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Profile: Maison Remoissenet Père et Fils (Beaune)

remoissenet pere et fils

Remoissenet Père et Fils, is an old and established name that is slowly and quietly carving out a new name for itself – as a producer of good reds!

Founded in 1877, this unusual and interesting company was run for about 30 years by Roland Remoissenet from a stunning 14th century building in Beaune – externally there is not much to see, but on the inside it’s very special. Roland Remoissenet’s last 10 years at the helm were hardly the zenith of quality wine production, so in 2005 when, at the age of 75 he decided to retire, the company was sold to the New York financiers and developers Edward and Howard Milstein, together with Maison Louis Jadot and Toronto-based Halpern Enterprises. It was expected that the change should herald an improvement! It was reported that the Milsteins took the majority shareholding on a total sale price of around €10m. Included in the sale, was the firm, its vineyards and cellars – and what cellars – it was reported that over a million bottles of Burgundy from 1950 to 1990 were included. If so, the purchase price was rather cheap – that’s only 10 Euros per bottle!

Remoissenet Today

Apparently Roland Remoissenet was a dashing figure with quite a personality – by all accounts a hard act to follow – the new face of Remoissenet today is Bérnard Repolt. Bérnard, who was previously president of Louis Jadot is an engaging and witty character to spend time with and provides all the anecdotes that you can never print, I think he is probably a more than adequate replacement for Roland! Bérnard is responsible for well over 200,000 bottles per year of production – and of course those cellars.

The content of the cellars is impressive, but it’s not all diamonds; amongst the old Richebourgs and bottles of Roumier Bonnes-Mares and de Vogüé Musigny bottled by Remoissenet there are even interesting large-format bottles of 1978 bourgogne, but you might also find walls of 1992 Santenay which I assume is a little more difficult to place! There has been some criticism of older wines for their apparent youth and inferences that the bottles are not 100% pinot noir. Bérnard is very open when discussing this point, and although he was never part of the team that either made or procured the wines, he makes two simple points:

  1. The wines are what they are, and reflect the era in which they were produced – but no-one around today could tell you anything about the what was put into the bottles.
  2. The important fact to consider for those that claim the wines ‘too young to be believed’ is that the wines have only ever rested in one place since they were made – storage has been impeccable

This market for older wines is very different to that of their normal annual production; bottles are mainly purchased by enthusiasts rather than merchants, but Bérnard reports the trade is interesting and that he is comfortable with selling around 3-4% of these reserves per year. I have heard from various sources that the wines vary from amazing to so-so, but clearly even if the contents are only ‘interesting’, a large part of the experience comes from thinking about what was happening in the world when those grapes were harvested in 1959 for instance…

The amount of wine sold by Remoissenet is out of all proportion to their sales of older bottles and their vineyard holdings, which amount to just about 2.5 hectares of Beaune 1er crus, including Marconnets, Bressandes and Grèves. Volume is augmented by significant négoce purchases, but also Remoissenet exploit the Lanvin family holdings in the Côte de Nuits and represent Baron Thénard for the majority of their Montrachet and other holdings. Thénard are one of the largest owners of Montrachet, so you could almost call Bérnard Repolt Mr Montrachet!

The wines

Remoissenet had for a long time the reputation for making nice whites but the reds were a little woolly and didn’t reflect well the names on the labels. This reputation for the reds came about during the 1990’s and until the the retirement of Roland Remoissenet – perhaps Roland was less focused; clearly it was an easy time to buy barrels of just about anything you wished, but how good was the quality overview? It seems not so good – interesting then that the whites were generally okay:

remoissenet montrachet
…an underrated source of Montrachet…
…(this wine) has now developed into a stylish and understated Monty that is altogether reflective of the unparalleled character that is Montrachet…
…Remoissenet is rarely mentioned in discussions about who makes the finest Montrachet, it is nonetheless a consistently good choice for less than painfully priced Montrachet, assuming any wine this expensive can be considered approachable
Allen Meadows: Burghound, Oct. 2001

Remoissenet’s Montrachet du Domaine Thénard is produced from Thénard’s two Montrachet parcels from the Chassagne side of the vineyard next to the vines of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The parcels total 1.83 hectares and were replanted in four stages between 1936 and 1976. The Thénards are actually the second largest landowners in Le Montrachet after the Marquis de Laguiche family (bottled by Drouhin) who’s vines these parcels face. But The relationship with Thénard is not just for Montrachet – there is also Corton Clos du Roi and Grands-Echezeaux.

