Clos Saint Jacques 2016 Shoot Out – Domaine Armand Rousseau versus Domaine Jean Marie Fourrier…

Clos Saint Jacques is one of Burgundies most famous Premier Cru vineyards situated in the village of Gevrey Chambertin. The vineyard was named after a statue of Saint James that had been placed in the area, as it was a resting point on the way to Santiago de Compostella, the destination of the ‘Way of St. James’ pilgrimage.

It was split up and sold in 1954 by the Comte de Moucheron to four producers. One of these producers was Henri Esmonin, who at the time of the sale was the metayage for the vineyard and bought 1.6 hectares. The other producers were Armand Rousseau, who purchased 2.20 hectares, the Fourrier family who purchased approximate 1 hectare, and Domaine Clair-Dau who purchased 2 hectares.

Clos Saint Jacques vineyard directly north of the village.

Today, this 6.7 hectare vineyard with five strips running from the top to the bottom of the vineyard, are currently owned by five different producers. Sylvie Esmonin, the granddaughter of Henri Esmonin, holds 1.60 hectares. Bruno Clair and Maison Louis Jadot own 1 hectare each, which was split between them from the land purchased by Domaine Clair-Dau. Domaine Fourrier holds 0.89 hectares.

(Both bottles tasted were barrel samples)

Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint Jacques 2016, Burgundy

A wine that is wonderfully bright, lifted and perfumed, loaded with red cherry, cranberry, pink musk, cherry candy and sappy lipstick spice. Classically proportioned, this profound wine’s palate is dense and concentrated, packed with cherry pith, red plum and red bramble berry depth. Impressive classic finesse and textured, balanced length highlight this wine’s pedigree and signature class that is rarely surpassed within this appellation. Another breathtaking example from this Domaine. Drink from 2022 to 2045+

(Wine Safari Score: 96-97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Domaine Jean Marie Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint Jacques 2016, Burgundy

Always a dense, fleshy expression, this 2016 retains a more classically weighted style, showing cool graphite, earthy red berries, bruised red plums, cherry coulis and a sweet, saline liquorice spice. The palate has all the hallmark Fourrier concentration, opulence and overt fruit flesh, yet the wine never looses its coiled spring tension and nerve. Lovely balance and a fine tannic core, this is a delicious Clos Saint Jacques expression with impressive depth and breadth. A very impressive wine. Drink from 2020 to 2038+

(Wine Safari Score: 95-96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Verdict: Two very impressive wines, both almost as good as any Grand Cru’s tasted from the 2016 vintage. For me the Armand Rousseau remains unsurpassed, combining freshness, precision, structure, and depth. Some how they manage to marry amazing concentration of fruit and classical liquid mineral intensity. Not a cheap wine, but worth every penny. Rousseau takes it by a head…

Domaine Armand Rousseau ~ The Producer Every Burgundy Lover Wants in Their Cellar…

After Domaine de la Romanee Conti, there is probably a small handful of Burgundy producers that every collector wants in their cellar. Close to the top of this list has to be the wines of Domaine Armand Rousseau.

While connoisseurs can’t drink Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru too regularly, regardless of whether they can afford it or not, primarily due to scarcity, some of Rousseau’s other Grand Cru’s like their Clos de Beze, Clos de la Roche and Charmes-Chambertin are both slightly more affordable and more easily available in the broader market.

Specifically, the appellation Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru is made from grapes in Charmes-Chambertin and also Mazoyères-Chambertin. The word “Charmes” in Burgundy refers to the ancient cultivated fields in wasteland. In Burgundy, “Charmes” has the same meaning as “Chaumes “.

The word Mazoyères originates from the small shacks where the winegrowers stored their tools in the vineyards. Mazoyères rests on Comblanchien limestone with a shallow gravel layer that comes from the alluvial cone of the Combe Grisard. The higher level of the Charmes-Chambertin plot rests on entroqual limestone and the lower level on Comblanchien limestone, allowing for a more supple, giving wine with lots of finesse and elegance to be produced. 

The East facing 1.47 Ha of Armand Rousseau’s Charmes Chambertin vineyard

Armand Rousseau Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2015 (Barrel Sample Tasted January 2017)

The nose of this majestic wine is laden with red and black berry fruits, salty cassis, cherry, cranberry, rose petal fragrance and complex spicy raspberry herbal tea nuances. On the palate, there is beautifully soft, fleshy, vivacious opulence with all the hallmark Rousseau purity, sappy spice, limestone minerality and seamless textural precision. Charmes-Chambertin is often regarded as a slightly under performing Grand Cru vineyard, but in some years like 2015, the the celestial stars align, allowing this appellation to deliver sublime Pinot Noir grandeur. The 2015 really is an especially impressive effort with the sweetest of tannins, tantalising acids, and the purest of fruit. Getting your hands on some 2015 Armand Rousseau wines is undoubtedly going to be a challenge, but great rewards await if you are successful. (Wine Safari Score: 94-96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)