It is the perfect union of masterful skill and incredible vineyards which has built Domaine Roulot’s cult following among wine connoisseurs worldwide. The 15 hectares of Domaine Roulot are mostly planted with Chardonnay and are located within the famed village of Meursault. When most of Meursault’s producers were making rich and dense whites, vigneron Jean Marc Roulot broke the mould by making pristine white Burgundies. His great flair, passion and dedication have set a new benchmark in the village.
The Roulot family has been in the village since 1798. It was Guy Roulot (1929-1982) and his wife Geneviève who had the vision to make the Domaine what it is today. Now, their children Michèle and Jean-Marc run this six-generation-old Domaine.
Historically, the beautiful wines of Meursault were notable to many around the world but the village appellation wines were mostly blends from several vineyards across town. It was the premier crus that carried the name of the vineyard on the label. But Burgundy is a wine region capable of showcasing enormous diversity in its soil – even metre to metre – and it was important to Guy to begin celebrating this in all his wines. He became a local trailblazer by making his Meursault village wines single origin. Those names are now familiar to the wine world: Tillets, Luchets, Tesson, Meix-Chavaux. This was quite a revolution, and advanced the idea of the climats* as we know it today.
In 1989, Jean-Marc Roulot took over the Domaine with the intention of furthering his father’s work and legacy. But he didn’t tread a conventional path to becoming a Burgundian vigneron and Domaine manager.
Traditionally, the younger generation – sometimes as young as fourteen – works and learns the winemaking craft alongside their betters in the Domaine. But Jean-Marc’s first passion was theatre, and he spent the better part of his teenage years and early twenties training at the Paris conservatory.
Tragically, in 1982, Jean-Marc’s father Guy passed away at a young age. At this time, Jean-Marc was heavily invested in his acting career, infrequently returning to Burgundy to work alongside his family. So to keep the operations going, the Roulots hired manager and relative Franck Grux to care for the Domaine from 1986 to 1989.
But in 1989, Jean-Marc discovered his burgeoning passion for the vineyards and decided to fully take over the Domaine.
The vineyards owned by Domaine Roulot have changed over the years with an expansion starting in the 50s. Back then; the Domaine didn’t have any premier cru vineyards. In 1982, the Domaine was totalling 14.5 hectares of vineyards. When Jean-Marc took over, he undertook a slow process of qualitative consolidation by selling and buying vineyards to focus the range. During this process he acquired vineyards like Narvaux, Clos des Bouchères, Poruzot Dessous, Clos de la Baronne, Crotot or Gruyaches.
Today, the Domaine is producing the following appellations:
Jean-Marc has a licence to buy grapes, and occasionally produces négoce wines, when the quality of grapes meets his criteria. To date, a few appellations have been made such as Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru “Les Caillerets”, “Les Folatières” as well as Meursault 1er cru “les Genevrières.
Since 2000, the vineyards have been farmed organically in order for the soils to express themselves more accurately and precisely. The Domaine has been certified organic since the 2013 vintage. Furthermore, Jean-Marc is using a massale selection, replacing the oldest, dying vines with cuttings from the best performing old vines of the Domaine. This process is not easy but creates a defining ‘Domaine DNA’. The mother vineyard used at Roulot is the “À Mon Plaisir – Clos du Haut Tesson”.
In order to achieve the Roulot style of wines (silky, deep and a nice backbone of acidity), the harvest date is key. The grapes cannot be too ripe and must retain a good base line acidity – they undergo an exacting selection process under the watchful gaze of Jean-Marc.
Every step of the process is attended to with extraordinary detail and skill. The alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation are done with natural indigenous yeasts and the ageing takes place for twelve months in oak barrels before six months in stainless steel tanks to work towards the purity of fruit and silkiness.
Finally, Guy Roulot had a tradition of making remarkable and acclaimed “eaux de vie” and liqueurs from local fruits such as pear, apricots and raspberries. The local winegrowers and consumers branded his pear eaux de vie “Poire du Roulot”. Jean-Marc is continuing this tradition by buying fruits in Burgundy including apricots from renowned wine producer Jean-Louis Chave in Mauves in the Rhône Valley. The apricot liqueur is called “L’Abricot du Roulot”.
Clos Cachet is honoured to be exclusively importing Jean-Marc’s négoce wine to Australia as well as Jean-Marc’s Eaux-de-Vie.
* Climat refers to a named plot of vineyard.
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