Profile: Roux Père et Fils

21.12.2019billn

Sébastien & Matthieu Roux, 2019Tastted in St.Aubin with Sébastien and Matthieu Roux, 11 November 2019.

Domaine Roux Père et Fils
11 Rue du Ban
21190 St.Aubin
Tel: +33 3 80 21 32 92
www.famille-roux.vin

Domaine Roux is a large producer from whom, over the years, I’ve had a number of more than competent bottles. Some recent wines tasted blind gave me the push I needed to arrange a visit.

Did I say large? 800 barrels worth of production in 2018! It’s a team of about 30 that are needed to do the vineyard work – for 180 parcels and over 100 cuvées, red and white, from 70 hectares plus grape purchases. The domaine’s latest purchase of vines being some Bouzeron. The domaine vines sit mainly between Mercurey and southern Côte de beaune, but there are also wines produced from as far north as Chambolle and Gevrey – 2.2 hectares in Chambolle but in 18 parcels! Depending on the vintage, 55-60% white wine is produced here.

The old centre, the home of the domaine, is deep in the village of St.Aubin, just above the (currently being renovated) château of the village. This mix of buildings befits a domaine that’s been running since 1855 – the houses of their grand-fathers and great grand-fathers. Despite there being tasting facilities here, it’s also rather discrete up here, so you may be forgiven for having noted only the large concrete cuverie that stands on the road to La Rochepot – a monument to the 1980s when the team admit that ‘perhaps the operation grew a little too quickly.’ Matthieu explains that “At this time the domaine vines accounted for only one-third of the wine that was actually produced. As brothers, we decided that we wanted to concentrate much more on the domaine wines and do the best with those that we could. We still buy grapes from friends who work well, but today the purchases account for only 1/3 of what is produced here.

It’s clear that the brothers are pushing in many directions from the perspective of winemaking – tanks, jars (amphora), longer elevage, finishing the wines in small stainless-steel tanks. The brothers started in 2015 with some wines elevaged only in stainless-steel but found the results rather reductive, so chose amphora as an alternative way to produce some cuvées without ‘make-up.’ “Tanks are a little too serious,” says Matthieu.

In the vines, many parcels are already managed in an organic fashion, the brothers now considering a stepwise move to biodynamics. There is some use of machines at harvest time but Matthieu notes “Only for the regionals – and not all parcels.” I see plenty of oak on some samples, but Matthieu says that in the cuverie the style of oak is the same for all the wines – ‘just the quantity changes‘ he says.

65% of this producer’s considerable production is exported.

The wines…

There are many fine wines here – but from this tasting, the consistency in oak is difficult to gauge – some wines were very oaky, others not at all – the luck of the individual barrel, perhaps.

Before heading to the tasting room, we made a short tour of wines in the tanks and jars from the picture above. They are planning to bottle these in the first part of 2020:

2018 St.Aubin Les Beau Pins
This organic.
A fine nose, faintly oaked – wide with good energy. Hmm, nicely lingering flavour, faintly spiced.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Champlots
Above the village of Gamay, quite high. Despite that height, harvested end of August
Good width of aroma, citrus with a suggestion of oak. More driving energy in the mouth, with a nice line, super finishing with some flowers. This is super.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Murgeurs des Dents du Chien
A little higher again than the Champlots.
A nose of fresh width, not showing much more. Nice, line again, a little more complexly mouth-watering. Very pretty citrus complexity to finish – mouth-watering too – it’s a lovely finish.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Remilly
A little toast. Vibrant, fine depth of concentrated citrus here – rounder, fresh but long.

2018 Meursault Pellans
“The Clos Poruzots was a historic vineyard from our grand-parents, now we have 1.6 hectares in Meursault
A nice freshness with a little Meursault spice. Direct, acid-forward, layers but still rather fresh wine. Impressively so. Long and stony finishing.

2018 Meursault 1er Les Charmes
Ooh, thats a nose of width and power – very inviting. Some oak, but driving along here, with super balance, growing depth, salinity, more oak in the finish – wait for this but I see tons of potential.

2018 Meursault 1er Clos des Poruzots
45 year-old vines.
Ripe yellow citrus nose. Vibrant again, mineral, shimmering with flavour. Melting with super finishing layers of flavour.

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Abbaye de Morgeot
‘Father bought this plot, it’s bottled only in magnums – it’s our grand cru. We managed 500 litres in 2018, normally it’s a little less. ‘
Ooh – vibrant, faintly reductive but it’s still a highly attractive nose. Incisive, mineral, beautiful balance. Super wine!

Now pre-prepared samples of wines tasted in the tasting room, these first wines are already bottled:

2018 Bourgogne Aligoté No Sulfur
First pressed juice direct into barrels, this year 500l barrels
Big broad nose, oxidative in style. Open, saline, oxidative but fresh, eventually some oak that fills out the finish. Actually this is impressively long…

2018 Bourgogne Aligoté
From St.Aubin, 12.5° harvested, with 400l barrels. Will be bottled next year.
Fresher, plenty of floral aspects too – lovely. Open, nice shape and growing intensity. Bravo

2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay Les Murelles
A mix of tank and barrel elevage.
A faintly reductive nose. Line again, of-course a different style of fruit. Long, nicely mineral. A very well put together wine… Excellent Bourgogne.

2018 St.Aubin Jadis
Cuvée name for the wines in Jar – 3 parcels. From here sealed with cork, the previous wines with DIAM. ‘The first cuvées of DIAM in 2015 took until 2018 to start showing well’
A subtle nose, but slowly adding a faint floral. Hmm, now here is clarity, freshness, purity of flavour. Long and widening – this is excellent, maybe even better!

