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January 1, 200898 A positively kaleidoscopic nose features a wonderful panoply of spice and fruit aromas that offer something new and different with every sniff. The rich, full and utterly classic flavors are a study of the harmonious liaison of refinement and power that culminate in an explosive and driving finish that is even longer than that of the Clos St. Jacques yet it sacrifices nothing in terms of balance, harmony or transparency. A strikingly good wine packed with upside potential. While pronouncements of this sort are always fraught, it's possible that the 2005 Bèze could one day rival the best Rousseau Bèze ever (in my view), which is the legendary 1962. Time will tell but it at least has a shot.
April 200796-98 The 2005 Chambertin Clos de Beze offers alluring aromas of licorice, mint, vanilla, plum paste, cherry preserves and rose petals, and seduces the palate with silky, incredibly refined texture and several octaves of fruit, herbal, floral and mineral notes, leading to a reverberative finish in which fruit pit and stony, chalky elements lend a sense of dark, weighty authority and an umami-like, meaty savor promotes uncontrollable salivation. No layering or mixing of metaphors can hope to do justice to the layering and concatenation of flavors on display. With Eric Rousseau taking over increasingly from his father Charles, bottling may end up being slightly earlier than in the past, but such routine features as triage exclusively in the vineyards (not the press house), the inclusion of whole clusters and stems, precocious malolactic fermentation (although in 2005 and 2006, at least, Rousseau says he didn’t force this), reliance on older barrels, and an eventual light plaque filtration for all wines remain as before. Given the long-running success of these Pinots in subtly yet insistently conveying the distinct personalities of their sites and standing the test of time, some might well ask “why change the recipe?” while others will wonder whether the wines could be made even better. In any event, nature conspired to hand the new generation a vintage of historic dimensions.
International Wine Cellar
March 200895+ Good full red. Briary raspberry, dark cherry and menthol on the nose, along with a medicinal reserve. Powerful and thick on entry, then quite closed, even medicinal, in the middle, without the exotic character that this cuvee often shows in the early going. Quite closed today but this utterly seamless, superrich wine boasts superb structure and grip. Wonderfully long and pure on the back end, with strong but perfectly integrated acidity. Give this impeccably balanced wine 12 years.