2011 Ruchottes Chambertin Armand Rousseau



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£3,686.00
£1,844.00
£308.00
£308.00 DP

Average critic rating : 94.0 points

94

94

The 2011 Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru was aged in a judicious 10% new oak. It has an entrancing bouquet that is a serious level up from the Mazy and Charmes-Chambertins with pure fresh strawberry, raspberry and violet aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, sensual tannins and a fine line of acidity. This is silky smooth in the mouth, that prudent oak just giving it lift and sensuality. If I were buying 2011 Rousseau, my money would be spent here. Drink now-2025. ||The man, the legend himself, was sitting in the entrance office. Charles Rousseau, now in his ninth decade, looked gaunter than when we last met two or three years ago, but what a privilege just to see him enjoying the summer rays. I tasted through the 2011 with vineyard manager Frederic Robert, whose candid answers I always appreciate when tasting through their portfolio, especially since it is easy to succumb to reputation at this address. The 2011 is the first vintage with a redesigned bottle now embossed with the domaine name to prevent fraud. He also spoke about their new 1.3-hectares of vine from Chateau de Gevrey that is tentatively called “Clos du Chateau” or something similar. However, he admitted that there is much work to do in the vineyard since around 25% to 30% of the vines are missing and were replanting last October. “We started to pick early on the last day in August as spring had been so hot,” he informed me as we broached the subject of the 2011s. “It was a ripe vintage with more acidity if you compare it to 2007 but the wines are more balanced. It is more a vintage for restaurants than for aging.” Given that this is one of my favorite producers in the Cote d’Or, I have to admit that the Village and Premier Crus were lacking a little stuffing and precision compared to their own impeccable standards. In a way, I do not mind that since Rousseau always expresses the strengths and weaknesses of a vintage, which is something to be admired. Plus, on one or two occasions, I wonder whether they should have dialed down the new oak, in particular with the Clos-de-Beze that seems unable to handle the wood nearly as well as the Chambertin. Still, there are some beautiful wines here in 2011 and a quick barrel tasting of 2012s revealed joy to come. eRobertParker.com.August, 2013

Armand Rousseau: The Importance

Critics unilaterally acknowledge that some of the most definitive terroir expressions of Pinot Noir in Burgundy are produced at Domaine Armand Rousseau's winery.

 

This much is sure: The best among six grands crus and three premier crus chez Rousseau (meaning above all their Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Beze, Gevrey—Chambertin Clos St. Jacques, Ruchottes-Chambertin, and Clos de la Roche) are icons of Burgundy terroir,” writes Robert Parker, while Clive Coates MW refers to Rousseau as: “one of the small number of Burgundy estates to which I would unhesitatingly award three stars.”

 

It is the most renowned estate in Gevrey-Chambertin and for Antonio Galloni: “The Rousseau wines are distinguished by their extraordinary transparency to site and overall finesse, making this cellar a must-stop for Burgundy fans who want to understand the essence of Gevrey’s most important vineyards.”


Armand Rousseau: The Insight

Domaine Armand Rousseau’s reputation is inextricably intertwined with the prestige of Chambertin, where Rousseau owns more vines than any other grower. This is the most culturally emblematic red Burgundy vineyard, with one of the most distinctive and easily recognisable characters in every vintage. Noted as the only wine Napoleon ever drank in his time as Emperor, to overstate the sheer cultural significance of Chambertin would be impossible. For Clive Coates, “as far as Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Beze are concerned, you could even argue that there is Rousseau, and there are the rest. There are few finer domaines in the Cote d’Or than that of Armand Rousseau.”

 

With holdings throughout Gevrey, the domaine benefits from many other prestigious red Burgundy terroirs, such as the monopole of Clos des Ruchottes, which within the domaine has been treated as a flagship wine, producing excellent quality across vintages.  With 2.5ha of forty-year-old vines, Armand Rousseau owns more here than anyone else. The size of their holdings, combined with the domaine’s experience with the vineyard, which spans three generations back to 1921, goes some way towards explaining the wine’s critical acclaim and undisputed celebrity. To quote Robert Parker: “the three grands crus nearest the village of Gevrey – Ruchottes-Chambertin, Mazy-Chambertin (known by other growers as Mazis-Chambertin) and Clos de Beze – are uniformly superbly situated. First among equals is Clos de Beze, as demonstrated by the fact that wine grown here can be labelled simply Chambertin, but the converse is not permitted. Alluring scents of rose petal and liquorice over a base of deep black cherry are typical manifestations of these great sites."

 

Rousseau’s Premier Cru Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques vies with the Grand Cru Chambertin wines as the crown jewel in the vineyard collection. Though it is now ranked a Premier Cru, Jules Lavalle ranks this exclusive clos in Gevrey Chambertin as “Premiere Cuvée” in his 1855 classification of the vineyards of Burgundy, as does Camille Rodier in the subsequent classification of 1920, while modern commentators such as Clive Coates commend Clos Saint-Jacques as “the equal of a Grand Cru” both in price and quality. Rousseau is the largest holder in this important Premier Cru and that the Clos St Jacques is so often put forward as a candidate for promotion to Grand Cru status is largely down to the quality of the Rousseau bottling.

 

For the most part, demand for these wines is so strong that they are invariably allocated as opposed to being actively sold. Prices have risen steadily over the past decade, and there is no real reason to suggest that they will stop: the combination of rarity and outstanding quality is not without effect.
 

Armand Rousseau: The Background

Armand Rousseau assembled a remarkable collection of vineyards in the first quarter of the last century and was a pioneer in estate-bottling. Eric Rousseau took over after the death of his father Charles in May 2016, representing the third generation at the Domaine.  For many wine lovers Charles was a point of reference, having been the face of the Domaine since 1959. However, not much is set to change from a winemaking standpoint under the young Eric, though Clive Coates speculates that bottling dates may be moved forward by a few months compared to the past.

 

Practices have hardly changed in three generations, with triage exclusively in the vineyards (not the press house); the inclusion of whole clusters and stems; precocious malolactic fermentation; a reliance on older barrels; and an eventual light plaque filtration – this is red Burgundy as it should be.



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