My Wine of the Year - 2009 ROUSSEAU

Posted by Robert Schagrin

Bobby's Wine of the Year...
2009 Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin
A Window into the Singular Genius of Rousseau

It's worth noting that this "window" is very hard to find. Outside of DRC, there are no Burgundies that are more coveted.

This week has featured a fiercely individual tour of the world's greatest wines: a journey beginning in Sherry, continuing through Germany and finally arriving in Burgundy, the place where all roads lead (see sidebar for the recap).

The grand conclusion takes us to one of the most famous and coveted wine villages, to one of the most elite wine-world addresses, on the planet.

Today, I am honored to be able to present a well-sized parcel of Eric Rousseau's 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin at the lowest price in the nation.

Two things cannot be overemphasized: The heights that Rousseau is able to achieve even in his most humble "village" bottling and, second, the extreme rarity. Outside of the Domaine Romanée-Conti, there are no Burgundies that are more coveted or harder to find. Case in point: Currently, in the U.S. market, there appear to be a grand total of 19 bottles of this wine available.

The experience of a Rousseau is unmistakable: This truly is the magic of Burgundy, the combination of a certain texture, a certain weight, given buoyancy, style, finesse.

Clive Coates has a line on Rousseau that is apt: "What exhilarates me about Rousseau's wines is their concentration and their class."

The "holy trinity" of Rousseau's bottlings are the Grand Crus Chambertin, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze and the 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. In 2009, the prices begin at around $500; the Grand Crus are above $1,000 a bottle. Yes

Yet the genius, the style and class of Rousseau comes through vividly at every level of his winemaking. I've had simply too many great bottles of this wine to deny it - 1990, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2005. A small parcel of 24 half-bottles of his 1999 Gevrey became one of the hottest commodities in the store after we opened a few and were simply blown away.

The 2009 Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin is a show stopper. It is a blockbuster wine from a blockbuster vintage - this is signature Rousseau. It is rich and textural with layers of sweet and ample fruit, plentiful red and black cherry that develop elegantly into fresh and savory secondary notes while the soil and minerality of Gevrey emerge on the finish. Gevrey produces decidedly masculine wines and this is no exception, yet the tannins are silky and ripe.

The last few years years have seen a staggering increase in the demand for Burgundy. The great vintages always bring in a new audience - this happened with the 2005s and it's happening again with the 2009s. These vintages also tend to rekindle the interest in the longtime collectors.

All this to say that while Burgundy's market continues to grow, the region itself does not. It seems inevitable that these wines will continue to become more expensive and harder to find. I certainly can't say that this is a "last stop" for Rousseau in any reasonable quantity, but this is surely to become a rare, rare phenomenon. Frankly, it is already: The last time we were even able to do a limited email offer of Rousseau's wines was three years ago.

One of the many charms of the 2009 Burgundies is that they will have one of the widest drinking windows in the history of Burgundy. They are now, on release, simply beautiful - primary, vigorous, saturating. With age, they will only gain in grace, poise and complexity. For today's wine, it will be a challenge to find any point in the next decade or longer when this bottle won't be beautiful.

A quick word on allocations for today's wine: Please do give us your maximum request and we will do our best.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

2009 Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin