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Romorantin grapes

by Oct 13, 20160 comments

Romorantin is a white skinned grape variety and is considered to be a sibling to the famous Chardonnay.

Romorantin

DNA Fingerprinting of this varietal shows that the parent varieties of these grapes are Gouais Blanc (Heunisch) and Pinot Teinturier. It is a traditional variety of French white wine grape that was once quite commonly grown in the region of Loire.

However, at present, its number has dwindled and can only be found in the Cour-Cheverny AOC. Cheverny covers about a total area of 450 hectares which is shared by vines of several varieties.

Of this only 50 hectares of the south-eastern corner of the appellation consists of Romorantin. The Romorantin vineyard, which claims to be the most primitive in France is at Domaine Henry Marionnet.

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Planted in 1850 it miraculously survived the phylloxera epidemic that plundered and ravaged most of the European vineyards in the late 19th century.

It is known by different names like Plant De Breze, Blanc De Villefranche, Dameri, Framboise, Lyonnaise Blanche, Gros Blanc De Villefranche, Maclon, Pettit Maconnais, Romoranten, Romorantin Blanc, Saint Amand, Daneri, Verneuli, Celle Bruere etc.

History of Romorantin Grape

Legend has it that this regal grape variety was introduced to Loire by King Francis I of France during 1494-1547. It is said that in the 16th century when Francis was travelling back from Italy he first tasted this wine.

He liked it so much that he immediately ordered his troops to bring back with them a bunch of this wine for his fiancée. She lived in a castle in the Loire area with large areas of lands around them.

The king brought it with the thought that the peasants would be able to grow these vines for her. However, upon his arrival, his fiancée expressed to him her desires to move to the city as she was tired of musty old castle and the lonely countryside.

Although the couple moved to live up North, the vines were left with the local peasants who started growing them around a small town called Romorantin from where it drives its present name.

After a while, other grapes started becoming more and more popular because their yield per hectare was much more than Romorantin.

Romorantin was again rediscovered in the middle of the 20th century. From then it has been grown by farmers in the small village of Cour-Cheverny.

Viticulture and winemaking

It requires a warmer climate than most ‘Loire’ variety.  It can make dry, demi-sec or moelleux wine depending upon the harvest. It has a crisp fruity style with some residual sugar in it.

Characteristics of the Romorantin Grape

The wine produced from these grapes is medium lemon to yellow in colour. It gives off the aroma of pear, lemon peel and pineapple.

On the palate, however it gives the taste of fairly high acidity. It is finished with a strong and steely minerality.  The wine is crisp, bright and refreshing which are the characteristic features of the Loire Valley white wine.

It is usually a bit on the expensive side, although the experience outweighs the cost. The aroma of lemony citrus, tropical pineapples and fruity pears provide an encompassing freshness.

The dry wines produced from this variety are more suitable for an early consumption. They tend to have a rather neutral flavour profile in general.

Yet when they are vinified, they tend to take on an herbaceous tone of tropical fruits. Some sweet, botrytis-affected examples labelled as Moelleux can be found as well.

Although Chardonnay a Romorantin share a common parent Gouais Blanc their similarities seems to end there.

Food pairings with Romorantin wine

This wine excites the palate most when paired with dishes like French goats’ cheese and rocket, Ceviche which is a preparation marinating raw fish in citrus an also with grilled asparagus with hollandaise sauce which is an emulsion of liquid butter and egg yolk which is usually seasoned with lemon juice, salt and white pepper.

It can also be used as a toast with fresh goat cheese topped with braised leeks in vinaigrette and a main course of pork tenderloin medallions and apricot cream sauce with a side of shredded and brown Brussels sprouts. Because of its citrus nature, it can be paired with any green vegetables.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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