The steep slopes of Chiroubles are famously where one finds the highest vineyards in the ten crus and Romauld’s old vines sit at around 400 metres above sea level over granite and quartz. Despite the vintage, this remains lifted and perfumed, with plenty of red fruit and minerals. Served chilled, this is a wine that screams casse-croûte, whether that is a nice piece of cheese or some great charcuterie.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
Originally from Burgundy, Romuald Valot has spent the past decade forging a new path in a particularly remote part of the Beaujolais.
Born into a family of vignerons, he spent decades working for classic producers in Burgundy and was left disenchanted by the amount of chemicals used in the vineyards and the tricks being played in the cellar. In 2013 he bought a small cottage, cuverie and three hectares of vines in the hills above Beaujeu, way out in Beaujolais’ west.
The vines are planted over granite and are a hundred years old. At five hundred metres above sea level, they are amongst the very highest in the region but most importantly, they are a world away from most in the area, allowing Romuald to be alone with nature. He has since acquired a further eight hectares of vines elsewhere in the region, including a little Chardonnay and a parcel he’s planted with Aligoté, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Romuald also farms a hectare in the Côte de Beaune’s Ladoix, from which he produces a sublime Pinot Noir.
Romuald practices his own extreme take on organic agriculture, refusing to spray even copper and sulphur on the vines and experiment with no ploughing or pruning in some parcels. In the event he does need to treat the vines, he does so with his own infusions of wild plants, which he gathers and mixes with spring water, whey or clay.
Romuald’s winemaking is comparatively simple. He picks early in the morning, fills each cuve with whole bunches and fastens the cap. After a fortnight of infusion the grapes are pressed slowly over several hours and the wine is moved to old barrels for a year of élevage.
Whilst his farming might be radical, the wines are anything but. Delicate, fragrant and nuanced, they are an exercise in purity and utterly unique.