The sign outside says Henri Remoriquet (the father), the door-bell Henri & Gilles Remoriquet (father and son), but check the yellow pages and today you will see only the name of Gilles. You meet the personable, quietly spoken Gilles Remoriquet at his house/office in the quiet backwaters of Nuits St.Georges. Here in the most modest of surroundings you get to taste and discuss, the bottle store obviously remains here (if he can magic up a 1993, on request). But today things are different, the core of Gilles work, his fermentations and elevage, are now done in a large warehouse-like facility nearer the center of Nuits, a facility used by a number of winemakers – the former winery of Maison François Chauvenet. It has marked, and indeed enabled a significant stylistic change for the wines of Gilles.
Remoriquets moved from Citeaux to Nuits, sometime in the 17th century – but to tend sheep rather than vines. The roots of the domaine start with Gilles’ great-grandparents working the vines and buying the Nuits Les Allots that the domaine still farms. The domaine was continued by Gilles’ grandparents. Father Henri further expanded the number of plots owned by the domaine – today it stands at a little over 10 hectares, some in fermage, some in metayage, with important Nuits 1er Crus from both north and south of Nuits plus a rare 1er Cru of Vosne-Romanée too.
Vineyards and vines
The domaine manages its vines in what Gilles like to describe as ‘more than lutte raisonée’:
“We are not bio because I see certain impasse, for instance in the use of copper in the vines”
But I mentioned a stylistic change – what’s that? For years the methods were ”too mechanised’ says Gilles
“We changed systems to improve finesse; our pumps were too extreme, so starting around 1996-1998 we began to change our reception of grapes. The grapes now start on the triage table, then move to a gentler destemmer we bought before going into our ‘trie densiomatique’ machine. There is trough which contains juice from the grapes, triaged, destemmed grapes enter the trough, and those with lower maturity float so can easily be discarded – grapes of the right maturity sink.”
I hadn’t heard of that approach before, the grapes are fermented in large concrete tanks ‘I prefer concrete to stainless steel because it’s slower to heat and cool – similar to wood but easier to clean’ says Gilles. Although the grapes are mainly destemmed, Gilles keeps some depending on the cuvée and the vintage – but only 5-15% perfect clusters are likely to be used – Gilles notes I find they can add and interesting freshness if very carefully selected. There are a few days of cold maceration before a fermentation which usually totals about 3 weeks – almost no pigeage and just a little remontage is used. I’m really looking for phenolic maturity to deliver a wine of finesse… There are no more than 30% new barrels used at this domaine as Gilles says I want wines with some freshness that show their fruit – not their wood To that end Gilles blends two suppliers barrels, medium toasted. He’s even tried a few demi-muids, but wasn’t that impressed.
Tasted with Gilles Remoriquet, 22nd June 2012. Older bottles (except maybe the 1993 that follows) are ones that I’ve enjoyed, and even bought – clearly they were a hint rustic, but there was something swashbuckling about their character – particularly the Vosne. Today it is absolutely clear that the wines do not have bristles any more – they are now clean shaven and rather fine I would say. I didn’t find any note of pyrazine in the 2011 barrels we also sampled – for what it’s worth at this stage.
There are plenty of wines exported from here, but the largest market remains France. These wines were always attractively priced, and for the moment at least, I would add extra emphasis to that – the style has moved on, but the pricing hardly – this cannot last!
In bottle for about one month, the grapes coming from a plot next to Lavières – “a good spot just under the 1er crus.”
The fruit may be quite pretty, but behind is quite some muscle. Supple, with a fresh fruit though there is a hint of sour in the finish. As a package, this is a very appealing wine.
There’s quite a concentrated core of dark fruit red fruits on the nose but nicely augmented with a fainter floral aspect. Round, with very fine tannin. Quite silky with a strong line of intensity through the centre of this wine. The finish just teases that line longer with a mineral note. Very good!
The nose has good top to bottom high tones and depth. Round, a nice prolongment of flavour that is quietly mouth-watering, despite seemingly being a little acid-lite.
The nose is rather reticent. Flavour-wise this is more linear than the previous wines – less round – but the flavour grows and grows in the mid-palate, showing a little grape-pip extract (it seems) and stones. A linear, mineral wine that defies the ‘roundness’ of 09 – really lovely character here!
Gilles thinks the soil in his part of Les St.Georges offers him the opportunity to make a slightly more elegant LSG – though he openly admits it to be something of a trade-off versus absolute power – give me elegance!
After the Rue de Chaux this is much more automatically interesting and offers a wider panorama, yet has a little less depth. The entry may be silky, but there is tannin waiting for you – yet never aggressive – the flavours slowly expand. Despite its concentration, this is very elegant Nuits, feminine-even. Another super character and completely different to the Rue de Chaux.
There are relatively young vines, but Gilles says they never crop very high, typically 30-35 hl/ha, partly because they always produce small berries. I asked Gilles if it was legal to sell ‘Au Dessus’ as straight Malconsorts as I don’t know any other labels. He shrugs and becomes a bit evasive ‘others can do what they like, but I make the correct label.’
The nose is wide, complex and interesting – slowly adding weight, scent-even with time. I suppose I will have to say it – “classic Vosne flavours” – a spicy complexity, its fresh flavour being its final calling-card. This is rather lovely.
The nose throws out lots of green notes – vegetation mainly – though very slowly there is a discernable (just!) red component. These are really tannins to wait for, still, as they major on astringency! Actually, the only thing that gives me hope for the future is a lift of fine fresh flavour in the mid-palate. Probably not a wine to search for.