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The Obscure Romoratin Grape Variety & Julien Courtois' Autochtone

Romorantin is an ancient variety descended from Gouais blanc and Pinot fin teinturier, and was quite widely planted in the Loire Valley in the past. Unfortunately, its numbers have dwindled drastically over the years and are now mainly found in the Cour-Cheverny area and a handful of the surrounding villages in France.

A late-ripening variety compared to its step-siblings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this obscure white-skinned grape typically produces mineral-driven wines filled with lemon peel, ripe yellow citrus, pear and apple flavours. Once properly aged, honey, tropical notes of pineapples and ripe melons will also surface. Romorantin also tends to have a searingly high acidity that provides the necessary freshness to the wines made, but it is also capable of producing whispers of oxidative tones and some herbaceous notes.

"Autochtone" 2014 by Julien Courtois of Le Clos de la Bruyere, Loire Valley, France

We tried a version from Julien Courtois over the weekend and his 2014 Romorantin remains our firm favourite out of all the "Autochtone" we have tasted in a span of 12 years across multiple vintages. Cloudy light golden yellow core with a distinctively smokey, flinty, curry leaf reduction nose interspersed with bright flavours of green mangoes, dried guava, belimbing (star fruit) and fresh sour plums. Good tension with medium+ acidity and finish. Those of you who are keen to see the development of the wine will find oxidative notes of overripe apples and ripe apricots on Day 2 and 3 (wine left open in a fridge), along with some interesting macerated Japanese umé and chinese salted sour plum flavours.

Most literature will tell you that Romorantin is a wine meant for goat's cheese & wild rockets salad, all kinds of ceviche and grilled green spring vegetables - nothing wrong here really and they have been proven to work in traditional pairing of classic French cuisine.

But for those who are more adventurous and desire a more exciting palate experience, we'd recommend pairing this wine with some deep fried pork knuckles with mild Vietnamese nuoc cham dipping sauce, roast suckling pig (with all the works of course) and soy heavy dishes like Kong Bak (braised pork belly in soy), ikan goreng kicap (Malay style pan fried fish with dark soy), and steamed Kampung chicken drizzled with thick dark soy and fried shallot oil.

If you haven't tried any wines made from Romorantin before, just hit us up or go to our online shop here!


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