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Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
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Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.

2001 ROUSSEAU BURGUNDIES


The 2001 vintage in Burgundy seems to be rated as a workaday one,  better in the Cotes de Nuits than the south.  Regional Wines in Wellington recently ran a blind tasting illustrating nine wines from the esteemed and traditonal producer Domaine Armand Rousseau.  No jammy modern confections amongst these.  They are imported by Peter Maude Fine Wines,  Auckland,  and are sparingly available from specialist wine shops elsewhere.  Oak comments come from Remington Norman's The Great Domaines of Burgundy,  but to what extent they apply in lesser vintages I do not know.

My later inclusion of the 2003 Montana Terraces Pinot Noir in a reassesssment of the wines arose by chance,  but it proved well in-style.  It serves to illustrate that New Zealand's wine-export leader and largest producer of pinot noir is again leading the way,  in making good examples of specialist wines more generally (and affordably) available.

PINOT NOIR

2003  Montana Pinot Noir "T" Terraces Estate
2001  Rousseau Chambertin
2001  Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze
2001  Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin
2001  Rousseau Clos de la Roche
  2001  Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin
2001  Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques
2001  Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin les Cazetiers
2001  Rousseau Mazy-Chambertin
2001  Rousseau Ruchottes-Chambertin


2001  Rousseau Chambertin   18 ½  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $254   [ 100% new oak ]
Classic pinot noir ruby.  A voluminous bouquet showing deep aromatic florals (boronia-like with faint citrus blossom) overlain by nearly cedary oak,  on red and black cherries and small fruits.  Palate has that perfect crunchy cherry texture which is so hard to put into words,  but is the essence of pinot,  power without weight,  perfect acid balance,  long and satisfying fruit,  the richest of the Rousseaus,  but not a big wine.  Oaking is in better balance for this wine than some in the range.  Cellar 5 12 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Mazy-Chambertin   18 +  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $128   [ second-year oak ]
Pinot noir ruby.  Red and black cherries and vanilla florals in cedary oak in every detail this is so like the Chambertin proper,  it seems unnecessary to repeat the detail.  It is just not so rich,  and therefore seems a little new-oaky.  The hint of char on the oak reminds of some Central Otago wines.  Cellar 5 10 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Clos de la Roche   18  ()
Morey-St-Denis Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $137   [ second-year oak ]
Pinot noir ruby,  but one of the deeper (in this set still no great weight).  There isn't such a floral component to this wine,  when compared with the top two Chambertins,  but the depth of red going on black cherry is delightful.  The oak smells and tastes new,  noticeable in the blind tasting,  but the ratio of oak to cherry fruit is very subtle.  Beautiful medium-weight burgundy,  lighter than the top two Chambertins,  highly varietal.  Cellar 5 12 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze   17 ½  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $254   [ 100% new oak ]
Pinot noir ruby.  This year's version of the Beze is more oaky than several,  quite modern in styling,  vanillin,  with the oak very fragrant and potentially cedary.  Flavours are more red fruits and red cherries,  without quite the depth of the top wines.  The cedary oak continues right through the fruit and out to the finish,  a bit much for the weight of fruit,  but so fragrant it is attractive.  Cellar 5 10 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques   17 ½  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $197   [ 70% new oak ]
Good pinot ruby.  This is leaner wine,  but still in the top half of the Rousseaus.  There are suggestions of violets in the redfruits bouquet,  but like the Beze,  fragrant oak is noticeable too almost Rioja-like.  Palate shows fair cherry flesh,  but a hint of stalk and acid is noticeable,  when compared directly with the top wines.  More clearly the wine of a lean year,  therefore.  Cellar 5 10 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin   17 +  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $128   [ second-year oak ]
Pinot ruby,  but one of the lightest in this set of Rousseaus.  First impressions are of redfruits,  red currants,  raspberries,  cherries,  all 'cooler' in style than the top wines.  Palate is crisp,  clearly varietal,  but again the desirable black fruits don't get much of a look-in.  Acid is a bit noticeable in the red cherries,  and the whole wine is a little leaner again than the St Jacques.  Cellar 5 8 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Ruchottes-Chambertin   17 +  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $157   [ 20 - 30% new oak ]
Pinot ruby,  but one of the lightest of the set.  This wine stands out for its bouquet,  which is very floral and nearly perfumed,  with a hint of the carnations of Cote Rotie.  That translates on palate to a slightly more stalky red cherries flavour,  which has been skilfully balanced to subtle oak.  Even though it is lighter,  this will mature into a beautifully perfumed wine,  epitomising one kind of burgundy.  Cellar 5 8 years.  GK 02/05

2003  Montana Pinot Noir "T" Terraces Estate   17  ()
Marlborough,  New Zealand:  14%;  $33   [ cork;  in effect the 'Reserve' wine, when vintage quality allows;  6 days cold soak,  40% new oak all French for 12 months;  some batonnage;  www.montanawines.co.nz ]
Good pinot ruby,  though darker than any of the Rousseaus.  Freshly poured,  the wine is a little stalky.  Decanted and aired,  the first thing to say is how totally in style the wine is,  when sitting amongst the Rousseau wines in a blind tasting.  Bouquet is attractively floral,  showing buddleia and even rose characters,  amidst good redfruits and cherries grading through to some black.  Palate is clearly cherry fruit,  with appropriate oaking using a potentially cedary oak not too different from the Rousseaus.   Texture is fleshier than the Burgundy examples,  slightly stalky,  and not quite so totally 'dry',  but the nett impression is unequivocally varietal.  Attractive drinking,  and will cellar 58 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin   16 ½ +  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $72   [ no new oak ]
Pinot ruby.  Initially poured,  a little restrained,  apart from a whisper of VA.  Breathes up to clearcut varietal fruit,  with some violets and similar deep florals,  and attractive red and black cherry fruit in good ratio to older oak.  Palate does not quite sustain the promising bouquet,  the fruit seeming plain,  slightly stalky,  yet still clearly cherry-like rather than plummy.  A pretty good varietal statement,  for a village wine in a modest year.  Cellar 5 8 years.  GK 02/05

2001  Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin les Cazetiers   16 ½  ()
Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru,  Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $102   [ second-year oak ]
Pinot ruby,  but one of the lighter.  An elusive bouquet,  with some floral vanilla on redfruits,  sweet and charming,  but light.  Palate is one of the lean ones,  slightly oaky for the weight of fruit,  with suggestions of redfruits alone red currants and red cherries,  becoming a little acid as one drinks it.  More and better oak than the village wine,  but less fruit.  Cellar 3 6 years.  GK 02/05