Originally from Burgundy, Romauld Valot has spent the past decade forging a new path in the remote hills 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 Romauld to be alone with nature. He has since acquired a further eight hectares of vines elsewhere in the region, and 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, he experiments without ploughing or pruning in some parcels. In the event he does treat the vines, he does so with his own infusions of wild plants, which he gathers and mixes with spring water, whey and 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 approach to farming might be radical, the wines are anything but. Vibrant, fragrant and nuanced, they are an exercise in purity and thrillingly unique.
When explaining where exactly this parcel was, Romauld used Julie’s En Remont as a marker. That parcel sits right at the northern reaches of Fleurie and this is the next plot beyond the forest. This comes from a steep slope of granite with a little touch of quartz. Compact and elegant, there is a lovely density to the dark ruby fruit and a distinct mineral imprint which adds plenty of intrigue.