2012 Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux Domaine Emmanuel Rouget

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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

Nephew of the brilliant Henri Jayer , Emmanuel Rouget farms the former holdings of the Jayer brothers in grand cru Echézeaux and the Vosne-Romanée premier crus of Beauxmonts and Cros Parantoux. Many winemakers proclaim Henri Jayer as an inspiration, but to Emmanuel Rouget he was a genuine mentor and stylistically the wines are similar.

After working part time for Jayer during school holidays, he joined the domaine full time in 1977, until starting out on his own in 1985. As Henri Jayer moved into retirement he started to work the vines of his uncle, along with those of Henri’s two brothers, Georges and Lucien.

The winemaking follows the methods of Henri Jayer: as with all great winemakers, the bulk of the work is done in the vineyards and intervention in the winery is minimal. The top wines are aged in 100% new oak. The end result is rich and lush Pinot Noir: a full-on style of red Burgundy, which commands high prices and ages well. His Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux is very much a cult wine.

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