Armand Rousseau founded his eponymous Domaine in Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits at the beginning of the 20th century. Through marriage, Armand had acquired several plots of vineyards in Gevrey Chambertin and gradually increased the size of the Domaine. He acquired vineyards in Charmes Chambertin in 1919, Clos de la Roche and Chambertin in 1920 and 1921 respectively, Mazis-Chambertin in 1937, Mazoyeres-Chambertin in 1940 and the esteemed Premier Cru Clos Saint Jacques in 1954. Armand Rousseau was one of the first in Burgundy to Domaine-bottle his own wines.
In 1959, Armand’s son Charles assumed control, followed by Charles’s son Eric Rousseau in 1982, who since 2014 has been ably assisted by his daughter Cyrielle.
Today, Domaine Armand Rousseau owns more than 15 hectares of vineyards in prime sites of the Cote d'Or. With 2.56 hectares, it is the largest owner in the fabled Chambertin Grand Cru, having increased its holdings with further purchases in 1943, 1956, 1983 and 2009. The Domaine also owns 1.42 hectares in Chambertin-Clos de Bèze.
Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin is often considered to be their greatest wine and typically is the most expensive, closely followed by the Bèze and St Jacques. The Domaine also produces a plethora of other outstanding wines such as the superlative Grand Crus of Charmes-Chambertin, Clos de la Roche and Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes, along with Premier Cru Cazetiers and Lavaux-Saint-Jacques and a village Gevrey-Chambertin.
Viticulture and vinification is traditionally Burgundian. The focus is on old vines and low yields to produce wines with depth, intensity and concentration and yet with the delicate fragrance and finesse that Pinot Noir is famous for.
The majority of the grapes are destemmed and then cooled prior to fermentation in stainless-steel vats with regular pumping overs and punching down. The wines are aged in barrel with typically the same percentage of new oak followed each year, except the Clos-St-Jacques which may vary depending on the year. For Chambertin and Clos de Bèze, 100% new oak is used and 20% new oak is used for Clos des Ruchottes.
The wines are the embodiment of elegant, precise and delicate Pinot Noir and age fantastically well to develop multilayered complexity with bottle evolution. Average annual production is 65,000 bottles — not much for a significant global following for these ethereal wines.
Drinking the wines of Domaine Armand Rousseau is often a magical experience. They are supremely well balanced with concentrated flavours, extraordinary complexity and finesse on the finish.
Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze and Clos Saint Jacques are exceedingly sought-after due to their limited production and exceptional quality, so any vintage fetches impressive prices at auction. Rarely seen but highly prized are their 1949, 1969, 1972, 1978, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2005 vintages.