Looking to add some Henri Jayer bottles to your collection?
If you love fine red Burgundy wines, Henri Jayer is a must-have in your cellar! After all, it’s from some of the best terroirs of the iconic wine region, at par with Domaine de La Romanée-Conti (DRC.)
Given their famously low production quantities, it’s a good time to start collecting these precious fine wine bottles.
In this article, find answers to all your questions about Henri Jayer’s history, winemaking style, and their top 10 wines in 2021. You’ll also find a super simple way to begin investing in wines like these.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- All about Henri Jayer
- A brief history of Henri Jayer wine
- The Henri Jayer Vineyards
- Henri Jayer viticulture and innovative winemaking
- Why should you invest in Henri Jayer wine?
- 10 best Henri Jayer wines in 2021
- 1978 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru
- 1982 Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru
- 1985 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru
- 1985 Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Meurgers
- 1987 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru
- 1992 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Beaumonts
- 1993 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux
- 1999 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux
- 2001 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux
- 2001 Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges
All About Henri Jayer
Henri Jayer was a French winemaker famous for revolutionizing the Burgundy winemaking style and creating some of the world’s priciest wine. He was born in 1922 in a family of winemakers.
Jayer forged this distinctive luxury Pinot Noir red wine brand in a career spanning over six decades. He died in 2006, aged 84, after releasing his last vintage in 2001.
Let’s find out more about this Burgundian legend.
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A Brief History of Henri Jayer Wine
Different members of the Jayer family have been making wine in Cote de Nuits, Burgundy since before the 1920s. Henri Jayer’s father moved to the region right before World War I.
In 1945, Henri entered a contract with the Noirot Camuzet family, who let him make wine under his label with 50% of the grapes while he tended to their properties in the area. This turned out to be the partnership of a lifetime.
He not only built a steady reputation for himself with his label but also started buying small patches of the renowned Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux vineyard. This property was part of Domaine Meo Camuzet.
The vineyard was considered by many to be too high maintenance with poor soil quality and very little limestone. But ever the visionary, Henri Jayer recognized the land’s value.
He tended to the land for years and finally, in 1978, released the first Clos Parantoux vintage in his name. This was a defining moment in Henri Jayer’s long and illustrious career.
He continued making this wine well into the ‘90s. In 1995, he passed the vineyards onto his nephew, Emmanuel Rouget. All vintages since 2001 have been released under Rouget’s name.
The family’s private collection went to Jayer’s daughters.
Book your vacations to these historic wine regions:
The Henri Jayer Vineyards
The Henri Jayer estate is located in his birthplace, Vosne-Romanee, a tiny wine village between Dijon and Beaune in the Burgundy wine district. It has some of the finest vineyards in the Cote d’Or region.
This has been his base of Henri Jayer’s operations since the early ‘40s.
Over the years, the French vintner expanded from the original three hectares of land he inherited to include patches of the neighboring premier cru vineyard. Together, these landholdings produce the following wines:
- Echézeaux Grand Cru: Made with grapes from Les Cruot and Les Treux vineyards
- Richebourg Grand Cru: Mostly made with Les Verroilles’ produce. It’s one of the rarest Henri Jayers and the last vintage was made in 1987.
- Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, Les Meurgers: Named after the stony terrain before the parcel was planted
- Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Brûlées: Named after the French word for ‘burnt’ as the grapes tend to become overripe on this land, right below the premier cru Cros Parantoux and Richebourg vineyards. However, the wine retains balance and acidity. Jayer’s last vintage for this Cuvee was in 1987.
- Henri Jayer’s Vosne-Romanée Village: Made with the produce from Les Saules, Les Barreaux, and Les Vigneux parcels
- Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Beaumonts: Produced from a tiny 0.23 hectares holding in the estate
Henri Jayer Viticulture and Innovative Winemaking
Henri Jayer’s wine philosophy revolved around meticulous care for the land and vines rather than a dependence on chemicals. He worked on improving soil quality and kept the yields low. Pinot Noir grapes were harvested at optimal maturity levels, and Henri personally supervised grape selection.
Most Burgundian winemakers crush the grapes with the stem when the harvest is low in tannins.
He destemmed every grape to keep out their bitter, green character out of the wine, allowing tannins to develop slowly throughout the vinification process.
Moreover, he introduced the ‘cold maceration’ technique before fermentation, allowing the must to rest at around 10-15°C for 4-5 days.
Such natural flair for winemaking and a deep-set passion helped Henri Jayer craft memorable wines, year after year.
