The wines of Henri Jayer top the list of the world’s rarest and most sought-after wines, enjoying cult status in their Burgundian homeland as well as key fine wine markets around the globe. At the height of his career in the 1980s, Jayer’s wines were prized even above those of the legendary Domaine de la Romanee-Conti thanks to his painstaking commitment to quality and tiny annual production.
A modest vigneron from beginning to end, Jayer was born in and almost never left the charming village of Vosne-Romanee. His father had moved to the area prior to the First World War and cannily built up a small domaine of 7 acres by taking advantage of dirt cheap interwar prices. Over the years Jayer and his brothers, Lucien and Georges, would add to this family land as well as leasing top quality parcels from other local families.
Jayer’s name is particularly linked with Crox Parantoux, a Vosne-Romanee parcel, thanks to an agreement in 1945 made with Madame Noirot-Camuzet to care for her vineyards there in return for 50% of the fruit. Over the years Jayer was able to slowly purchase more tiny parcels of what was then largely fallow land, owning 1.77 acres of Crox Parantoux by 1970. 1978 was the first vintage Jayer made exclusively from Cros Parantoux and it has remained a legendary Jayer wine down the decades.
Jayer was also known for his minimalist approach to winemaking, maintaining that ‘wine must not be brought up in cotton-wool’ and that winemakers must ‘let nature go’ wherever possible. His primary focus was on producing exceptional quality fruit from prime vineyards rather than attempting to retrospectively impact the profile and character of the wine in the winery.
Jayer sadly passed away in 2006, but his enduring legacy is his masterful wines which enjoy great popularity amongst drinkers and collectors to this day. These wines enjoy incredible investment potential, with particular demand for the 2001 vintage which was the last he ever made, as well as rare older vintages of which just a handful are still in existence.