Searsons came up with a cunning plan to attract tasters to their recent annual fair; a vertical tasting of top Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques from Domaine Armand Rousseau.Vintages tasted ran from 1996 to 2005 and it was pure pleasure all the way.
Of all the wines, 2004 was the weakest, but all were fine and several were corkers; 2002 was a top vintage in Burgundy and the Rousseau wine showed it. With perfectly defined summer and berry fruit, impressive weight, almost perfect harmony, it can be enjoyed now in its last triumphant flush of youth but will develop lots of interesting secondary character over the next five years.
A little plumper, you feel the alcohol in 2003, but with tasty fruit, firm structure and great length nonetheless. In 1996 you feel a definite affinity with 2003; both having a round, slightly sensual touch. Rousseau’s 1996 is amazing, with just a hint of savouriness underpinning lots of still youthful fruit flavours.
There’s still loads of life ahead for this one but it may hold rather than improve and could well be at its best now. Also, 1999 still has lots of primary fruit and firm structure, and while it will hold for some years, is drinking well now.
Of course, 2005 is the wine most people are planning to lay down now. With slightly floral fruit aromas, well defined summer fruits, soft-ish tannins and great elegance, its harmony will ensure it evolves nicely but it may be a medium rather than really long term holder. The wines range from €100 per bottle (ex VAT) to €250 for 2005 and 1996.
As for bargains for these austere times, Italy’s Araldica Moscato Sec 2007 (€11 retail) was serious competition to a lot of high priced pinot gris; San Giorgio Primitivo di Salento 2006 (€11) was bang on for the money, with decent fruit weight and structure; Spain’s Campo Castillio Garnacha 2007 (€9) was fruity and good, while Borsao Joven Seleccion 2007 (€11) was flavoursome and quite lengthy; Argentina’s La Linda Estate Viognier 2008 (€10.50) has loads of classic honeysuckle flavours and should please Condrieu lovers on a budget.