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!
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:
- 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.
- 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!
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:
…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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Impressive cherry nose. Mineral with a clean and fresh plate – lovely.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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
There are 28 responses to “Profile: Maison Remoissenet Père et Fils (Beaune)”
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.
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.
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.
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.
PS some notes from me on recently drunk RP&F wines
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
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+
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
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
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+
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.
at your service Mike…
Has anyone ever sampled the 2000 Le Montrachet?
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
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.
Dear William. What you have is a regional bottling from the base classification of burgundy. It’s a modest bottling which may be a little more special than average given its maturity and that it comes from a decent vintage. That will (of-course) depend on how it has been stored – but it should be absolutely ready to drink now!
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!
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.
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.
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
I hope you get the same treatment from Bernard Repolt – great story Duke!
Thanks for the report of Remoissenet. Really useful! May I check have anyone tasted 1992 Montrachet from Remoissenet before?
Personally not – there was a 91, but never the 92…
Thanks for your reply, I will share my impression of the wine later this year.
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.
Could you pls advise me as to the ideal cellaring time and drinking window for the 2006 Bienvenues Batard Montrachet? Many thanks.
This wine was absolutely stunning in it’s first two years and was a match for most Montrachets – or young Montrachets anyway. Last tasted more than a year ago it had shrunk into itself and was very good but no-longer great. In an ideal world this will be a great wine again once it’s 20 years old, but there’s no guarantee that any white Burgundy will actually achieve such longevity today…
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.
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.
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!
Does anyone know the personal address for Roland Remoissenet ? My father who is now 93 knew him many years ago and has reason to believe that Roland would like to be in touch again – all good !!
If anyone is happy to contact me I can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org (the first letter is a small ‘L’ not a capital ‘i’ ).
Regards and thank you
Many years ago, we were fortunate to taste a bottle of Remoissenet, 1976, Corton-Charlemagne,
Diamond Jubilee. To this day we talk about this wonderful wine and, have tried many others, that
have not been close to the above mentioned wine. Does anybody have any suggestions as to any
white wine that might come close to this one ?? It was very buttery….
I briefly worked at Remoissenet Pere & Fils in the mid 70’s by arrangement through John Avery of Avery’s of Bristol. Roland was a very charismatic individual. His son Gilles was in UK while I was in Beaune and I was fortunate to be “adopted” in Gilles absence. As I understand it, Roland held the role of the Chair of the Anglo-French Wine Society. Roland was acknowledged to be making some of the finest wines in Burgundy. While Roland drove the business, Roland’s father still held a major role in the wine making decisions in the 70’s, such as when to cut the grapes and rack the wine. It was a stunning privilege to have had the experience to meet and work for Roland.
Thank-you Andrew – lovely insight!
Hi, Ive just opene d a 1967 Gevrey-Chambertin. All I can say is wow, wow, wow. It has fantastic depth still with ripe cherry nose and deep almost port flavours on the palate. I’m not sure this is 100% Pinot but what a fantastic wine. just tweeted it on Twitter i was so impressed. Great to hear the background on this company. Im in the trade but love to find these wonderful wines. I have tried a few aged and mature burgundies before (just a few, lol) but this really was awsome.
Gentlemen, we have a bottle of Aloxe-Corton “Diamond Jubiliee” 1990 by Remoissenet Pere et Fils and would like to sell it. Could you possibly give us an estimate (offer would be welcome too).
Kindly send your answer to email@example.com
I might give 20 Euros – but only if I know it’s been well-stored….
Just come across this webpage. Just to add, should ever you or your subscribers come across any Remoissenet wines pre-1990 I wouldn’t expect them to be woolly! Roland and his father were excellent eleveurs, while many around them were lazy. It is true that some ‘methods’ may be disputable by todays appellation laws (NB introduced in the 70’s to protect the growers interests rather than the consumers) but be assured, what they both did was always to make the best Burgundy wines they could, rather than to increase their production quantities as so many others did. This is why so many of the older wines still drink magnificently today and if your interests (and budgets) extend into these older years then Remoissenet bottles would be well worth the taste. I have tasted enough of them so can personally recommend!
Muchas gracias for that Richard. I’ve friends with multiple 70s bottlings from a certain location in Bristol – they seem uniformly happy with what they bought!
Would like to know where Roland Remoissonnet is today? We have had several meetings in the past with him, before his retirement, and I am writing a memoir in which our meetings will figure. I’d love to know that he’s all right and doing well.
I spoke with somebody at the domaine today – they have no contact information, but they do believe that Roland is still extant!
I’ve came across your post. I am Roland’s daughter and we, the family, would be happy to get in touch with you.
I am extremely surprised that anyone could have say in 2019… My father passed away February 14th, 2014. Granted, the wine society knew from this day.
Richard, thank you for your post. I keep lovely memories of your family.
Lona, I’ll be happy to get in touch as well.
Gary, if ‘I’m not wrong (I was 10 years old then ), I am quite sure to remember both of you at Posanges.
Andrew, Gilles wasn’t a blood brother, but considered as if. He had our support and affection until the end ; his death in the early 90’s has been devastating for us. Thank you as well to bring back his memory.
