The Burgundy wine legend
Born in 1922, young Henri starts to work in his father's vineyard after graduating from the Lycée Viticole de Beaune. He is 17 years old. Afterwards, he is among the first ones to apply for the University of Dijon's brand new oenology classes, given by René Engel (another renown winemaker). At a time when winemaking was not a science yet, Henri becomes one of the rare viticulturists to acquire such a mastery of the winemaking processes. In 1945, he produces his first vintage. Five years later, following the advice of his former university teacher, Henri Jayer decides to fly solo.
He buys many plots of land near the Vosne-Romanée village, like the "Richebourg" and the "Cros Parantoux". He works on the latter tirelessly for more than ten years, turning it into the crown jewel of his vineyard. It is that specific plot that would earn him the title of "Pinot Noir Master". Henri lets nature express itself, as he works to enhance his wine instead of dampening its characteristics. Through his many experiments, he becomes the inventor of cold pre-fermentation maceration (a technique to fully develop a wine's aromas), as well as one of the precursors of the anti-pesticides battle.
Henri Jayer died in 2006. He was a true visionary who knew how to stay close to his roots and respected the Burgundy traditions. Many winemakers today still think of him as one of the best teachers they even had (like Christophe Roumier, Dominique Lafon, Jean-Nicolas Méo... and many others) As he often used to tell his nephew Emmanuel Rouget: "Nature's your boss, you need to respect it." Emmanuel seems to have heard Henri loud and clear, since he took the helm of the Domaine Henri Jayer in 1989, and his son Guillaume is ready to follow in his great-uncle's footsteps.
Take a look at Henri Jayer's legendary wines.Read more