The Remoissenet cuverie is close to the swimming-pool complex on the other side of the Beaune periphique. It’s a large place with plenty of open-top wooden fermentation tanks – there is clearly some investment as many are new – 2005 was their first vinification. The whites have their own room which can be slightly warmed to quicken the onset of the malolactic fermentation, but the rest of the elevage is done in the cooler part of the cellars. For whites (and some reds too) Bérnard is using a proportion of 340 litre casks – they are very happy with the results. When I visited towards the end of November they were starting to bottle the first of their 2006’s.

For their 2007 harvest they delayed their picking until the 6th and 7th of September; Bérnard said that it cost them almost one third of their crop by selection, but they were very happy with the maturity of what went into the tanks. They will normally keep up to 20% of their stems, but this level is only for the most ripe.

batard 2007

We made a short tour of some 2007 barrels before looking at those 2006’s waiting to be bottled – the 07 reds, like a number of other domains are currently showing some lovely chocolate covered cherry aromas. Actually I’d be happy to have any of the 06’s in the cellar and both colours too! – though my clear favourite of all was the 2006 Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet…

2006 Remoissenet, Meursault 1er Goutte d’Or try to find this wine...
This shows a really classy and deep nose – very pretty. Sweetness, concentration and quite some width in the mouth. Extends amply into the finish. This is very, very nice.
We then contrasted two Puligny’s – Garenne and Les Garennes – the first mineral with lovely taught acidity, the second deeper and softer. Bérnard felt that the two would be complimentary and so blended to a single cuvée.
2006 Remoissenet, Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet try to find this wine...
There’s a little reduction on the nose, but it’s in the mouth that this impresses: creamy and wide – still a hint of petillance, intense in the mid-palate and oh-so long in the finish, quite savoury too. This made a great impression with its poise.
2006 Remoissenet, Bâtard-Montrachet try to find this wine...
After the reductive Bienvenues this shows much higher tones with flower blossom aromatics. In the mouth it’s tighter and less expressive. The density is not in question, neither is the balance.
2006 Remoissenet, Montrachet Baron Thénard try to find this wine...
Wide and densely concentrated aromatics. Like the Bâtard this is concentrated and very tight. The main difference versus the Bâtard is the more mineral intensity on the mid-palate. Poised and balanced but giving little away.
2006 Remoissenet, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Damodes try to find this wine...
Impressive cherry nose. Mineral with a clean and fresh plate – lovely.
2006 Remoissenet, Chambolle-Musigny try to find this wine...
Lovely depth on the nose with a faint toffee edge. Likewise the palate shows ample depth, nice concentration and balance. Just a faint bitterness on the end of the tannin – but that will fade. Very nice.
2006 Remoissenet, Chambertin try to find this wine...
Now here the nose is really talking – lots to find in here. In the mouth you are impressed by the width and the dovetailed minerality. The fruit is creamy and the length also shows a mineral edge. Will be fine.

Finally, three wines that I picked up from a local (Swiss) retailer:

2005 Bourgogne Renommée try to find this wine...
What better way to start the assessment of the new regime than with their most basic product? The colour is medium cherry-red. The nose is rather good; fresh, ripe, slightly powdery red cherry – no confiture – some high tones and nice depth. The palate is rather fresh with plenty of mouthwatering acidity. The fruit is high-toned in the mouth and (for a 2005 at least) just a little tart. The relatively fine grained tannin is there if you search. Overall much fresher than many fruit-bomb 2005’s and if that’s your style, at this price it’s very much recommended.
2005 Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose needs 5 minutes in the glass, but then it sparkles with lovely red berry fruit, though after an hour it’s closed down a lot – leaving only sullen darker elements and faint chocolate. Very smooth texture, decent enough acidity, lovely breadth of fruit across the tongue and just an added dash of creamy oak flavour on the finish. The tannins are currently buried; this is very sophisticated for a villages Gevrey that I might wish had an extra edge of acidity, but I’m being really picky!
2005 Vosne-Romanée try to find this wine...
From bought grapes. The nose starts a little diffuse and coarse – seems affected by CO2 – 10 minutes brings cohesion, deep spicy fruit and a trace of smoky coffee – actually it keeps getting better and better. Very nice. The palate starts very grainy – dissolved gas for sure. With 30 minutes of air you get much friendlier texture, slightly forward acidity but an impressive width as the flavour flows into a good finish. It’s good and I enjoyed it.

