Jean-Claude Boisset

2006 Santenay 1er Cru 'Clos Rousseau'

Pinot Noir •Santenay Premier Cru Grand Clos Rousseau

France: Burgundy

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Mission Codename: Inspector Rousseau?

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure a delicious Premier Cru Burgundy from our friends at Jean-Claude Boisset

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Jean-Claude Boisset

Wine Subject: 2006 Santenay Premier Cru Clos Rousseau

Winemaker: Gregory Patriat


The Santenay appellation is the southern most region in the Cote de Beaune and lies just about 12 miles south of Beaune and just to the west of the village of Chagny. There are several Premier Cru vineyards in the appellation and today’s selection comes from the Grand Clos Rousseau, the southern most of the Premier Crus with great southern exposure, its relatively flat rolling hills, lighter soil composition and mild climate produces year after year of exceptional fruit.

The Burgundies of Santenay are known for their exceptional purity and being true to its varietal character with a distinct terroir component.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Clear garnet with sparkling bright ruby red reflections that fades to brighter ruby, then pink along the edges. Evenly spaced thin legs delicately ring the glass when swirled.

Smell – Medium in intensity with pure and elegant aromas of bright and ripe cherry, other red fruit including raspberry and strawberry layered over soft earthy notes and subtle oak and floral hints.

Feel – Extremely smooth, this dry medium-bodied wine balances its brighter acidity with velvet fine medium tannins that lets the pure fruit really shine though.

Taste – Slightly earthy terroir driven fresh red cherry with sweet ripe raspberry and subtle strawberry notes elegantly layered over subtle notes of spice, subtle and soft oak and a slight touch of vanilla.

Finish – Medium in length, extremely clean that fades effortlessly with lingering red fruit, earthy notes and a touch of soft oak.

Conclusion – The 2006 Jean-Claude Boisset Santenay Premier Cru Clos Rousseau is a lovely and pure Burgundy that truly reflects the simple, subtle grace that defines this region and varietal. Elegant soft aromas and pure flavors, a soft terroir driven structure and a clean finish makes this wine perfect for enjoying at a lingering French style lunch and complemented a salad Nicoise as perfectly as any wine we’ve recently reviewed.

Mission Report:

… December 2008 – East Central France, Côte-d’Or department …

We began the day early as we wanted to hit the Route des Grand Crus with lots of time to enjoy the food and especially the wine. Zipping through the back roads from our safe house in Bar Sur Aube(south end of the Champagne region) to Dijon at this hour was fast but just outside of Dijon, we started to hit the normal business day traffic. Thankfully, the GPS devise in my handheld spy communicator quickly re-routed us around and soon we were headed south through some of the finest vineyards in all of Burgundy.

The N74, or Route de Dijon as its known officially but wine aficionados know this as the Route de Grand Crus. We slowed down and started taking it all in. The names of each commune and village familiar to anyone who has spent time in the French section of a good wine shop. The vineyards, this time of year, bare, with a slight fog resting in the lower valleys, and along the tops of the hills to the west. A slight drizzle fell creating an almost surreal experience as the fog and low clouds moved with the weather exposing and then rehiding these prized vineyards.

After our lunch in Beaune, Agent Blush and I had the chance to explore some of the smaller communes that overlooked the valley and in particular, the historic village of Santenay with is many Premier Cru vineyards. Santeney is located just about a dozen miles south of Beaune. In addition to wine, Santenay is well known as a health resort for its natural spa waters. The wines from Santenay are truly representative of the purity, finesse and elegance that Burgundy is known for.

Quite simply, this is the life. While you may not have been able to join us on the Holiday in Beaune, today’s selection from Jean-Claude Boisset will at least give you a small bit of the flavor of the trip!

A votre sante!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Santenay in France’s Burgundy can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Agent White on the Route des Grand Crus, France.
True identity concealed.

About This Wine:

This appellation, immediately to the south of Chassagne-Montrachet, is the southernmost in the Côte d’Or…

Color: brilliant ruby red

Nose: prominent fruity notes, particularly cherry

Mouth: very silky and well-rounded, with an emphasis on refined tannins.

