If you’ll forgive the cliché, history and cutting edge modernity come alive at Chateau Romanin. The marriage is like no other in Provence – Chateau Romanin is perhaps the most secluded estate in the region, hidden among the ruins of an ancient castle, imbedded in limestone crags of ancient origin. It was once the domaine of the Knights Templar; the land surrounding the Alpilles and Baux-de-Provence has been disputed, fought over and claimed by rival factions for centuries. Wine and olive oil have been made here since time immemorial, which suggests an intransigence and timeless quality to Chateau Romanin. Yet they employ the latest equipment, 21st-century expertise and viticultural practices that are far removed from the chemical-dependent mantra of the mid-20th century. At Chateau Romanin, you’ll encounter more than a few surprises and contradictions, to say the least.
The land on which the modern-day chateau stands has been the center of European politics for over 2000 years – after the Romans lost control of western Europe in the 6th century AD, the Gauls fought many battles against rival factions, not least the Moors who arrived in Andalucia In 711. The original chateau in Alpilles was founded by Templar Knight Raymond de Gantelme in the 13th century. The chateau hosted an important medieval court; knights from across Europe would come to pay homage to the wisdom of Gantelme. The intrepid knight also soon began wine and olive production, a legacy which has endured until today.
However, over the centuries the chateau’s importance waned and by the late 20th century, Romanin was a sorry state of affairs. The buildings were crumbling, investment was lacking and the vineyards were being woefully neglected. But in 1988, a local investor saw the potential for Romanin to return to its glory days and bought the decrepit chateau. Architect Serge Hennemann took on the project, on behalf of the owner of several restaurants in Provence. Following a substantial investment of time and money, a new underground winery was built in 1992. Embodying the shape and design structure of a gothic cathedral, the winery is now one of the most spectacular and famous in Provence.
Hennemann achieved wonders, but he felt it was time to move onto new projects in 2006 and so he put the property on the market. It was purchased by the former owners of Chateau Montrose – a leading estate in St-Estephe –
Anne-Marie and Jean-Louis Charmolüe. They have continued to pursue Hennemann’s vision, expanding the vineyard and doggedly chasing excellence in both viticulture and winemaking. Sadly, Jean-Louis has since died, but his former spouse is continuing their good work.
Today Romanin is as famous, if not more so, for its stunning architecture, history and commanding views of the enchanting Provencal countryside. This is understandable, yet we should place its remarkable and terroir-driven wines at the heart of the matter. Biodynamic viticulture and winemaking at this estate are truly cutting edge – Romanin represents a paradigm that is rapidly finding favor across the world; viticultural techniques that emphasize flora and fauna biodiversity, with the minimum use of naturally-occurring chemicals and a ban on harmful synthetic inputs. This shines through in the range of white, rose and red wines, all of which show a purity of fruit expression, freshness, and elegance which is not always encountered in Provencal winemaking. Winery owners often like to tout their ‘green’ credentials, sometimes without due cause. But at Chateau Romanin, talk of biodiversity or sustainability isn’t just a marketing gimmick or cheap ploy, it’s the overarching philosophy which underpins every decision – and action – taken at this unique and hallowed estate.
Chateau Romanin La Coeur de Romanin
A varying blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Hand-harvested grapes are subjected to a gentle and prolonged fermentation. After malolactic fermentation has taken place, the wine is aged in a mixture of 225L barriques and larger barrels. Accessible on release, the wine will cellar for at least a decade.
Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence Rose 2018
70% Grenache, 20% Cunoise, 10% Syrah. After a gentle and short maceration, the must is fermented in stainless steel tanks at a temperature between 18 and 20 ° C. The wine is then aged on its fine lees for typically 6 months, with regular lees-stirring (batonnages). Accessible on release.
Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence white 2016
62% Rolle, 34% Roussane, 4% Clairette. After the grapes are hand-harvested, the must is fermented in stainless steel tanks at a temperature between 18 to 20° C. The wine is then aged on its fine lees for typically 5 months, with regular lees-stirring (batonnages). Accessible on release.
Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence red 2014
A varying blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Hand-harvested grapes are fermented in a mixture of stainless steel tanks and large oak barrels, at a temperature of 24 ° to 26 ° depending on the grape variety. The wine is then aged for 18 months in large wooden barrels before release.
Chateau Romamin La Chapelle 2017
A varying blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Hand-harvested grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks with the minimum amount of sulphur added.
Chateau Romanin Alpilles IGP Rose 2019
37% Grenache, 26% Mourvèdre 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Counoise. After a gentle and short maceration, the must is fermented in stainless steel tanks at a temperature between 18 and 20 ° C. The wine is then aged on its fine lees for typically 6 months, with regular lees-stirring (batonnages). Accessible on release.
Chateau Romanin Alpilles IGP Red 2016
55% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Hand-harvested grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for a few months before bottling.
Chateau Romanin Alpilles IGP White 2019
A varying blend of Rousanne and Vermentino. The wine is fermented using natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks.
Route de Cavaillon
Tel +33 (0) 4 90 92 69 57
- Les Baux de Provence
- 1988 (modern-day chateau)
- Area under vine
- 58 hectares planted (250 hectares total)
- Oak barrel origin
- Franck Breau
- Anne-Marie Charmolue
- Grape varietals
- Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cunoise, Vermentino, Roussane, Clairette