Why Should You Invest In Henri Jayer Wine?
Henri Jayer holds a special place among investment wines just like many other wines from the Burgundy appellation.
The personal attention and care he showered on each vintage meant that Henri Jayer’s production was extremely limited. He was known never to cross the 3500 bottle threshold each year.
This means, each year, a number of Henri Jayers go out of the market and are hard to get hold of.
So if you own a bottle from a vintage crafted by the man himself, you’re in luck. Especially if you secured an ‘01, his last vintage wine. Even rarer are his earlier vintages from the late ‘70s or ‘80s, few of which remain in private collections.
Moreover, like any fine Burgundy wine, a Henri Jayer ages well up to four decades. You can hold on to the bottle till you find the right buyer and quote your price!
Henri Jayer wines are easily some of the most expensive from Burgundy and consistently perform well at wine auctions as well.
In 2018, Baghera wines organized the biggest auction of Henri Jayer’s wines ever, with 209 magnums for sale. At this event, 15 magnums of Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux 2001 sold for over 1.2 million USD!
The Baghera wines auction is proof that Henri Jayer stands shoulder-to-shoulder with legacy houses like Domaine Romanee Conti at auctions. And its average price keeps going up as the number of bottles dwindles.
Henri Jayer’s nephew Emmanuel Rouget and the Meo-Camuzet family make wine on the same land and with similar techniques. And though their wine is worth collecting, they don’t command the high prices that Jayer’s did.
All of this is a reason to hurry and grab a magnum of Henri Jayer!
10 Best Henri Jayer Wines In 2021
Here’s our pick of the most sumptuous and precious Henri Jayers through the years.
1. 1978 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru
This wine’s deep red and vivid complexity tells the story of the years it spent maturing in cellars. It was one of Henri Jayer’s early vintages and, therefore, a great wine to inaugurate this list!
Find dashes of citrus, rose, and leather in the aroma of this rich and spicy wine.
Price of 1978 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru: $37,404
2. 1982 Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru
The ‘80s gave us some of the best Henri Jayers ever. The Echezeaux ‘82 is a fine example of this trend. The fragile yet resilient wine expresses itself on the palate in a bouquet of black truffle and ferrous notes.
Price of 1982 Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru: $7,132
3. 1985 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru
The robust tannins of the ‘85 are a result of Jayer’s ‘cold maceration’ technique and aging in oak barrels, lending it a mocha flavor. But these are balanced by the intense Pinot Noir fruitiness.
The wine’s long finish makes it an irresistible favorite among wine lovers.
Price of 1985 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru: $27,201
4. 1985 Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Meurgers
Dominated by red fruit aroma, the ‘85 from Le Meurgers vineyard in Nuits St George is meant to be served chilled. Pair its tannic intensity with a superb meal of game birds or duck.
Price of 1985 Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Meurgers: $4,835
5. 1987 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru
This elegant wine was among the last of the illustrious ‘80s. It reflects flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, leather, and soft cherry. Its long finish leaves you with subtle citrusy notes.
Price of 1987 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru: $17,238
6. 1992 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Beaumonts
Ripe fruit, soft tannins, and a healthy acidity introduce you to this exquisite wine. It is deep ruby red and full of mind-boggling complexity.
Price of 1992 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Beaumonts: $6,005
7. 1993 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux
Mulberries, blackberries, and black truffles come together in an intoxicating aroma of this wine.
The long finish leaves you with hints of tart cherries.
Price of 1993 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux: $20,441
8. 1999 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux
Fruity. Creamy. Intense. This wine from Jayer’s flagship vineyard is reminiscent of fine oolong tea. It has a dessert-like character without being over the top.
Price of 1999 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux: $21,926
9. 2001 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux
Henri Jayer’s career's last vintage is emblematic of his winemaking legacy and a lesson in craftsmanship for all wine lovers.
It draws you in with its rosy red color and red fruit aromas. Slowly, the wine reveals finely tuned minerals and then erupts into a sensory experience for the ages.
Price of 2001 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux: $16,368
10. 2001 Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges
This medium-bodied, dry red wine is the perfect inauguration to the 21st century. Watch out for black forest fruits, leather, and an elegant, long finish.
Price of 2001 Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges: $3,761
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Henri Jayer: The Dean Of Burgundy Winemakers
Few winemakers enjoy a cult status during their lifetime. Henri Jayer was one of them. His innovative and exacting techniques have impacted French winemaking significantly.
A bottle of Henri Jayer wine comes with its fair share of history and investment-worthiness. And now you can own it.
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