2014 Nuits-St Georges, Emmanuel Rouget, Burgundy
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.
Nuits Saint Georges
Originally known as Nuits, or even Nuits-sous-Beaune, the town was happy to add the name of its finest vineyard, Les St Georges, in the 19th century. There are no Grands Crus, but many fine Premier Cru vineyards, the mayor of the time – Henri Gouges – preferring not to single out any vineyard for the highest status.The wines of Nuits-St Georges vary according to their exact provenance. Those of the hamlet of Prémeaux, considered to be part of Nuits-St Georges for viticultural purposes, are often on the lighter side.
The richest and most sought-after are those just south of Nuits-St Georges such as Les Vaucrains, Les Cailles and Les St Georges itself. The third sector, including Les Murgers, Les Damodes and Les Boudots are at the Vosne-Romanée end of the village, and demonstrate some of the extra finesse associated with Vosne.
Several domaines (Gouges, Rion, Arlot) now produce a white Nuits-St Georges from Pinot Blanc or Chardonnay.
- 175 hectares of village Nuits-St Georges
- 143 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). Best vineyards include Les St Georges, and Clos des Argillières and Clos de la Maréchale in Prémeaux
- Recommended producers: Gouges, Rion, Liger Belair, Potel
- Recommended restaurant : La Cabotte (small but stylish)
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.
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The 2014 Nuits Saint Georges Village, from vines located north of the village and matured in 30% new oak, has a tightly wound, mineral-driven bouquet that will need two to three years to open. The palate is well balanced with hints of blood orange infusing the red cherry fruit, velvety in terms of texture, mimicking a decent Vosne-Romane. This should turn out to be a stylish Nuits Saint-Georges from Emmanuel Rouget.
Neal Martin - 28/04/2016
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