A lover of the great Pinot Noirs that Burgundy gives in Gevrey-Chambertin almost knows the great performers and knows that, among all, the Domaine Armand Rousseau stands out as the most important, thanks to its deservedly legendary fame. For those who do not know it, it is enough to say that the masterpieces that, every year, this winery gives birth to have acquired a prestige so high that they are all allocated even before the official marketing.
It all begins at the beginning of the 20th century when the young Armand joins the lands inherited from his family to those brought in dowry by his wife, following his marriage in 1909, giving rise to the original nucleus of the Domaine, including the cellar and the vats, in the oldest part of the country. Armand strongly believes in the potential of those lands and, with the profits of his trade in bulk wines, he dedicates himself to acquiring small portions of increasingly prestigious lands from which he obtains the first wines to be sold bottled and privately labelled. At the death of Armand, his son Charles will carry on the Domaine expanding the export activity to new markets, in the 60s and 70s, both European and extra-European, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and finally Asia (the US market had already been opened by his father in the 1930s). Since then, the Domaine has not stopped growing qualitatively, thanks to Charles’ son, Eric (1982), and his niece Cyrielle (2014), also undertaking a path of conversion to a model of ecological cultivation and low environmental impact.
Among the 15 hectares of vineyards of the Domaine, all in the appellation of Gevrey-Chambertin, with vines of an average age between 40 and 50 years, planted at a density of 11,000 vines per hectare, figure one third of the climat Clos Saint Jacques, whose name is linked to the discovery of a statue of Saint James, buried in his lands, and the presence of a chapel dedicated to him, on one of the famous paths to Santiago de Compostela. This Clos belonged, until 1954, to the Count de Moucheron, a monarchist who refused to submit it to the plots classification operated in 1953 by the INAO (which he considered an excessively republican institute) and that, for this reason, was excluded from the classification of the Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée. Today that Clos is unanimously considered a “masked” Grand Cru, and the wine Rousseau make there is one of the most coveted of their entire production. This Pinot Noir, obtained from vines that grow on soils rich in clays and limestone, with a yield of less than 300 grams per plant, upon its arrival in the cellar undergoes a selection, on a special sorting table, and the total destemming. After a cold maceration of five to seven days the must travels by gravity in barriques where it will remain for the entire process of vinification of the average duration of 18-24 months, before bottling without filtration and marketing.
The 2006 vintage shows a ruby color with streaks that begin to veer towards garnet, with an olfactory fan that opens on notes of black cherry, red currant, medicinal herbs and pot pourri, followed by red orange, vanilla, clove and black pepper, with conclusive empyrumatic and bloody/ferrous echoes. The palate, after a fresh and spicy rush, glides on softer and more savory taste, with delicate and elegant tannins to cadence the sip; all enriched by the return of red fruit and hints of blood/ ferrous that persist even after a juicy and long closure.
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