Remoissenet Père et Fils
20, rue Eugène Spuller
21200 BEAUNE

26 responses to “Profile: Maison Remoissenet Père et Fils (Beaune)”

  1. Chris McCart

    Thanks Bill. I appreciate your look into this domaine. I’ve not been a fan in general and have stayed away from purchases, although as you mention with Halpern being Toronto based they have brought a fair number of library wines into our market lately.

    Had a wonderful ’69 Chambertin in September. The possibility of “hermitaging” came up that day. A very enjoyable but not quite brilliant bottle, none the less.
    I will look to expand my Remoissenet experience with these improved recent vintage efforts.

  2. jeff

    Bill,
    I recently purchased several older wines form Remo. In fact the 1985 SLB was a wow wine, smooth and clean slightly stony… I am excited to see what comes next.

  3. John Mauer

    I am lucky enough to have a good friend with a nice collection of Remoissenet wines. All that he has shared with me have been truely fine, but the 1969 Vosne Romanee les Malconsorts was simply divine. It was one of the greatest wines I have encountered over my many decades of drinking fine wines.

  4. FS

    Hello Bill,
    I have been looking forward to your report on Remoissenet as I’ve been buying Roland’s wines (current release and older whites) for years. With the new regime I decided to dip my toe into the 2005 reds as well as I thought it may be worth a punt.

    Roland is most definitely a “character” [lovable rogue with a great sense of humour] and I enjoyed a few visits (and stories) during his ownership. I understand that Roland is now living in his castle, Chateau de Posanges near Vitteaux but am not sure.

    Cheers
    FS

    PS some notes from me on recently drunk RP&F wines

    11NOV07
    1997 Le Montrachet (Remoissenet du Domaine Baron Thénard) Yellow/gold. A honeyed richness with mouthfilling texture and power – almost Sauternes reminiscences with its unctuousness and mouth impact. This has the intensity and presence of a serious red wine. The most ready bottle of this that I’ve tried. Demands the balancing affects of food. 18.75

    01NOV07
    2001 Meursault 1er Cru ‘Genevrières’ (Remoissenet) Yellow. Malty, smokey/wet wool aromas at first then to mineral and subtle honey. Medium-rich palate with faint warmth and a fresh acidic lift. Still immature and somewhat Pulignyesque. Delicious now but five or so years will not be a problem. 18.5+

    26OCT07
    2005 Meursault 1er Cru ‘Genevrières’ (Remoissenet) Pale lemon. Lemon and mineral with subtle oak. The mouth impact is more intense than the ’04 ‘Chalumeaux’ of Ch de Puligny-Montrachet and shows better length and grip around lemon/mineral/honey and spice flavours. A riper year Genevrières which honied up slightly with aeration but that spicy grip holds it in check. 18.5

    2005 Corton-Charlemagne (Remoissenet) Pale lemon. The nose is not as immediately forthcoming as the Genevrières and displays a more noticeable but fine oak imprint. With time in the glass there arose chablis-like aromatics. An even longer and more structured palate than the Genevrières without the immediate appeal of that wine. Chewy, with grip and spice and so long in the mouth. Reminiscent of the recently tried 2005 BP&F Corton-Charlemagne but with slightly more fruit impact. Will take 10-15 years in its stride. 19.5

    2000 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Combettes’ (Remoissenet) Lemon/yellow. Richness with savoury structure gives a lovely impact. A finer or more elegant “roast chicken” white burg as it has mouthfilling flavour but without heaviness or any of the botrytis of Remoissenet’s 2000 P-M ‘Folatières’ or J M Boillot’s 2001 P-M ‘Combettes’. Delicious. 18.5