2018 Rully Clos de Mollepierres
In the domaine since 2004
A very different nose – the fruit sweeter, almost a little mirabelle. Lovely vibrant acidity, no hard edges. Wide, mineral flavoured. Excellent!

2018 St.Romain
This smells a little oaky. Yes, padded with plenty of sweet/saline oak. Needs plenty of time this one – not my taste today. But the general tendance here is moving away from 228 barrels to 300, 400 and 500l barrels

Now tank samples:

2018 St.Aubin 1er Les Pucelles
A pretty nose, faintly reductive. Wide, intense, lots of acidity. I really like the depth and width of this finishing flavour – super wine.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Chategniere
Three different parcels.
A more guarded nose, a modest sweetness below. Driving again – more citrus in the energy. Great wine – lovely, a lovely SA of tension.
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet Le Morichot ‘Roux Brothers’
‘Bought these vines in 2013, always organic since then. The vines needed time as was previously conventional but we’ve seen a big improvement with the work so far.’
A mineral rigour that’s emphasised by a little reduction. Broad, mouth-filling, beautifully fresh and mineral. This is top villages. Bravo. Open, pure, über-classy wine. I love this finishing complexity.

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chaumes
High, old vines, ‘richer.’
Tighter but there is still aromatic weight too. Vibrant again, but also an extra richness to balance. Plays over the palate very well. Excellent wine!

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Macherelles
Also a smaller nose, slightly smoky accent to the citrus. Wide, structured, mineral – this has a super shape. Beautiful acidity and a lovely texture too. Classy.

2018 Puligny-Montrachet Ensegnieres
Grandparents bought this – 0.5 ha.
A little nose again, but more open, suggesting a faint reduction. Incisive, open, fine mouth-watering citrus. Wide – fine proportions. Simply an excellent wine – the barrel is quite subtle here.

2018 Meursault Grands Charrons
A small nose again, but clearly different with its attractive if faint spice. Hmm – lovely, vibrant wine. Wide, spiced, melting with fine flavour. An excellent Meursault!

These last three wines were really excellent – all very different and properly showcasing their origins!

Les Rouges:

2018 Rully clos de Mollepierre
Depth of colour. Vibrant fruit – ripe but balanced. Lovely drive and acidity. Mouth-watering. Ooh, that’s really a super red – the middle and finish rather smoky from a different style of barrel. Leave this 12-18 months for the smoke to fade – super before that – and after – the finish is very tasty!

2018 St.Aubin Les Argillières
Just above the domaine buildings in SA
A much bigger, more forward nose of fruit that seems to mix confiture and freshness! Oak first, layered, some tannin – but here I can only taste oak. Long but maybe it’s better in 2-3 years.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Derrière Chez Eduard
A more composed nose, more herbs and freshness here. Fresh, energetic, mouth-filling flavour – this is fine – there’s oak but on a much more modest level. I like the complexity here. A delicious wine with surprising depth of finishing flavour.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Les Perrères
A ripe but almost structured fruit, adding fresh red berries. More concentrated, very ripe but fresh berries – intensely so. Fine texture and width to this flavour. Long too – a little more concentrated and contemplative finishing.

2018 Santenay Comme Dessus
Villages
A little depth of spice – and wood. Lots of freshness and perfumed energy here- The barrel bringing a little spice but otherwise not too disruptive. Floral perfume in the finish. Much potential here.

These are mainly barrel samples so the oak can vary:

2018 Chorey-lès-Beaune Les Beaumonts
This bottled. Less colour – ‘it’s being converted to organic.’
Good aromatic volume, red berry fruit. Open, a little framing of the flavour with modest tannin. A tasty weight of ripe fruit in the finish, sweet but not too much. Long finishing too. Faintly rustic style vs some of the previous, but very tasty.

2018 Ladoix Vigne Adam
Bottled. A domaine since the 1970s. ‘Was for a long time rather productive, but about 7 years ago we finally found the best way to work these vines while keeping the yields in a proper shape.’
Fresh, ripe, dark-red fruit. Hmm – this has a lovely fresh width in the mouth – mouth-filling, slowly mouth-watering, rather sweet, indeed unctuous. Tasty wine.

2018 Aloxe-Corton Boutières
Tewndence with reds to add up to 10% wc these days.
A modest volume of aroma, darker fruit – maybe a suggestion of spice too. Bright, lovely acidity, wide, mouth-filling flavour. A very nice wine

2018 Vougeot Petits Vougeot
1.2 ha owned!
A much broader panorama of aroma here – spiced fruit that is very attractive. Fresh, beautifully so, layered, mouth-watering flavour. This is top wine – bravo! The last impression a faint tannin on the tongue, yet this is also a wine of finesse.

2018 Gevrey-Chambertin Creux Brouillard
Masalle selection here
A fresh, almost menthol style to the nose – certainly a more high-toned fruit. Wow, that’s a lovely, sophisticated, texture. Wide, high-toned fruit but with top balance. Excellent Villages.

2018 Chambolle-Musigny Maladières
This old vines in the bottom
There is a bright freshness to the fruit but this is quite a tight nose. Supple, depth of flavour and texture combined. Slowly leaching dark, sweet fruit juice over the palate. This needs time but I think it very impressive!

2018 Chambolle-Musigny Les Athets
Deep colour. Similar to the villages (they are practically next to each other) this is a tighter nose. More depth to the flavour, more concentration, but not richer or fatter. Really a slowly evolving progression from the flavour over the palate – like the last this will need plenty of time to open, but everything is here…

2018 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Borniques
Just 0.2 ha
Not powerful but a nose that’s much more open, and therefore complex, it’s higher-toned too. Ooh, that’s nice – open, complex, fresh, the fruit is ripe of-course but the balance for this wine is fine. The finish is a beauty – wide, open, complex, layered – it just keeps going but always with finesse.

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