Tart Grand Cru Monopole to the north of the commune, Bonnes Mares is Roumier’s most celebrated wine. Roumier’s historic 1.4 hectare slice of 40-year-old vines is widely accepted as a perfect example of terroir expression. At the southern end of Chambolle Musigny, Roumier holds three and half hectares in the equally celebrated Musigny Grand Cru, which is also closely associated with Roumier’s rise to fame. As Neal Martin comments, “I vividly recall the moment when tasting his Musigny 2005 from barrel and he had just started receiving blank checks for any bottle he could spare. Roumier’s name was about to go from the esteemed to the iconic, with all the positives and negatives that it entails. So, whenever I have the opportunity to taste Christophe’s wines I grab it.”
Domaine Roumier also makes one single white wine, but this is no mere side project: the grapes come from 0.2 hectares in the legendary Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru – enough to fill 100 cases in an average vintage. Similarly unique and even more rare is the red Premier Cru Clos de la Bussière in Morey Saint Denis, held as a Monopole since its 12th Century monastic origins, and owned in its entirety by Roumier since 1953.
Almost equally as excellent are Roumier’s Premier Cru holdings, each of which produces unique terroir expression in Christophe’s hands. First and foremost in Chambolle Musigny is Les Amoureuses, which is adjacent to Musigny Grand Cru and widely regarded as the commune’s finest Premier Cru. This is complemented by Les Cras Premier Cru and Combottes Premier Cru (bottled as a single vineyard since 2005), while the youngest vines get declassified to Roumier’s outstanding Chambolle Musigny Villages and Bourgogne Rouge presenting an incredible opportunity to learn the terroirs of Chambolle in the hands of an eminently scrupulous winemaker.
The wines here are amongst the most sensual expressions of Pinot Noir. Seductive and brightly energetic in youth, they are capable of many years of ageing, though sourcing mature red Burgundy from this tiny domaine is always a challenge.
Domaine Georges Roumier: The Background
Antonio Galloni observes that Christophe Roumier is “normally tougher on his wines than his clients are.” This is hardly surprising given the steep road to success that the domaine has climbed since Christophe’s grandfather Georges began bottling his own wines in 1945. To quote Clive Coates, “Roumier is one of the longest-established estate-bottling domaines in the Côte D'Or. And one of the very best of all.” The transition from share-cropping to vineyard ownership has been difficult, and still Roumier does not own all his vineyards. In 1996 this caused a problem when Christophe and his sister Delphine lost control of their holdings in Clos Vougeot Grand Cru to their cousins Alain and Hervé who now label the wine at their own Domaine Laurent Roumier.
In the cellar, Christophe’s fermentations are slow, extracting maximum tannins from healthy skins. New oak never exceeds thirty percent, and since 1993 none of the wines have been fined or filtered before bottling.
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