Topic of the Week 2/21/2019 - Advanced

Well done last week by , , , , and on the Yarra Valley.

This week: Henri Jayer

Tell us a story! What impact did he have on what region?

  • Henri Jayer made wine that only rich people can afford now. Scratch that, ridiculously wealthy people; even rich folks have a hard time buying these wines since his passing. He made wine in Burgundy's Cote de Nuits. His impacts are numerous, but the one we read most about is his militant stance on destemming all of his grapes. During his tenure as king of Pinot Noir, more often than not, people listened and imitated him. 

  • Henri Jayer had a huge impact in Vosne Romanne.

    He became a winemaker by accident when Meo Camuzet(Etienne Camuzet at that time and "Mayor of Burgundy") asked Jayer  to take care of few vines for him during the war. 

    Winemaking consists of long maceration, use of new oak. Destemming, no filtration. The made rich and opulent wines. 

  • In addition I would say that is credit to be the inventor of the cold soaking process (pre-maceration). He was one of the first to pull back from chemicals and use natural remedy for weeds in the vineyard and also didn’t like to filter his wines and liked destemming.

    he believed in the quality of Crox Parantoux and started farming it for the Camuzet family and slowly piece by piece bought it all. Nobody at the time believed in that vineyard but he saw the potential and bottled his first vintage in 1978.

    his last vintage was in 2001 and when he retired he passed all his vineyards to his nephew, Emmanuel Rouget (greatness runs in the family blood!!!)

  • The "God of Burgundy" was born to a family of vignerons in the village of Vosne-Romanee. He attended the University of Dijon taking classes in Enology under the instruction of Rene Engel.  His family vineyards holdings weren't substantial enough to provide for his two older brothers and himself, so in 1945 he began to oversee the vineyards of Domaine Meo-Camuzet where he tended the vines and produced wines until 1987. In the 1950s he began to buy parcels of the Cros Parantoux vineyard which had more vegetables planted in it than vines at the time even though it was once classified above Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux. His initial vintage of Cros Parantoux was 1978 and supposedly he recouped his entire investment in the vineyard from that first release. In 1995 Emmanuel Rouget, his nephew by marriage, took over the Jayer family holding, but Henri continued to make Cros Parantoux until 2001.

    His greatest influences on winemaking in Burgundy (or for that matter anywhere pinot noir is grown) are; total destemming, cold soak maceration, new oak and bottling unfiltered. A case could also be made that he played a major part in the rise of the Domaine model in Burgundy, but that's a whole other topic. His lasting influence on sommeliers is sadly more mythical.