Appearing in the land register as early as 1700, Château Rouget is considered one of the earliest official crus of the Pomerol appellation. This once famous and relatively large property (by Pomerol standards) was revitalised when it was purchased by Jean-Pierre Labruyère in 1992.
His family has produced wines since 1830, beginning at Moulin-à-Vent in the Beaujolais region, and has since established itself in various other premium French wine regions. When Jean-Pierre arrived at Rouget, he set about restoring the vineyards: as well as removing the cabernet sauvignon vines, he installed better drainage and reduced yields. We found that the turnaround in quality began to take real effect from the 2008 vintage.
In recent years, Jean-Pierre has passed the reins to his son Edouard, who pursues his father's ideals with the same passion. He is assisted by the renowned consultant oenologist Michel Rolland and estate manager Antoine Ribeiro. The vines (which have an average age of 40 years) now span 18 hectares on the gentle slopes of the Pomerol plateau, planted on clay-gravel and clay-chalk soils, with an iron-rich sandstone subsoil.
Grapes are harvested by hand, plot by plot, and remain in batches for the fermentation process, which takes place in temperature-controlled oak vats.
Labruyère actually originates from Burgundy, and indeed there is something Burgundian in fragrance and texture about his and Edouard's best vintages here. The blend is generally 85% merlot and 15% cabernet franc, both of which thrive on the Pomerol soils, and the wine is aged for 15 to 18 months in oak barrels, half of which are new oak. Rouget can age for between seven and 20 years, but the estate's second wine - Le Carillon de Rouget - can be approached rather sooner.