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Burgundy wine ambassador Charles Rousseau dies

Charles Rousseau, son of Armand Rousseau who founded the eponymous Domaine Rousseau, has died aged 93.

Charles Rousseau will be remembered as one of the world’s great Burgundy wine ambassadors.

After graduating in oenology from the Université de Dijon in 1945, he went to work with his father, who in 1954 bought the parcel of Clos-Saint-Jacques in the name of Charles.

In 1959, following his father’s sudden death in a car crash, Charles Rousseau took over the Domaine Rousseau reins, continuing his father’s work by buying a number of Grands Crus: plots of Chambertin Clos de Bèze in 1961, 1989 and 1992; plots of Chambertin in 1983, 1990 and 1993; and the monopole Clos des Ruchottes in 1977.

Pre-empting the arrival of ‘high fashion’ viticulture, and using both English and German languages as well, he developed the commercialisation of wine, especially in the US, at a time when the majority of Burgundian winemakers sold to traders. ‘We affix our name on the label,’ he said, ‘we must be the best possible.’

A tireless ambassador of the wines of Burgundy, he was an lover and maker of Burgundy wines, one of the best of the 20th century. ‘A legend has died today but his wines are always there to make us dream,’ said Gérard Basset OBE MW and Burgundy critic for Decanter.com.

Charles Rousseau is survived by his son Eric, who manages Domaine Rousseau, and his daughter Corinne.


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