Neal Martin - 28/04/2016
About this WINE
Emmanuel Rouget, a tractor engineer by training, was given a job by his uncle, the legendary Henri Jayer, in 1976. Uncle Henri instilled an unbridled enthusiasm and knowledge of winemaking in his young nephew and in 1985 Emmanuel set up on his own operating out of cellars in Flagey. He took on vines from Henri's brother, Lucien, in Echézeaux and Vosne-Romanée on a share cropping basis, which in effect meant that Emmanuel worked the vines and vinified the wine, and then gave half the wine to Uncle Lucien, while keeping the other half for himself. Rouget’s son Nicolas has joined his father and another, Guillaume, is showing interest.
By 1996 Emmanuel was producing wines from the vineyards of three of his uncles - Henri, Lucien and Georges, as well as from the vineyards of the Michelin star chef, Jean Crottet. By and large, Emmanuel has remained faithful to the techniques employed by Henri Jayer - namely an insistence on ultra low yields, a pre-fermentation cold maceration and the maturation of the major wines in 100% new oak barrels. The grapes are sorted both in the vineyard and again in the cuvérie, before being destalked and fermented after a cool pre-maceration. Emmanuel Rougeot favours pumping over ahead of punching down. The wine is matured in barrels from Francois Frères and Taransaud. One year old barrels are used for Bourgogne Rouge, 50% new oak for Vosne Romanée but 100% for Savigny-lès-Beaune, Nuits-St-Georges and the crus.
His wines are now very highly rated and keenly sought-after by connoisseurs worldwide. They continue broadly in the same style as those of Henri Jayer without perhaps touching the same heights – it may be a question of meticulousness, or just of green fingers – though they can still be breathtakingly good, and continue to command high prices in secondary markets. They are luscious, red-fruited wines with a perceptible oak aspect.
The terroir is varied, with different climats having diverse soil compositions and microclimates. The soils comprise limestone, clay, and gravel, contributing to the wines’ complexity and character. The variations in terroir result in wines with distinct nuances and expressions.
The wines are exclusively made from Pinot Noir grapes and are known for their depth, richness, and complexity, often exhibiting aromas of red and dark fruits, spices, earth, and floral notes. These can age gracefully for many years, developing more intricate flavors and textures with time.
Many esteemed and well-known wine producers have vineyard holdings in Échezeaux, contributing to the region’s reputation. Some of the most prestigious producers craft exceptional wines from this grand cru vineyard. Due to its Grand Cru status, however, the wines can be relatively rare with the combination of high demand and limited availability, making them highly sought-after amongst collectors.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.