Robert Parker 88
Rousseau’s 2008 Charmes-Chambertin " as usual, two-thirds of it from Mazoyeres " represents (also as usual) the slightly weak link in their collection. Cinnamon tinged fresh red cherry in the nose leads to a refreshing but tart and rather spare palate, with notes from barrel (even though these are one year old, not new) laid alongside rather than integrated with the red fruits. Touches of salt and chalk inform the satisfyingly juicy though not at all rich finish. Perhaps this will integrate or even fatten a bit before bottling, but I don’t fancy it being a wine to hold for more than 6-8 years. Eric Rousseau did not begin harvesting until September 28, but was finished already on October 4, with " as usual " the entire burden of selection placed on his pickers. The resultant wines prove that, as he puts it a oethey know what they’re doinga and sorting tables are unnecessary. Grapes came in between around 12% and 13.2%, were virtually all destemmed, and were only lightly chaptalized. Levels of malic acid were however higher even than in 2004, reports Rousseau, who compares the fruit with that of 1996, but does not finger the wines as strong candidates for long-term aging (a oelong terma " bear in mind " meaning upwards of 20 years in the context of a Rousseau track-record). When I tasted his 2008s in late February, Rousseau was planning to bottle them in March or April, a bit earlier than usual, although several struck me as relatively unformed. But then, his malos had finished by July " not late in terms of the vintage. (Unfortunately, I had only one chance to taste Rousseau 2007s: fleetingly, selectively, at a stage too early to merit reporting on in detail, although the trend was promising and Rousseau is keen on the results.) Importer: Frederic Wildman & Sons, New York, NY; tel. (212) 355-0700
Anticipated maturity: 2010-2018
Palish bright red. Candied cherry and raspberry lifted by minerals on the nose. Silky and perfumed, with lovely cut to the flavors of raspberry, flowers and minerals. Not at all overly sweet, but the tannins are on the light side. Rousseau noted that most of his 2008s have just started taking on color in the last couple of weeks, but this one seems a bit behind the rest. This is two-thirds Mazoyeres and one-third true Charmes, with the vines averaging 40 to 45 years of age.