Charles Rousseau (1923-2016)


Remembering that great character, Charles Rousseau. He was always an ambassador for the domaine that wore his father’s name, remaining on hand, in his office, chatting with all visitors, despite having long stopped working in the barrels…

Armand Rousseau
It has been said that if you want the safest route to a fine bottle of Chambertin, or Chambertin Clos de Bèze, then make sure that the label says…

Charles was keen to extend the domaine’s trade outside their small number of private clients. To that end in 1951 he found himself in London’s Victoria Station, two suitcases by his side. He first visited that very rare thing – an existing ‘foreign’ client – a director of the BBC, before setting about visiting as many companies as possible who might have an interest in his wines. He mainly chose his targets by looking through their windows to see if they already sold wine!
It was tough; his targets were happy, if rather bemused, to entertain Charles in their offices, but anyway they already bought their wine from Drouhin or Patriarche! The top-level négociants in this age were Drouhin, Faiveley, Bouchard Père and Thomas-Bassot – “Jadot was not yet regarded in the top-rank.” Unlike the domaine, the names of those London merchants have pretty much disappeared; Ward & Martinez, André Simon, Christopher & Co., Dolomore, JH & J Brooke, Bonne Portes and the Soho Wine Co. With a smile, and the hint of a wink, Charles says “You know, over the next 10 years or so, one-by-one they all appeared in my office, asking to buy the wines”.
Domaine Profile (2005)

A great example of the man in action – in his office!

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