Château de Rougeon is a member of Les Aligoteurs, and Mi-Filles Mi-Raisins, a group of female growers in Burgundy that includes Amélie Berthaut (Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet) and Tomoko Kuriyama (Chanterêves).
Located next to Buxy, in the Côte Chalonnaise, Château de Rougeon belongs to the Ozanon-Bouchard family since 1839. Charles Ozanon, the son of the domaine’s founder, was a renowned botanist. When phylloxera hit, he was one of the principal botanists to study and promote grafting on American rootstock. The nursery he founded became one of the major sources for grafts for the replanting of the vineyards in the Côte de Beaune. His son, Dr Henri Ozanon, was one of two Burgundian delegates in the commission that established the original guidelines for the Appellations d’Origine Controlée. (The second Burgundian delegate was the Marquis d’Angerville.)
In 1921, Henri’s daughter Charlotte Gabrielle, married Antonin Victor Bouchard, from the famed wine merchant family in Beaune. Rougeon was managed by a succession of régisseurs until 1981, when Dominique Bouchard and his wife Isabelle made it their full-time calling.
Rougeon is special for several reasons. For starters, the vineyards are all contiguous and they are situated at a high altitude (400 m) on both granite and limestone. Granite is unusual in Burgundy, until you reach the Beaujolais. Rougeon has Aligoté planted on it, which, combined with great farming, has made it a source of Aligoté grapes for some pretty incredible winemakers in the Côte d’Or. (The dots shouldn’t be too hard to connect.)
Dominique was a passionate farmer. He replanted all clones to massales. Many years before his fellow growers, he had already begun careful, gentle, superficial plowing, only under the rows. Sheep were tasked to mow the rows. The vines had been farmed organically for a while and they are now in conversion to certification. Furthermore, the domaine is surrounded by pastures and forests. There are cows and a future dairy farm in the works. The location, isolation, altitude, geology, and biodiversity are absolutely unique in Burgundy.
Unfortunately, Dominique passed away unexpectedly in 2017. This left his wife Isabelle, and two of their children, Joseph and Florence, scrambling to continue.
We’re at the eve of something very special. Isabelle makes the wines with increasing input from the children. They recently purchased one hectare of vines in Fleurie. The first vintage is 2019 and is absolutely spectacular, and everything one desires from a vin de soif Beaujolais. We’re excited to see where they’re headed next. -- Becky Wasserman