Domaine Armand Rousseau is no ordinary Burgundy producer and the AOC Gevrey-Chambertin is no ordinary Village wine. Eight separate plots totalling 1.68ha and including declassified Premier Cru fruit from Perrières, Estournelles Saint-Jacques, and Craipillots are included and, like all the wines at Rousseau, yields are kept naturally low. There is no new oak in the Village wine and, regardless of the year, this always exhibits red and black fruits, superb purity of fruit and enough fine-grained tannins for the wine to cellar well for up to ten years, at least.
“For fifteen years the Emperor [Napoleon] constantly drank the same wine [Gevrey-Chambertin] , which he liked and which we believed was good for him."
Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène by The Count of Las Cases
Gevrey-Chambertin is the largest wine-producing village in the entire Côte d’Or with the wines typically deeper in colour, with more tannin structure and firmer in body than most red Burgundy. Thanks to the iron-rich clay soils the very best can develop into the richest, biggest and long-lived Pinot Noir - this of course depends on whether the vineyard is located on the steeper slopes or the flatter, richer soils.
Gevrey boasts an impressive nine Grands Crus, with the name of Chambertin retaining a regal omnipresence throughout its finest vineyard names. Chambertin-Clos de Bèze which has the right to sell its wines simply as ‘Chambertin’, and is also the only wine allowed to put the ‘Chambertin’ before (rather than after its own), is considered one of the greats. Quality-wise the next best is generally acknowledged to be Mazis-Chambertin with incredibly concentrated and fine wines, but a little less firm than Le Chambertin. The tiny Griottes-Chambertin, which owes its name to the grill-pan shape of the vineyard rather than the wine’s griotte (sour) cherry aroma, is lower down the slope and boasts a velvety texture and rich fruit reminiscent of Chambertin itself. Gevrey’s largest Grand Cru, Charmes-Chambertin is pure and seductive.
The wines of Gevrey-Chambertin are deeply colored. They have intense aromas of currants and other small red and black fruits, animal notes of musk and fur, and often a touch of licorice after some bottle aging. They are powerful, with balanced tannins, a soft mouthfeel and good acidity. These are generally robust wines.