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A more elegant and slightly more complex nose of red berry and blue fruit aromas nuanced with an array of subtle hints of game, spice, earth and underbrush leads to rich, intense and even more detailed flavors that culminate in a linear and driving finish that offers impressive punch and energy. Like the Mazis, there is a sleek muscularity here and a real sense of underlying tension on the explosive finish.
Rousseau’s 2005 Clos de la Roche offers a nose of ripe cherries, cedar and brown spices, a rich and expansive palate, and a sweet, pure, juicy finish of cherry, boysenberry, toasty, crusty pastry, hints of caramel, a whiff of wood smoke and a lick of salt. For purity of fruit and intensity allied to formidable extract and superb, lattice-like structure, it’s hard to beat this wine as a candidate for at least a couple of decades in the cellar, one to check up on in eight or ten years. 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.