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.