Localization: Rhone Valley, France
Tasting Notes: The nose is an explosion of spices, with notes of orange, anise and violets also present. Baking spices carry on to a mineral-based palate where they meet red cherries and a big dose of black pepper. Great acidity gives the wine plenty of lift and leads to a long mineral and pepper finish.
Notes: Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without de-stemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks and aged on fine lees in second-hand, oak casks. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25mg/L.
Food Pairing: Lamb shoulder, prime rib or a porterhouse steak.
The Domain: Hervé Souhaut created Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet in 1993. Hervé works 5-hectares of old and ancient vines—between 50 to 100 years old. He is very fortunate to own two vineyards in the Rhône Valley just opposite the storied hills of Hermitage in Saint Joseph. This region is widely recognized as being one of the finest areas for wine production on the planet; thanks in part to its elevation, ancient vineyard sites, and southeastern and southern exposures. The domaine is located further into the hills of the Northern Ardeche in the tiny town of Arlebosc, about a 30-minute drive, winding through the hills from St Joseph. The winery is underneath the 16th century “les romaneaux” fortified farm and sits in the middle of the vines that make up the Souteronne, Syrah, and white cuvées.
Hervé works entirely on whole grape bunches and semi-carbonic maceration. His philosophy is to extract a delicate balance of tannins from the grapes, to make a wine with subtlety and finesse. This stands in contrast to many of the storied wines of the Northern Rhone that are made with much more extraction of tannin, where they are designed to be practically undrinkable in their youth, as time is needed for them to soften and open up. Hervé prefers to make a wine that is drinkable right away, but we must say his wines have such a fantastic level of purity and acidity, that the older bottles we have tasted have incredible potential to evolve into what we find to be one of the most spectacular natural wines in existence.