    1995 Meursault 1er Cru ‘Charmes’ (Remoissenet) Dull gold. Oxidised bouquet and flavour. N/R

    1995 Corton-Charlemagne (Remoissenet) Still pale with a lemon-yellow colour. Tight nose and even more chablis-like than the 2005. Palate also shows strong minerality and drying phenolics. This bottle was in top condition and by no means at peak. Developed slowly with air. Not the fruit weight of 2005 but no doubting the family resemblance. 18.75

    23SEP07
    1995 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘La Romanée’ (Remoissenet) Light yellow. Opened very well with lifted faint toast and honey hints. Nose and palate richened up with air but always stayed crisp and fresh. Power with delicacy – hard to describe. Such lingering subtle nuttiness and honey to the aftertaste. Would give many Chevaliers a run for their money. 19

    13SEP07
    No cork problems apart from, perhaps, the slightly advanced state of the bottle of 1995 C-M ‘La Romanée’.

    2005 Puligny-Montrachet (Remoissenet) “Floral” chardonnay with spice and honey hints. Lovely palate with ripe year mealiness balanced out by fibrous/drying tactiles and a lemony, acidic streak. Has a roundness which shows a touch of honey with air. Very classy commune wine. Drinking well now but 3-5 years will be no problem. Landed at $67.50. 18

    1995 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Morgeot’ (Remoissenet) This opened lean and tight with a steeliness and gentle spice. Has a structural likeness to aged Hunter semillons but not their toast flavours. Richened up with time in the glass but never will have the unctuous power of the ’95 C-M ‘La Romanée’. A lovely drink with time in hand. 18

    1995 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘La Romanée’ (Remoissenet) This bottle (from 2nd shipment two years ago) wasn’t as fresh as others I’ve seen but displayed all the power and impact of the best. Textured honeycomb plus nuttiness. A real mouthful of flavour which overpowered the ’95 ‘Morgeot’. 18+

    1997 Corton-Charlemagne (Remoissenet) Still with undeveloped colour. Very chabliesque with superb drying phenolics (not flavours of oak). Power, spice and savour giving a great mouthfeel. Not in the least heavy, hot or sweet. Great wine. 18.75

    2005 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru ‘les Cazetiers’ (Remoissenet) A medium-light hued pinot. Quite delicate red fruits and spice aromas. A lean and tight palate with excellent structure. Would like to see more extract and fruit power to go with that structure. Has characteristics of what I call a red made by a white winemaker. Will fill out with bottle age but I don’t see it matching the impact of the 1997 Corton-Charlemagne. 17+

  5. Michiel Carpentier

    Hello Bill,

    Thanks for the write-up on Remoissenet. Two years ago, I bought 3 bottles of Montrachet 2001 at €128 each… An unheard of price for Montrachet! Although I had no idea what to expect, I thought it was worth the risk. Tasted one together with several board members (Herwig, Rainer…) and it was absolutely beautiful, still very young, nice minerality, still needs time to develop. I scored it 95/100.

    Cheers –Mike

  6. jeff

    Has anyone ever sampled the 2000 Le Montrachet?

  7. Eric

    I have been a fan of Remo wines for many years as I believe they are quite a bargain when compared to other burgs. I still have a ’61, ’62, ‘several ’69s, and a few ’78 red burgs which are all exceptional bottles, including both Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines. The chards are also fantastic wines, and very age-worthy. I am awaiting delivery of several ’05s – looking forward to seeing what changes have taken place. As for Roland, having spend time with him in Beaune, he is indeed a character, and a phenomenal host! Cheers

  8. William Cook

    Hello,
    Can someone share any information on a bottle of RENOMMEE BOURGOGNE 1990 that has a reserve number 05311 on the left upper conner of the label? This was a gift from a friend that often flew to France many years ago. Thank you.

    William Cook

  9. remoissenet 2005 mercurey clos fortoul

    [...] 2005 mercurey clos fortoulBy billn on September 1, 2009 Profile2005 Remoissenet, Mercurey Clos [...]

  10. Daniel

    Have drunk 1993 1996 1997 Remoissenet Montrachet before, actually not so outstanding with the standard of “MONTRACHET”…
    But look at the prices!! So I still like his montrachets and will buy more!

