Tasted in Meursault with Pierre-Henri Rougeot, 11 October 2019.
Domaine Rougeot Père et Fils
6, rue André Ropiteau
Tel: +33 3 80 21 20 59
Previously known as Domaine Marc Rougeot, it is now Marc’s son, Pierre-Henri who is exploiting the family domaine – the 6th generation to do so.
The domaine is sited very discreetly behind high walls in Meursault – save for the large doors and old stone buildings, there are no external signs that there is a domaine here. This fascinating collection of buildings and orchard was once associated with Hospices de Beaune – one of their ‘vergers’ – or orchards. Pierre-Henri explains that they keep fruit trees in the gardens as a link to this history, though a part was eventually planted with vines – the domaine’s Clos des 6 Ouvrées. It was Pierre-Henri’s great-grandfather who purchased the property from the Hospices.
The domaine covers 13 hectares of vines, 10 of which are in Meursault, reds too. The remaining 3 hectares are in St.Romain, Mothelie and Pommard. Approximately 45% of the domaine’s production is regional wines – Bourgognes. Practically all the domaine was replanted by Pierre-Henri’s father and grandfather, so the vines are roughly 40-65-years-old except in St.Romain where they are 80 and Monthelie where they are a little younger. Since 2017 they have a négoce licence allows Pierre-Henri to swap some grapes with friends -for example, resulting in a couple of Gevreys.
In the modern market for wines this is in important domaine because of their minimal use of sulfur; all the wines here see elevage without sulfur, and some are even bottled without – so ‘no added sulfur’ – the latter wines differentiated by their diamond-shaped labels. Over 80% exported of production is exported, some had been sold in French supermarkets but that stopped in 2015 “Which was great timing,” says Pierre-Henri, “Because in 2016 we lost 90% of our crop to the frost.” Today’s main export markets are the US, UK, Australia and Japan.
“Since 2012,” Pierre-Henri explains, “We embarked on the course of organic viticulture, officially starting conversion with Ecocert in March 2017. My father never used herbicide, always working his soils – which was a great start. There were also some changes to our vinification style between 2010-2012; I’ve used no ‘extras’ since then – no additives – some sulfur is used only before bottling, and not for all the cuvées. We press the grapes based on the vintage; if I think them a too acid I will press a little harder. For reds, we use small cases to collect the grapes at harvest-time. We triage, with no destemming. No cool soaking, but I only harvest in the morning as it’s difficult to cool whole clusters! Only 1-2 pigeages, not really to extract, then we use a vertical press. I’m not looking for a lot of lees, I’m always looking for something with more purity.”
Pierre-Henri on 2018:
“It’s a muscled vintage, one of some power. I’m expecting it to gain in finesse through elevage though. I’m typically aiming for 12.5-12.8° so it wasn’t easy in 2018 but the stems eat a few points of alcohol when fermenting…”
Quite a lot of new oak is used here for reds, much less for whites, but I mention that only passing as it is so well integrated in the flavours. Here is a great set of red wines and some excellent whites. A great first visit.
2018 Bourgogne Passetoutgrains
Bottled in May, whole clusters used, demi-muids for elevage. A little under 50% gamay in this blend.
Ooh, that’s a very forward and attractive nose – very fruity and impressively pure. Supple, but dances over the palate. Plenty of depth to this flavour – completely delicious almost graphite finishing!
All following not yet bottled: to be racked in March for April bottling:
Clay soil, the vines in north Meursault in the direction Volnay.
Pretty, pure pinot – no stemminess but some rose perfume. Hmm, depth of flavoursome texturally fine tannin but without astringence – fine. Unfolding depth to the flavour here – impressive – more a village standard. Bravo, long too.
2018 Bourgogne Les Vaux
More chalky soil here, the vines are practically behind the cuverie of Coche-Dury
A higher-toned nose, more floral and fresh. Sleeker, more direct, complex, fruity, growing wider – again with a lot of material for a Bourgogne. Delicious material. Long, more rose/stem flavour in the finish – beautiful!
Really Rue au Port, at the bottom of the village next to the RN74, is the lieu-dit. More gravely, sandy soil here – there’s a stream nearby.
Another level of prettiness to this nose – just so appealing with flowers and high-toned pinot fruit. Round, faintly accented with tannin, mouth-watering fine-boned flavours from the middle to the finish – elegant, gorgeous, not lacking any concentration – bravo!
2018 Volnay 1er Santenots
Dessous, under Leroy next to the Hospices parcels
That’s another fine nose – elegant, modest almost. A little more drive and direction here – a modest but almost grainless tannin, finishing with a gorgeous burst of flavour. Excellent as a minimum!
