There is still some unabsorbed wood present on the notably ripe yet brooding nose that evidences a superb range of spice elements along with fresh black currant, plum, earth and game nuances. The superbly concentrated and overtly powerful big-bodied flavors are even bigger, richer and more mineral-inflected than those of the imposingly scaled ‘05 Clos de Bèze while delivering a full frontal palate assault on the hugely long finish. The Rousseau style is one of refinement and elegance and that is true even with this most masculine of burgundies yet in 2005 it would be fair to call this wine butch, as it’s definitely built along the lines of a ‘take no prisoners’ style. As one might reasonably intuit from the description, this is nowhere near ready and I would not expect it to be for at least another 15 years and 20+ would not surprise me. A monument in the making. Drink 2030+
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.
I was frankly quite surprised to find the Chambertin almost as expressive and every bit as broad aromatically as the Bèze as the nose is equally kaleidoscopic if featuring a more deeply pitched set of fruit aromas and more earth. The flavors are bigger if not finer with serious power and weight on the rich, full and driving finish that possesses an exuberant underlying sense of energy, all wrapped in a core of rock solid but ripe and balanced tannins. Like the potential of the Bèze, this too has a chance to ascend as one of the top vintages ever typified by such years as '34, '49, '52, '62, '66 and '91. Arguably the Chambertin of the vintage.