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Average critic rating : 97.0 points
There are four barrels of the 2012 Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Cros Parantoux, the famous premier cru shared with Meo-Camuzet. It has a deeper and a relatively broody bouquet when compared to the Echezeaux, and here it refuses to open up. But one can detect real mineralite, a roiling intensity below. The palate is very harmonious, with a cashmere opening. The acidity is nicely judged and cuts through the swathe of rounded, corpulent red fruit. The finish is longer than the Echezeaux, with a spicy note loitering at the tip of the tongue.||I first came across Emmanuel Rouget’s wines in the late 1990s, a very respected name, albeit one that lay under the long shadow of the late great Henri Jayer. How could his nephew possibly follow in his footsteps? The general consensus was that Emmanuel’s wines could be great, but they lacked that Jayer “magic.” Speculation as to how much Uncle Jayer remained involved in the winemaking following his official retirement in 1996 and until his passing in 2006 fostered the notion it was Henri who kept one hand on the tiller. Personally, like many others, I found Emmanuel Rouget’s wines very good and occasionally brilliant, but more erratic and missing the flair that distinguished Jayer’s wines of the 1980s and 1990s. I first visited the domaine in the picturesque town of Gilly in Flagey-Echezeux back in 2006. The reclusive Emmanuel had a reputation of being difficult at times, though I found him amiable, the perfect gentleman, in fact. Returning in January 2013, the first thing that I noticed was I would be received not by Emmanuel, but his 22-year old son Guillaume. Did this constitute a changing of the guard? Guillaume’s first vintage was in 2009, his brother Nicolas joining one year later. I conjectured how much input they have had upon the wines vis-a-vis their father? As we descended into the cellar, Guillaume seemed wary and laconic, but he soon eased up as we commenced tasting through their 2012s from barrel, the wines due for racking just before bottling, probably in June. Quantities have always been small here, and in 2012 the domaine lost 50% of volume, mostly due to coulure during flowering. The harvest commenced around September 25 and finishing just over a week later, the fruit this year completely de-stemmed. I was bowled over by the quality of these wines. I was taken aback by their quality. They surpassed all expectations. Like always, I was hoping for some of that old “magic sparkle” and perhaps for the very first time upon visiting this address, I found it. Their 2012s are imbued with breath-taking precision, elegance and mineralite, and thankfully the label does not have to say “Cros Parantoux” to experience those attributes. Right down to the Bourgogne Rouge, their wines seemed totally harmonious, weightless and focused, each expressing their terroir with style and panache. They surpassed my expectations, and upon departing, I felt excited about their future. Is this a new chapter opening for Domaine Rouget? Maybe. In the meantime, bravo Nicolas and Guillaume. I think Henri himself would have been proud of these wines. Wine Advocate.February, 2014
Emmanuel Rouget: The Importance
Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin both describe Domaine Emmanuel Rouget as “one of Burgundy’s best kept secrets.” This is a surprising fact, given that Rouget is the nephew of Henri Jayer, who was widely considered Burgundy’s greatest winemaker in recent memory. After Jayer was forced to retire, the estate passed to his nephew Emmanuel, who has been honing his style and impressing critics across the board with wines from the historic but tiny Jayer holdings, where Neil Martin warns that “quantities have always been small.”
Demand for these wines has always been high, but over the last few years Rouget’s style has reached new heights, impressing Stephen Tanzer with his non-interventionist approach in the 2015 vintage “made totally naturally – that is, without any correction of sugar or acidity.”
Emmanuel Rouget: The Insight
Described as “mythical” by Jancis Robinson, the Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux, is the vineyard where Henri Jayer forged his unforgettable rise to fame, discovering its potential in the 1950s. “Jayer deliberately did not seek Grand Cru status for this vineyard, however warranted it might be, to save his nephew Emmanuel and family death duties” explains Jancis Robinson, and Allen Meadows reminds us that this Premier Cru is truly tiny at 0.7 hectares of 55+ year-old vines, adjacent to Richbourg Grand Cru.
For Allen Meadows, recent vintages from Rouget are “textbook CP [Cros Parantoux]” referring to the distinctive rich and intense style pioneered by Jayer in this vineyard.
“The best value of the Rouget wines is definitely the Vosne-Romanée,” writes Jancis Robinson, for whom the village wine here is “well worth the extra GBP 50 over the Nuits St. Georges.” Also notable is the Premier Cru Les Beaux Monts, yielding “wine which is rich and full, with considerable flair and perfume and a good acidity,” according to Clive Coates. Meanwhile, for Jancis Robinson the Echezeaux Grand Cru is described as “a definite step up from Les Beaux Monts.”
Emmanuel Rouget: The Background
When in 1996 Henri Jayer was forced to officially retire by the French government in order to keep his pension, he transferred the vines to his nephew Emmanuel Rouget and continued to oversee production. By the time of Jayer’s death in 2006, Rouget had gained a decade of experience working in tandem with Burgundy’s greatest winemaking legend.
The connection with Jayer is more than just mythology. According to La Revue du Vin de France, “The viticulture is done just as Jayer taught it: short pruning and reduced yields in the vineyard. In the cellar, first and foremost comes the respect for healthy grapes, without excessive maturity, so as to preserve the freshness and acidity of the Pinot Noir. Beyond all doubt, Emmanuel Rouget is the only true inheritor of the Jayer style.”
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