Château Rouget history began several centuries ago. Already identified at the end of the Roman Empire, Château Rouget's terroirs were at that time merged with St Emilion's ones.
Château Rouget appears in archives and land register from 1700 and is considered as one of the first official Pomerol Crus. This period corresponds to the building date of the splendid house symbolizing the estate, belonging then to the Bayonne Family. The last family member involved in the estate, Pierre Bayonne, was also mayor of Pomerol during the First Empire. As a talented winemaker, he used Chateau Rouget as a perfect display for his skills.
At the end of the 19th century, a classification of Pomerol wines placed Rouget among the top five estates of the appellation. This recognition stems from the remarkable constancy showed by consecutive owners of the estate, who all worked hard to produce iconic wines.
The Labruyère Family, who has owned Rouget since 1992, follows the same target. For more than 20 years, they try hard to place Rouget among Right Bank leaders.
The estate is now considered by critics and amateurs as the winery which has made the most consistent progress across the appellation, vintage after vintage.
The Labruyère Family comes from Beaujolais region, where they own a winery in Moulin-à-Vent appellation since 1850. Over the years, they chose to become established in other French major wine regions, using terroir quality criterion. This is how they selected Château Rouget in 1992. As head of the family, Jean-Pierre Labruyère had the ambition to restore the former glory of this property which had been recognized from 1868 as one of the best producers in Pomerol. In 2008 he has left the direction to his son, Edouard who, with the help of Antoine Ribeiro, estate manager, and his team, carries on this hard work with the same ardor and passion.
The Pomerol plateau is located near Libourne, North East of Bordeaux. It slopes down across various terraces towards the Isle valley, a tributary of the Dordogne River. Thanks to the quality of its terroirs and wines, Pomerol is one of the most sought after appellations in the world.In Pomerol, Merlot is king. Clayey soils allow this grape to express itself like nowhere else worldwide. Located near Eglise-Clinet, Petrus and Le Gay, Château Rouget, which encompasses 42 acres today, stretches across the gentle slopes of the Pomerol plateau near the village and the old church. Two thirds of vines are located around the Estate but Château Rouget also includes beautiful plots facing Petit Village, Le Pin and Trotanoy.Vineyards are planted with the most suited grape varietals: Merlot represents 85% and is combined with Cabernet Franc finding in Rouget the ideal ripening conditions. Soils can be either composed of clay and gravel or clay and silica. Subsoils consist of iron-rich sandstone.Vines are around 40 years old. The vast replanting program started in 1992 combined with the purchase of 5 high-quality acres from the prestigious neighbouring estates on the high plateau in 1999 have considerably reinforced the position of the cru.
In 2001, the cellar has been entirely restored by the Labruyère Family with the idea of implementing a vineyard designated approach. Old vats have been replaced by truncated oak vats of 50 and 60 hl. They combine ancestral handicraft with state-of-the-art technology. A few stainless steel tanks have also been incorporated. The whole installation is thermo-regulated.
Maturity is a key issue at Chateau Rouget. Thus, the harvest date is carefully chosen in order to pick up the most balanced fruits. Harvest occurs in several passages in order to ensure an optimal maturity level. Grapes are picked by hand and transported in small crates in order to prevent berries from being crushed. With the same concern for quality, bunches are sorted a first time as soon as they reach the cellar. Then, once grapes are fully destemmed, they go through another double sorting table. Only the best grapes are kept for Chateau Rouget's wines. Grapes are vinified batch by batch in order to render the best expression of each parcel.
Benefits of putting wine into barrels as early as possible are widely known. For the past few years, Château Rouget has vinified part of its wine according to that idea: whole destemmed berries are directly poured in barrels after being sorted. Thanks to this method, both fermentation and ageing process will take place in the barrel.
This technique - very respectful of grapes - enables gentle extraction and, eventually, softer tannins.
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