Côte-Rôtie has a rich winegrowing tradition that dates back to the Greeks and Romans, and its terraced granite and schist vineyards are among some of the steepest in the world.
Decades ago as many of these terraces crumbled in ruins, négociants were the only wineries with the means to bottle the wines. But in 1982, after years of selling his grapes to the négoces, Michel Ogier decided to start making his own wine under his own label. With a sumptuous flavor profile, silky texture and more finesse than was typical in the appellation, it didn’t take long before Michel’s wines caught our attention; by 1987, we were importing our first cases of Ogier to the States.
In 1998, Michel’s son, Stéphane, joined the family business fresh out of enology school in Beaune. This young and talented go-getter has refined his father’s passion for quality by introducing lower yields into their viticultural plan (via de-budding), replanting vineyards, and introducing a négociant arm of the business. Together, they farm 16 hectares in some of the most celebrated vineyards of the appellation’s Côte Brune and Côte Blonde, Lancement and Côte Rozier. Stéphane has purchased and replanted new vineyards in some of the highest points of the appellation (Bertholon, Besset, Côte Blond, Montmain, and Champon). In addition, they also produce an elegant Saint-Joseph, a rare Côte du Rhône Village Plan de Dieu, three Syrahs (“L’Ame Soeur”, “La Rosine and “Syrah d’Ogier”) and a Viognier from the Collines Rhodaniennes, and two stunning cuvées of Condrieu.
Stéphane has built his philosophy on two principles: precision and freshness. Interpreting the terroir is not just about conveying the effect of the sun, but also the minerals. He may seek concentration in the vineyards through de-budding, green harvest, and leaf-pulling, but not in the cellars.
Each parcel is vinified and matured separately. Stéphane believes in adapting his methods to reflect the unique individual terroirs. Once the grapes are harvested, they are brought back to the Ogiers’ temperature-controlled cellars in Ampuis, mostly de-stemmed and then cold-stabilized at 39°F. Not only does this preserve the natural acidity of the grapes, but it also serves to extract the primary aromas of the fruit. It is for this reason that Stéphane uses stainless steel fermentation tanks, as well. Using light punch-downs and gentle pump-overs, he is able to achieve a gentle extraction without overpowering, clumsy tannins. Slow, 18-month élevages in barrel create harmony, complexity and longevity for these cuvées. One taste is evidence enough that tremendously hard work, historic vineyards and soils, and a commitment to precision can yield wines of exquisite beauty.
- Vineyard Area: 16 ha
- Soil Type: Limestone
- Varieties Cultivated: Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Syrah
- Country: France
- Winemaker: Stéphane Ogier
- Topography: Sleep Stopes