Grape(s): Macabeu, Muscat à Petits Grains, Grenache blanc and Grenache Gris
Localization: Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Tasting Notes: The lightest of the Rombeau Rancio secs, it is distinguished by its cepage and its shorter elevage, with an increased percentage of Macabeu and, atypically, a small amount of Muscat à Petits Grains (roughly 10%) added to the foundational Grenache blanc and Grenache Gris. Vinified in the tank with native yeasts, then transferred to an assortment of old barrels, foudres, and glass demijohns for 12-18 months aging outdoors. A portion is then returned to the cellars, which rest above ground and lack temperature control. At the same time, another portion remains in the "barrel forest" outdoors until the time of blending and bottling.
Food pairing: It can be enjoyed with all manner of tapas, with cheese, with wood-fired pork or curried lamb, or as a digestif. Shelf-stable, it should be served lightly chilled or at cellar temperature.
The Domain: One of the most storied estates in Roussillon, Domaine de Rombeau traces its origins to 1727, when the de la Fabrègue family first arrived in Rivesaltes from Lyon. By 1850, the family had amassed vineyard holdings and became one of the region’s first to bottle wine. Tanks that date from that period can still be found on the estate. The family persevered through phylloxera and successive World Wars, delving deeper into the region’s traditions while remaining open to future possibilities. As a sixth-generation family winemaker, Philippe Raspaud said: "Tradition is alive."
Today, Domaine de Rombeau farms 90 hectares under sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices from various terroirs, producing various wines, including Muscat de Rivesaltes, Rivesaltes, Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes du Roussillon-Villages. They are most famous and celebrated for their cellar of old Rivesaltes extending back to the early 1950s and for their Rancio sec, primarily out-of-doors in glass bonbonnes, barrels and foudres before blending with the help of their friend and winemaker emeritus, Rivesaltes, legend Fernand Baixas. These are intentional wines, combining the best of traditional practice with modern acumen to produce vintage wines of both power and elegance—a benchmark of what Rancio sec was, is, and can be.