2013 Chambolle Musigny Les Cras Domaine Georges Roumier

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Average critic rating : 92.0 points



The 2013 Chambolle-Musigny les Cras has a very reticent, broody bouquet that does not want to come out to play. The palate is vibrant and focused with wonderful chalky tannins, citric acidity and a long, lightly spiced finish that fans out with vim and vigor. This should be very satisfying once in bottle, although I wager that it will deserve more cellaring than Roumier’s other 2013s. ||“Christophe Roumier. Christophe Roumier. Où-est Monsieur Roumier?” Hmm…who’s this interloper? I’m just about to be served his Chambolle-Musigny les Cras? Christophe apologizes and goes to see what this stranger wants. Etiquette dictates that you don’t just wander in off the street into a winery calling the winemaker’s name and to be honest, he seems to have no inkling who Christophe Roumier is. It transpires that he is chauffeuring a minibus of Japanese Burgundy-lovers who would like Christophe to step outside for a photo session. “Fame, fame, fatal fame,” as the song goes. Who would want to be a pinup winemaker in this day and age? I guess it is the debt you pay for creating such exquisite wines in such tiny quantities year after year. Request politely refused, I suggest he signs a few signed photographs in advance.|As usual, I found Christophe to be uncommonly and refreshingly candid in his analysis of the latest vintage, at one point suggesting that the 2013s are not long-term wines because they lack the substance of say, the 2012s. |“I like the freshness, the fact they express the terroir,” he remarks. “Wine made to be drunk. They are short-term, not for long keeping.” |Having tasted them, I would not quite brush them off quite so lightly, but I know where he is coming from. They are mainly crisp, fresh and tensile wines focused upon tension and poise rather than immense structure or fruit concentration. Roumier’s wines have modest ambitions, but ambitions none the least. |“The malolactics finished the end of August and we start racking today,” he tells me, today being November 6. “I was worried about the ripeness of tannins. We knew from blooming there was a lot of millerandage. We could see how small the pips were and so the tannin potential would have to come from the skins. So the concern was to have ripe tannins. We saw that the crop was uniform and as the season went on, we could see everything was ripe in the skins with grapes bearing high malic acid. We had dry days and then rain, so the inflating and deflating of berries meant that the skins were sometimes fragile. The harvest was October 5-11. We did less pigeage and pumped over instead since there was a high skin to juice ratio and I used some whole bunch. The acidity was the same level as 2012 but there is more alcohol in that vintage and so you don’t feel it in the same way. I chaptalized between 0.8 and 1.2 degrees.”|Then with a pensive thought, Christophe made a frank comment one rarely hears…one tinged with regret… |“Looking back, I would have harvested two days earlier. The ripeness would have been the same, but there would have been less rot.” |I think he was being a bit hard on himself, because as I immediately replied, there is no sign of any rot on his barrel samples. Maybe it would have relieved some stress just prior to picking, but I suspect that it would not have made much difference to the wines. His 2013s are crisp and tensile, quite linear but fresh, not terribly fruit-driven but with just a couple of exceptions, wines of texture with biting acidity in a positive sense. Occasionally, I found them vaguely reminiscent of a red Loire from a top grower and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense. Christophe’s wines are imbued with a sense of honesty and precision, yet having tasted at this address for a number of years they do not achieve the heady heights of other vintages. Hence, my prudent scores for this “Holy Grail” domaine that might raise the hackles of those who believe such growers can do know wrong. It is not a question of “wrong," more a question of a grower who is happy to reflect the vintage, both the ups and downs. The one exception is, sadly, the same one impossible to obtain: his 1¼ barrels of Musigny, whose terroir really shone through in the silky, irresistible Grand Cru that put its head above the rest. This year it is not Christophe’s most elusive wine. No, no, no! That accolade goes to his Corton-Charlemagne, of which there are just 150 liters after poor flowering and hail. Readers should note that although it will be bottled the middle of November, the 2013 will be for private use only, or maybe to share when the next minibus or Roumier-fans turn up at his gate. eRobertParker.com.December, 2014

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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