2018 PH Rougeot, Gevrey-Chambertin En Reniard (Négoce)
Clay soil here, direction Morey, the vines below the RN74 and Aux Etelois.
The nose starts troubled but aeration lifts all – this grows in purity and floral presence – a slightly different register to what has gone before. The shape too has changed – round but open and fresh, gorgeous finishing flavour – melting attractively – ooh soooo good!
Just below Croix des Champs in the flats of Gevrey – the major part of Grand Champs, despite the ‘Grand’ is regional.
Here the nose has more width and more flashes of purity. Darker-red fruit. Ooh, this is sleeker with nice energy – but still no lack of width. An even better finish – bravo -more limestone style but gorgeous.
2018 Bourgogne Aligoté Les Plumes
Just on other side of RN in Meursault, 65-year-old vines. Bottled. This the last wine harvested in 2018 with 12°. Lots of CO2 – so PH shook the bottle before pouring. Half tank elevage, bottled in May with no added sulfur.
Ooh, that’s a big nose, lots of fresh apple aroma, slowly turning to pear. Mouth-filling, mineral, wide, vibrant flavour. Super.
2018 Bourgogne Côte d’Or La Monetine 1
Near Sous la Velle, this without sulfur and bottled at the end of August
Here the nose is more timid – there seems clarity but it’s hard to find the aromas. Wide and mineral, vibrantly flavoured, shimmering into the finish. A specific style of flavour here and I’m guessing I’ll prefer the sulfured wine – but let’s see.
2018 Bourgogne Côte d’Or La Monetine 2
Same wine – with sulfur
Again, actually a tight nose – with the slightly reducto-mineral impression of the last – slowly growing and becoming appealing in the glass. Sleeker, finer (more standard!) Still a mineral wine, but one I can really get my teeth into, again vibrantly finishing, almost a hint of salinity too – excellent.
All the following not bottled, so not yet sulfured:
2018 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Grands Gouttes
Vines that almost on the border of Puligny under Charmes.
That’s a lovely broad and exciting nose. Clearly a wine of limestone – wide, pure, open, mineral – lovely balance – this is super – excellent wine. Nice length too.
2018 Bourgogne Clos des 6 Ouvrées
Despite middle of the village placement, this is not far from Chevaliers – usually the last harvested of the chardonnays here.
The nose really reminds of Chevaliers – vibrant, mineral – super inviting. Volume, a mineral wine – deliciously flavoured, melting with complexity – great finishing again – a hallmark here in this vintage. Simply excellent!
2018 Monthelie Blanc
Only 30m from Meursault and the youngest vines of the domaine – 25-years-old – plain west-facing and steep – ‘This is a place that suffers from water stress in dry years.’
A fine nose – like a more composed version of the 6 ouvrées – very elegant. Nice weight with a strong core of flavour. Elegant, almost floral, it will need time to open out more but it’s delicious and shows lots of potential…
2018 St.Romain Combe Bazin
90+ yo vines, similar exposure to the Monthelie
A nose that once more reminds of the 6 ouvrées – perhaps sitting between that and the Monthelie. Full, supple, a good drive to this flavour, delivering mouth-watering citrus notes, long, long. Super!
2018 Meursault Sous la Velle
2 ha worth of this, harvested in 2 days sometimes a bit more. 45-65-yo vines. Plenty of clay here that holds on well to water.
A nose that opens nicely with swirling. In the mouth I see Meursault – round, supple, some cushioning, but no lack of balance – the finish is very fine, ginger-spiced classic Meursault – lovely…
2018 Meursault 1er Charmes
65-yo vines from bottom to the middle of the vineyard – normally 35-40 hl/ha but it was 50 in 2018! Over 60 is allowed…
A faintly reductive element here – just an accent. Fuller, more concentrated but with very fine balance – ginger-spiced in the middle – mouth-watering flavour in the mid to finish – bright and growing with a small burst of great flavour near the finish. This is lovely!
2018 PH Rougeot, Meursault 1er Poruzots (Négoce)
1 month in bottle.
Bright, fresh – a classic nose – yes! Hmm, melting, delicious flavour – mineral but nothing with too much rigour – beautifully finishing – ooh this is simply excellent wine – so yum!
2018 PH Rougeot, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot (Négoce)
From Les Petits Clos, of 60-yo vines. ‘Only 12.8°’
Elegant, pretty, partly floral, nose. Brighter more incisive, almost a cooler fruit, classic Chassagne in the middle, depth of deliciousness and tension here – finely mineral, mouth-watering. Ooh, that’s just so good. Excellent!