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A subtle trace of wood frames the bright red pinot fruit and naturally spicy nose that is extremely fresh and this sense of vibrancy and freshness suffuses the rich, round and even more powerful lithe and tautly shaped flavors replete with the same energy and precision of the Ruchottes, all wrapped in a stony and perfectly balanced finish that seems to have no end. A stunning wine that should age for years and this is potentially the best CSJ that I have seen in the last 20 years.
With the 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques (which by its position in tastings here the Rousseaus conspicuously rate as grand cru) we arrive at the first wine that is matured in new wood. Pure, sweet, fresh black cherry fruit, marrowy and enveloping carnal richness, mysteriously enticing florality, low-toned, chalky minerality and accents of black tea and star anise are featured in this remarkably seamless wine. Meat, minerals and mystery dominate a finish that is profoundly layered yet preserves sheer palate-cleansing refreshment and positively vibrates with vividly fresh fruit intensity. Rousseau owns around one third of this great site, meaning that there are over a thousand cases of this phenomenal wine to ransack the marketplace in search of, then sock away for at least a decade and preferably two. It is always the last-harvested site, says Eric Rousseau, and in 2005 his roughly twenty veteran pickers could certainly afford to wait and richly rewarded us for it. 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.