  11. Jamie Garard

    I purchased about 15 years ago 2 magnums of 1955 Remoissent Pere et Fils Clos Vougeot and was wondering if there were any notes on the wine. I am breaking out a magnum for my 55th birthday in early June and would like to know more. I do not remember where I bought them but the condition of the wines are impecacable.

  12. Jim Collins

    Wegman’s has a large selection of Remoissenet wines, but their selection is a real craps shoot. Like so many others, I got a corked bottle (Beaune-Greves, 1er cru, 2005, $25): cork obviously damaged as soon as you took off the foil. Wine smelled and tasted it, too. It’s on its way back for a refund.
    Royals Club Red, from the mid 1990s, bought in a Wegman’s in NJ (I’m in VA), was really quite good for $15; Royals Club White, 1997, bought here, was insipid (younger it might have been quite interesting, as I suspect some production from Montrachet inside). I also bought a Corton-Charlemagne 1997, which we’ll be opening Nov 30th, so a report on that later. You just get the impression that the Remoissenet house lost all quality control in the final decade plus, so that you can get a great wine or swill, often from the same bottling.
    The low prices at Wegman’s seem to reflect cost cutting on shipping and/or storing. From their selections, I’ve had similar inconsistency with Villamont wines and widespread problems with corked bottles, from a range of producers and regions. At this point, I’ve sworn off buying from them.

  13. The Beauty of Age | Automne Wines

    [...] mustiness which often appears in aged wines. An excellent overview of Remoissenet can be found at Burgundy-Report. They have been bought by a consortium of investors, including Louis Jadot, in recent years so [...]

  14. Duke Steinemann

    I spent a delightful lunch with Roland in the 1980’s that started
    at the Chateau at about noon and was supposed to end about
    1:30 pm without including “all the details” we enjoyed fine wines
    Fencing, the wedding chapel, and delicious cuisine.
    At the time Roland had never been on an airplane.
    Great fun with an extraordinary man. After a turn with the Crossbows the drawbridge came down and we departed
    about midnight. A great experience with a wonderful man.
    My wife, another couple and I plan another trip to Burgundy
    this fall.

  15. Dave

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the report of Remoissenet. Really useful! May I check have anyone tasted 1992 Montrachet from Remoissenet before?

    Cheers!
    Dave

  16. Dave

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your reply, I will share my impression of the wine later this year.

    Cheers!
    Dave

  17. Dave

    1992 Remoissenet Montrachet – Started up lean on the palate but the nose is expressive and fragrance. Continue to put on weight and getting brighter. 2hrs later the wine turn into something really gorgeous and drinking wonderfully.

  18. mark hilson

    Could you pls advise me as to the ideal cellaring time and drinking window for the 2006 Bienvenues Batard Montrachet? Many thanks.

  19. William Whitmore

    I have three bottle of Le Montrachet ( Remoissent du Domaine Thenard) 1990. Please could you let me know how long these will keep or are they well past their best now.

    I also have six bottles of Remoissenet’s Grand Echezeaux 1990 and having read above, it would appear that they are from a time when the quality was not so good. I would be be most grateful for any feed back on the possible quality,tasings of similar wines,longevity and their approximate value.

    Many thanks.

  20. Jamie Garard

    Had the opportunity to drink from magnum a ’55 Clos Vouguet in 2010 for my 55th. I believe I bought the magnum about 15 years prior and it was outstanding in both color and flavor. One left for the 60yh.

  21. Gary Parsons

    Gary Parsons
    Visited Roland Remoissenet in 1993. Toured one of three Castles with another living legend, Fred Ek. Fred was the National Importer for Remoissenet and Roland wanted to impress Fred. He retreated to one of his Estates to retrieve Burgundy that was “PRE PHYLOXERA” ( Circa 1888). He only found a few bottles that were (to his disappointment) dated 1909, 1919, 1929, 1945. I know one was a Beaune … The passion and commitment that rainy March day was infectious. Burgundy and the great growers and negociants can not be rivaled anywhere on this planet. Thank you Mr. Remoissenet and Mr. Ek!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?