Domaine Armand Rousseau is one of the grandest domaines on the Côte d’Or with impressive holdings of old vines in Gevrey-Chambertin. Over half of these are grands crus (or grand cru sites). The remainder are premiers crus with a smaller amount of village land. The estate was established in the early part of the 20th century by Armand Rousseau who died prematurely in a car accident in 1959. Following Armand’s death his son Charles assumed control almost overnight. It was Charles who further enlarged the domaine and created its world-wide reputation.
Since the 1990s Charles’s son Eric Rousseau has been at the helm. Eric’s logic for running the estate is quite simple: high-quality land with old vines and carefully-controlled yields. The vines here are kept as long as possible and this is reflected in the wines, which are made in a pale, medium-bodied and elegant style. Harvesting here is scrupulous and Eric likes to be in the vineyards to oversee the pickers as they select the fruit!
Rousseau wines are understated, particularly in their youth, but they nearly always appear to put on weight with bottle age, developing ever more exquisite and complex aromas with time. The three top wines, all of them highly sought-after, are the grands crus of Le Chambertin and Clos-de-Bèze and premier cru Clos-Saint-Jacques which has long been thought of as being of grand cru quality. The new oak barrels from which these three benefit are recycled after one vintage for use with the remaining grands and premiers crus and, after that, used to mature the village wines. This is a domaine governed by instinctive care and feeling for the fruit at every stage, and its wines command stellar prices.