… the Estate without an Official Classification
It stands apart from the other Bordeaux appellations due to the fact that it does not conform to the standards of a Bordeaux wine district which possesses elegant chateaus and a classification system.
Pomerol does not have a classification system and was barely recognised until the last century.
It is located near to Saint – Emillion and the landscape is phenomenal with its unaltered gravel banks that rise and fall, the Pomerol Plateau and Merlot is the dominant grape in this area.
Located here is Chateau Rouget which has one of the longest histories in the region dating back to the 1700’S which is rare for any estate in Pomerol.
The chateau was owned by the Bayenne family from the 18th century and it was at that time considered to be one of the top five wines in the entire appellation.
Pierre Bayonne was the mayor of Pomerol at the time as well as being a wine lover who used the estate as a display for his winemaking skills and set the standard for future owners of the estate to follow.
In 1924 the estate was sold to Marcel Bertrand, who kept it for a while and then handed management over to his nephew in 1974 and consistency at the estate was something to be appreciated as it grew into a successful winemaking chateau that sold mostly in bulk.
In 1992 Chateau Rouget was purchased by the Labruyere family who also own an estate in Burgundy.
Once they purchased the estate, many renovations took place and improvements were made to the property, including replanting of the vineyards with the removal of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
They also built wine making facilities and improved the cellar along with purchasing another piece of land to add onto their vineyards, making the estate one of the largest properties in the area with 18 hectares of vines consisting of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc and most of the vines are over 30 years old.
The cellar replaced old vats with oak vats combining ancestral handicraft with modern technology as well as the incorporation of thermo regulated stainless steel vats.
Chateau Rouget has a total of 42 acres stretching across the plateau near the village and the church with most of the vines surrounding the estate, but also including a stretch further down which was purchased later.
Because Pomerol is on the plateau and the vines slope down towards the Dorgdogne River, the soils and terrain are incredibly desirable for vine growing as they are rich in minerals containing iron and with a terroir of gravel, clay and silica with sub-soils of sandstone, this is the most sort after appellation.
The grapes are selected carefully and only the best are picked by hand then sorted again and again to pick the best ones.
Their farming techniques include cover crops and ploughing.
Chateau Rouget believe that maturity is the key and the harvesting date is carefully selected.
The fermentation process takes place in barrels and the wine is then aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 15 to 18 months before being bottled.
Whole berries are poured into the barrels to allow for a gentle extraction and softer tannins.
Weather conditions have not always been favourable for the vineyards and the wines as the estate has fought off elements and disease and had to restore what was demolished by rain, storms and winds.
At one stage they had to walk through the vineyards due to the soil being too soft to allow for a tractor and this began to make the farmers look up to the sky and begin to learn about the weather patterns, carefully monitoring the vines.
The Wines of Château Rouget
There are two wines of this estate;
Chateau Rouget the grapes are vinified batch by batch in oak or stainless steel vats with 18 months of ageing in 33% new French oak barrels.
The wine is then fined with egg whites and it is an intense ruby red colour with purple reflections. It has aromas of black fruits, spice and truffle with delicate flavours of black fruit and plums on the palate
Le Carillon de Rouget is a ruby red and violet wine with aromas of cherries and blueberries with a satin finish on the tongue and flavours of red and black fruits.
The grapes for this wine are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks, then oak aged in barrels for 18 months and is also fined traditionally using egg whites.
Visit Château Rouget
Visiting the estate will be a treat and with an appointment, you are able to visit and explore their vineyards as well as sample their wines and if that is not enough then the landscape will most definitely get your attention.
6 Route de Saint-Jacques-de -Compostelle
33500 Pomerol Bordeaux, France
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