Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2011 0,75
Robert Parker 95PTasted blind at the Burgundy 2011 horizontal tasting in Beaune. The Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2011 from Rousseau was showing too much wood when I tasted it just after bottling. Whereas some 2011s from Rousseau seem to have been handicapped by that, others like this have shrugged it off. Here, it has a more generous bouquet compared to its peers, armed with lush red cherries, strawberry and cassis. The oak vanillin is noticeable but synced with the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with a plush texture. There is very good depth here and arresting purity – red cherries strawberry and candied orange peel that segue into a citrus fresh and vibrant finish with plenty of energy and race. Superb.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2012 0,75
Robert Parker 97PTasted blind at the annual "Burgfest" tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru has a scintillating, effervescent nose, the new oak beautifully interwoven into the complex red cherry, raspberry and pomegranate scents. There is wonderful definition here. The palate is very well balanced with well judged acidity that cuts a swathe through the structured red berry fruit. This is a serious Clos-de-Bèze reserved for long-term ageing. Quite brilliant.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 1999 0,75
Produced from 45-year-old vines, the 1999 Chambertin is medium to dark ruby-colored. It has super-ripe, talcum, and blackberry aromas that lead to a medium to full-bodied wine of outstanding depth. Loads of oak-laced black fruits can be found throughout its zesty, firm character.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2002 0,75
Robert Parker 94-96/100
Pine resin, sweet blackberries, and dark cherries are found in the nose of the 2002 Chambertin. Medium-bodied, its silky-textured character offers spice box, black raspberry, cherry, cassis, and notes of fresh herbs. This pure, noble, suave wine also possesses a prolonged, seamless finish that is loaded with additional layers of fruit. Corinne Rousseau stated that “it will age forever.”
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2003 0,75
Red cherries, super-ripe raspberries, fresh blackberries and spices make up the aromatic profile of the 2003 Chambertin. Medium to full-bodied and silky-textured in both the attack and mid-palate, this wine exhibits outstanding amplitude and depth. Assorted sweet black fruits are interspersed with a myriad of spices in its complex character. Its extensive finish displays copious quantities of firm, slightly rough tannin.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2005 0,75
Robert Parker 98/100
Rousseau’s 2005 Chambertin – assembled from four parcels, three of them in relatively cool, well-ventilated portions of this cru – offers high-toned aromas of plum distillate, tea and marzipan, but on the palate, chalk, raw beef, dried plum, bitter-sweet black fruits and roasted fennel flavors combine for a low-registered richness. This is the creamiest, plushest, most voluminous, and perhaps in the final analysis deepest wine of this year’s Rousseau collection, with a savory meatiness, chalky minerality and a well of fruit impossible to plumb at such an early stage in what will certainly be three or more decades of testimony to the true greatness of this famous site.With Eric Rousseau taking over increasingly from his father Charles, bottling may end up being slightly earlier than in the past, but such routine features as triage exclusively in the vineyards (not the press house), the inclusion of whole clusters and stems, precocious malolactic fermentation (although in 2005 and 2006, at least, Rousseau says he didn’t force this), reliance on older barrels, and an eventual light plaque filtration for all wines remain as before. Given the long-running success of these Pinots in subtly yet insistently conveying the distinct personalities of their sites and standing the test of time, some might well ask “why change the recipe?” while others will wonder whether the wines could be made even better. In any event, nature conspired to hand the new generation a vintage of historic dimensions.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2006 0,75
Robert Parker 93-94/100
The Rousseau 2006 Chambertin offers a gorgeous bouquet of roses, fresh cherry, nutmeg, and anise. Not at all weighty, it however offers caressing refinement of texture and luscious fluidity of well-concentrated red fruits and liquid floral perfume. Subtly smoky, meaty undertones gain prominence as the wine takes on air, and ineffable mineral notes emerge, too, as this finishes with lift, refinement, intricate interactive complexity, and lip-smacking generosity, yet not without an aura of mystery appropriate to this great site. No doubt the results will be worth following for a dozen or more years.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2009 0,75
Robert Parker 95/100
The 2009 Chambertin is breathtaking in its beauty. It boasts gorgeous textural depth and richness in its eternal, endless layers of fruit. This is a totally seamless wine that captures the style of the year and the personality of the vineyard. A sweet note of cassis lingers on the finessed finish.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 0,75
Robert Parker 93/100
Tasted blind at the Burgundy 2011 horizontal tasting in Beaune, you have to get past a little reduction on the nose of Rousseau’s Chambertin 2011 that is animally and feral, developing a strong estuarine influence - mudflats, kelp and sea salt. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp, slightly chalky tannins and fine precision. Grippy in the mouth and more masculine with a precise, mineral finish.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2012 0,75
Robert Parker 96/100
Tasted blind at the annual "Burgfest" tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Chambertin Grand Cru has a touch of mint on the nose, complementing the mixture of red and black fruit, a pastille-like purity developing with time. This is very charming and the oak is neatly folded into the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, the acidity perfectly judged and lending the tension and poise one expects from a Chambertin. It does lose a little intensity in the glass but it's from such a high point it is neither here nor there. This is a wonderful Chambertin.