To all, thank you for the wonderful picture you’d drawn of my father. I am really happy to read your vivid memories. I am blessed to had such a character and wonderful person for father.
So much for my sources, Elodie! 🙂
Remoisssenet: Visits to Beaune.
After five years of living out of Canada, we realized that we missed “home” This took us somewhat by surprise, as our life had become settled in France and we still had our muffin business. But David,my husband, was not well and wanted to be back in Canada and to see our family more often. Nostalgia for the past, and our former life, took hold of us. We made plans to return to the Toronto area permanently in the summer of 1993, looking at a new place to live in the country near that city.
Going back for good, necessitated moving some of our possessions back to Canada. We had sold our apartment in Paris, but planned to keep our house in Annecy, as we still had French retirement dreams at that time, pre-grandchildren days. Among things to be sent back was the contents of our wine cellar, purchased over the years in France. Shipping wine with our furniture gave us a new thought. We could augment this shipment with a purchase of more wine while we had the chance, a very appealing idea!
In our previous life, before our move to France, we had acquired wine from Century Wines, a store in Rochester, NY, wine which was produced by a négociant in Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France. These purchases were overruns of famous wines like Puligny Montrachet and the bottles were labeled with the generic name of Seigneurie de Posanges. (Different wines could only be identified by the different colour of labels.) This négociant was M. Roland Remoissenet. His family company was Maison Remoissenet Père et Fils, was established in 1877 in a 14th-Century building in Beaune
Taking our visiting friend Nora, a middle-aged Barbadian ball of fire, with us, we drove to Beaune and telephoned M. Rémoissenet, explaining that we had been fans of his wines from our contact in Rochester. Our wine importer had recommended that we telephone him to find wines to buy at source. Making the cold call, and mentioning the name of our American dealer, M. Rémoissenet said he could give us twenty minutes to choose some wine, and we could come right over.
On a small street in central Beaune, we were admitted to an ancient building filled with corridors and soft light. Muted grapy odour of old wine was combined with the scent of old stone walls. We were shown to M. Remoissenet’s office, a bi-level room, filled with shelves of books and awards. Since his English was better than our French, he chose to speak to us in our native language and talk we did, and at length. He seemed very interested in us and was charmed by Nora, who found him a “very attractive old gentleman”. Our conversation went on and on. He then suggested that we might go down with him to the cellars and taste some of his wines, his own, and that of other fine vintages. Taking the pipette, (a glass tasting tube) that he passed to us, we tried all the finished wine from the barrels in the main cellar of the cave. The cave had several rooms for storing, bottling and blending wine, and we were told stories of the Nazi arrival in WW2 in Beaune and what vintners did to protect the very best of their vintages. These wines were placed in hidden rooms at the edge of the main cellars. Walled up with old bricks and stones the store of the best was disguised and kept from the German invaders during their occupation of France.
Back in the office, we noticed family photos, and he talked about his wives and children and his family history and gave us a book that he had published about his business and the Remoissenet family. The family had been negotiants for the Tzars of Russia among other prominent historical figures. He talked about his life, his sporting past as the French National Fencing Champion and his trip to the Olympics. Living in a château in Beaune, he ensured his privacy when at home by raising the drawbridge over the moat, at night, or when he just wanted not to be disturbed. We learned of his sad dilemma, his only son and the only one of his children who had been trained to take over the wine business, had committed suicide. His business, which had been in his family for generations, would have to be sold to strangers.
He asked what wine we needed for our shipment to Canada and we said that we could only afford to spend the equivalent of ten dollars a bottle. He then called his assistant into the office and asked him what “we had on sale today” The whole meeting lasted several hours and we emerged from the office staggering under the weight of several cases of great wine. Exporting it with our furniture shipment, we drank it for years in our new home.
Several years later, we were living full-time in Canada. We had finally decided to part with our house in Annecy, (retirement there dreams dashed) and it had just been sold. Planning a last shipment of more furniture provided another opportunity to ship more wine. Returning to Beaune, we had a last, very nostalgic visit with M. Remoissenet, telling him of our new lives. We discussed the sale of his family business and his sad, final, and imminent, move away from Beaune We talked of transitions in life and he waxed nostalgic, and asked us if we wanted to go to lunch in a restaurant in town. We pointed out that it was three in the afternoon, not a time possible to get an open restaurant for lunch in France. He answered by taking us down to his private cave, lit by candles. Choosing several bottles of vintage wine, he said that he would call his wife to join us, and we would take this wine and go to lunch. He opened a restaurant in the centre of town, by calling the owner/chef and telling him we were coming. Hours and many special tasting menu courses later, our afternoon lunch had stretched hours into dinner.
Our final visit to Remoissenet in Beaune was a couple of years later, when we were passing, we called in to say hello. We found the new owner of Maison Remoissenet Pere et Fils, had taken over the premises. He told us Roland had married a new wife and had moved away. He had cut off all contact with everyone in the business, and started a new life somewhere in the south of France. We were so sorry to have missed seeing him again! It made us especially sad because it would have been wonderful to tell him how much it meant to us to have known him.