Origins: The Santenay vineyard area covers 988 acres – of which 304 acres are Premier Cru – spread over three distinct zones. Les Grands Clos Rousseau is the southernmost climat, and the vineyards continue around the Montagne des Trois Croix, offering a southern exposure which produces perfectly mature grapes year after year. This terroir has gentle slopes, and sits on fairly light soils in comparison to the tortuous variations of the Côte Chalonnaise.

Parcel-based selection and vineyard techniques: This wine is produced from a vineyard with very precise characterisics: restricted yields with drastic debudding,
cluster thinning if necessary, work on the soil, no fertiliser, and vine protection techniques which are friendly to the environment and other plant life. The Santenay vineyards are unusual in that the Cordon de Royat pruning method is used almost exclusively in the vineyards, even though Guyot still rules elsewhere in Burgundy. This
type of training reduces yields and aerates the vine leaves.

Vinification and aging: The grapes were picked at optimum maturity, sorted initially on the vines and harvested in small perforated boxes, then sorted a second time in the vat room, on a sorting table where ten people carefully examined every bunch that entered the winery to ensure only the highest-quality grapes went into our wine.

Next, the grapes were entirely destemmed but not crushed (they remain whole) and put into large wooden open-
top fermentors by means of gravity. Maceration lasted close to three weeks, with frequent manual cap

In accordance with our minimal intervention winemaking philosophy (that wine is made in the fields, not in the
cellar), no yeast, enzymes or tannins were added, so as not to detract from such precious terroir. The wine is
aged for 15 months in barrels without racking, using a fairly low proportion of new wood (only 20%). Lastly the
wine is bottled by means of gravity, without fining and only a very light filtration.

About The Winery:

Since 2002, Maison Jean-Claude Boisset has been transformed by Mr. Boisset’s son, Jean-Charles, from a traditional négociant into a viniculturalist, a cross between a viticulturalist and a vinifier. The result is the Jean-Claude Boisset collection of wines – Burgundy through and through.

From one of the best young winemakers emerging in France, Grégory Patriat, each of the appellations is the result of rigorous selection and has been produced in limited quantities. This is the way of things in Burgundy… handcrafted in meticulous detail, according to a philosophy of ‘letting the vine do the work’. A taste reveals our aim of striving for authentic wines in which human intervention has been kept to a bare, discreet minimum; the wines are concentrated, well-rounded, and natually, expressive of their terroirs.

The tale of our father, Jean-Claude Boisset, is unique in Burgundy, and is the foundation of the very spirit of the company itself. His remarkable story began in the early 1960s, in an optimistic, confident France. The son of schoolteachers, he founded his fledgling wine company – next door to Gevrey-Chambertin – at an early age. He had three main things on his side: optimism, tenacity and luck.
These assets were quick to stimulate his sales on the international market; first of all in Britain, followed gradually by Europe and later the United States. Throughout this time, he enjoyed the loving support of our mother.

Customer relationships were forged and grew through friendship and a common bond of wine. Our parents have been there for us throughout each of the important stages of our lives, and today they still remain true to the youthful complicity and single-mindedness which has lasted a lifetime! For each of us, it is an adventure to be lived to the fullest. and the family spirit still underpins everything we do. One generation follows another, yet the essential energy remains the same.

About The Winemaker:

Grégory Patriat has wholeheartedly and uncompromisingly subscribed to our vision for our wines. In 2002, he became Jean-Claude Boisset’s official viniculturalist. This role reconciles the two separate arts of vinification and cultivation, making him a link between the two stages – a kind of ‘midwife’ to the wine.

Grégory has the luxury of being able to choose his own grapes. He enjoys a symbiotic relationship with ‘his’ growers; that is to say, the ones who are willing to accept his drastic selection policy and uncompromising requirements. But Grégory’s own master is the wine itself, whose laws are absolute and tolerate no dissention. Grégory is a quiet, soft-spoken young man with the manner of a student but a maturity beyond his years. Anxious and serious, he makes far-reaching decisions with the casual air of one to whom inflexibility comes naturally.

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 100% Pinot Noir

Alcohol: 13%

Production: 250 Cases

Cellar: 3-10 years

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