The cathedral winery
Considered to be one of the finest architectural wineries in France, the originality of Château Romanin stems from several important features including the fact that it is buried in the rock and built in 1992 by the architect Serge Hennemann.
The winery takes into consideration the movement of the stars, the summer and winter solstices, the path of the sun and the full moon. It also incorporates elements used by the Château’s original builders combined with contemporary materials: wood, concrete and steel. In our underground “cathedral winery”, traditional knowledge has been balanced with the latest technology to create an environment that is ideal for the ageing of very fine wines. A real challenge… a challenge met!
The cathedral resembles an astronomical observatory aligned with the rhythm of the seasons, the sun and the moon. Inside, the foudres contain the very essence of a wine which is already becoming full-bodied, deep and broad.
The orientation of the cathedral winery was chosen in accordance with the earth’s magnetism and in keeping with the spirit of the place. Gothic in style and impressive with its arches, carved capital columns and ribbed vaulting, the cathedral helps to magnify the characteristics of the future fine wines. The positioning of the foudres within the space, the winery’s shapes and volumes, including the use of the royal cubit (0.5236 m or 20.67 inches), the unit of measure identified on the ruins of the château, are all in harmony with the estate’s decision to adopt biodynamic production methods.
A staircase wraps around three floors and carries on to the top of the vegetalcovered dome, a strategic location at the top of the buried building. From here you can enjoy a superb 360° view of the Alpilles mountains, the vineyards, the 13th century ruins of Château Romanin, Mont Ventoux (the Giant of Provence) and the gliders circling gracefully in the sky above.
« The winery is home to a wine library created by Anne-Marie and Jean-Louis Charmolüe to preserve the history and the memory of the wines; a space where the old vintages lie ageing, a place for tastings in a spirit of sharing and conviviality.
Considered to be one of the finest architectural wineries in France.
Vinification - Ageing - Blending
A man of great instinct and a connoisseur of terroirs, Jean-Louis Charmolüe, the former owner of Château Montrose – the stronghold of the Cabernet Sauvignon – had believed in Merlot’s potential to add elegance to a blend, thereby producing a «monumental» wine. For Château Montrose, Second Grand Cru Classé Saint-Estèphe, his instinct paid off.
Following that same line of thinking, Jean-Louis and Anne-Marie Charmolüe, Théo Buravand,cellar master and winemaker, and the entire team at the domaine, are committed to «creating a great Pomerol wine at Château Romanin, but without the Merlot». They are making this mantra, dear to Mr Charmolüe, a reality as they strive for perfect quality.
They decided to vinify the grapes from individual parcels separately to bring out the Alpilles mountain micro-climates and to create more pertinent blends for deep, more precise and more aromatic wines.
The new winemaking cellars, equipped with 15 to 120 hectolitre stainlesssteel vats for the white and rosé wines, as well as inverted truncated 40 to 100 hectolitre tanks for the red wines, also play an important role in this.
HARVESTING BY HAND
The harvested grapes are received in the winery and carefully sorted by hand.
For whites and rosés, the grapes are chilled in a cold chamber at about 10°C, for 24 hours, to preserve the aromatic precursors as far as possible. We have opted for a long, and therefore gentle, pneumatic pressing of the grapes in whole bunches, a cold settling to clarify the juice, an alcoholic fermentation between 16-18°C, and no malolactic fermentation. Vinification is carried out in our new white and rosé vat room, in stainless-steel vats of various sizes.
For the reds, after destemming and crushing, an alcoholic fermentation is carried out at a temperature of between 24-26°C in the new red wine vat room. Maceration takes place in truncated stainless-steel vats and lasts between 20 to 30 days with extraction controlled by punching down operations.
The malolactic fermentation is carried out in foudres (large oak vats) and/or stainless-steel vats, depending on the type of wine being produced. For all the wines, an electronic system of sensors is placed in each vat to regulate and control the juices’ fermentation temperature and optimize their aromatic development.
AGEING OF THE WHITES & ROSÉS
The wines are aged for five or six months on the fine lees with “bâtonnage”. Bâtonnage is the operation of stirring up the fine lees lying at the bottom of the vat to put them back into suspension with the wine.
AGEING OF THE REDS
Château Romanin rejects standardisation and refuses to follow the dictates of oak in order to produce wines with authentic and powerful flavours. For this reason, we carefully manage our ageing in foudres (45 hl) or wooden barrels taking into account several criteria including the size and age of the container and the duration of ageing, as well as the vintage and the specific characteristics of each wine. Oak allows us to coat the fruit and round out the tannins, while stainlesssteel gives us better preservation of the fruit
BLENDING It is carried out on two occasions :
– one before Christmas for the white and rosé wines and
– a second in early spring for the reds.
During this important operation, we blend together the single vineyard selections that will create the full, well-structured and delicate Château Romanin wines that show the influence of our mode of viticulture.
The wine tasting cellar
In the heart of the Alpilles, the closest mountain range to the Mediterranean Sea, there lies an undulating, sun-drenched land. Nature has shaped a triumphant “V” on the northern side of the mountain, between Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Eygalières. This geological rift creates exceptional updrafts and you may be lucky enough to witness the silent ballet of gliders above the ruins of a 13th century Château. This land is home to Château Romanin!
There lies an undulating, sun-drenched land.