I’m seeing more and more Romorantin in London and loving it. That’s saying something, with a grand total of only 70 hectares in existence. But what makes it more special is that it happens to produce great wine.
Romorantin is grown around the Cour-Cheveny AOC in the Middle Loire, between Orléans and Tours. The Cailloux du Paradis estate is in Soigns-en-Sologne, just outside the official Cour-Cheverny area. Claude Courtois bought the then 13-hectare estate in the 1990s. Since the beginning, Claude focused on biodiversity and local grape varieties. He eschews the biodynamic label, but belongs to the Nature & Progrès group, which in some measures has stricter rules than Demeter. Today his younger son Etinenne works on 6ha, while Claude still keeps 2ha to make his red and white Racines cuvées. Claude’s elder son Julien set up the 5ha Clos de la Bruyère close by. This Romorantin was made by the now 29-year-old Etienne.
The Romorantin grapes were hand-harvested from vines planted in 1998 on sandy silica soil. Natural-yeast fermentation in concrete and neutral oak after a manual basket press. 2013 being a cool year, ageing was 18 months instead of the 30 months for the ripe 2010 vintage. The colour is much lighter as a result. 11.3% ABV.
Earthiness bordering on the fishy umami of dashi. Flinty reduction along with fresh wasabi radish. Fruit comes in as sour apricot and pineapple. Beeswax finish. No oak.
Precise and acidity-driven goodness. Mouth-puckering sourness of green apple and red currant run parallel with apricot sweetness. Sweet carrot umami and slight lactic yogurt notes come in mid-palate along with gunpowder. Lime and laurel leaf finish. Romorantin is a sibling of Chardonnay and Aligoté, but this one tasted more like a crisper and lighter Chenin Blanc.
Jenny and François Selections import the wines to the US.
Within the EU, you can order the wine from Vins Etonnants.