Armand Rousseau Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2012 0,75
Intensity and volume are the first things that come to mind in the 2012 Charmes-Chambertin. Layers if blue/blackish fruit blossom in a wine that is beautifully textured and vibrant throughout. I very much like the intensity here. I tasted two different barrels of Charmes, both in different states of their evolution, which is why generally speaking I feel the wines aren't fully formed just yet.
Armand Rousseau Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2012 0,75
Robert Parker 94-96PThe 2012 Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes Grand Cru comes from the domain’s monopole: populated by one-third vines aged around 30-years and the remainder around 65-years old (see December issue for more details.) This year it sees 20% new oak. It has wonderful delineation on the nose with heightened mineralite from the limestone soils. The palate is medium-bodied with a precise opening. There is a wave of pure, clinically defined fresh raspberry and wild strawberry notes that dovetails into quite a stern, very linear finish. This is uncompromising at the moment, an aloof yet compelling Ruchottes-Chambertin that does not quite possess the completeness of say, Mugneret-Gibourg’s, but clearly as the substance to age extremely well.
The trajectory of Armand Rousseau has been phenomenal in recent years. In particular, after the beatified 2005 vintages, the most revered Gevrey-Chambertin producer suddenly found itself amongst the Holy Grail, one whose wines are sought and fought over from London to New York to Hong Kong and everywhere in between. As I have written before, Rousseau is one of my benchmark producers as no doubt it is for many. Rousseau has been the source of some of the greatest wines I have ever consumed: just peruse my write-up of a Ruchottes-Chambertin vertical in December’s issue as evidence. At the same time, part of my appreciation for Rousseau is that they do not try to cover up their wines that can occasionally wear their frailties on their sleeves. This imbues Rousseau’s wines with a sense of honesty and clarity, a reflection of a vineyard buffeted and enhanced by the vagaries of a capricious growing season from one year to the next. If you are lucky enough to participate in a vertical of Rousseau’s wines, then you experience the peaks and troughs, but never a bottle that tries to be something it was not born to be. I had already heard whispers of how good Rousseau’s 2012s were before my arrival and sure enough, tasting through their enviable portfolio, there are a clutch of quite brilliant wines destined to be fought over when allocations are released. And at the same time, I would argue that it is not as consistent as say 2005 or 2010, but would agree with winemaker Frederic Robert that they constitute a step up from the 2011s that I tasted six months earlier. “It was a quite difficult flowering because of the rain and cold,” Frederic told me. “Even July was cold and rainy. Then we had 6 or 7 weeks of sun from August. We started to pick on 20 September. We lost about 20% of the harvest mainly because of flowering and sorting, but we had to do less sorting than 2013. We de-stemmed around 90% of the crop and did a little chaptalization, but only by a very small amount. The old vines produced small grapes. We will bottle in July and so we will rack them one more time in March.” When I asked whether the 2012s reminded him of any other vintage, Frederic replied that perhaps the 2010 would make a good comparison, albeit without the same tannic structure. I would agree with this observation. Rousseau’s 2012 do err more towards the masculine side, unlike the more voluptuous 2009s, yet unlike 2011 there is more freshness, tension and vigor. Moreover, I cannot recall tasting Rousseau’s wines from barrel, whereby the individuality of each vineyard is articulated with such clarity. This year, each village, premier or grand cru is true to their respective characteristics, the hand of the winemaker much smaller than that of the vineyard.