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Hervé Souhaut created Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet in 1993. Hervé works 5 hectares of old and ancient vines—between 50 to 100 years-old. He is very fortunate to own two vineyards in the Rhône Valley just opposite the storied hills of Hermitage in Saint Joseph. This region is widely recognized as being one of the finest areas for wine production on the planet; thanks in part to its elevation, ancient vineyard sites and the southeastern and southern exposures. The domaine is located further into the hills of the Northern Ardeche in the tiny town of Arlebosc, about a 30 minute drive from St Joseph, winding through the hills. The winery is underneath the 16th century “les romaneaux” fortified farm and sits in the middle of the vines that make up the souteronne, syrah, and white cuvées.

Hervé works with entirely whole grape bunches and semi-carbonic maceration. His philosophy is to extract a delicate balance of tannins from the grapes, to make a wine with subtlety and finesse. This stands in contrast to many of the storied wines of the Northern Rhone, that are made with much more extraction of tannin, designed to be practically undrinkable in youth and soften and open with time. Hervé prefers to make a wine that is drinkable right away, but we must say his wines have such a fantastic level of purity and acidity, that the older bottles we have tasted have incredible potential to evolve into what we find to be one of the most spectacular natural wines in existence.

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Certification: Practicing Organic.


La Souteronne Vin De Pays: — Back to the top

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Age of Vines: 60 to 80 years old non-clone vines.

Yields: 25 hl/ha 3,000 bottles annually.

Pruning Method: Gobelet

Soil: Schist.

Varietals: Gamay.

Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested & undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without de-stemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks & aged on fine lees in secondhand oak casks for eight months. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25 mg/L.

Tasting Note: Nearly purple in the glass with a garnet rim. The nose is an enticing array of strawberry, black cherry, plum, fig paste, smoky herbs and pounded stones. Buoyant black fruit dominates the palate and is followed by pretty red berry tones, and minerality. The granite soil evokes something very familiar and Beaujolais-like, while cloaked under the influence of the Northern Rhone, suggesting the more dark and bacon-y tendencies of Syrah from this area.


Saint Epine: — Back to the top

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The Saint Epine vineyard is extremely steep and terraced with old rock walls, and is located right behind Hervé and Beatrice Souhaut’s house in the village of Tournon.

Age of Vines: 100 (plus!) year-old non-cloned vines.

Yields: 25 hl/ha 1,500 bottles annually.

Pruning Method: Gobelet

Soil: Schist. Varietals: Syrah.

Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without de-stemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks and aged on fine lees in second-hand, oak casks. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25mg/L.

Tasting Note: The nose is an explosion of spices, with notes of orange, anise and violets also present. Baking spices carry on to a mineral-based palate where they meet red cherries and a big dose of black pepper. Great acidity gives the wine plenty of lift and leads to a long mineral and pepper finish. Pairing: Lamb shoulder, prime rib or a porterhouse steak.


Saint Joseph: — Back to the top

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Hervé’s St Joseph vineyard is located high up on the slope of St. Joseph, one of the better sites among the appellation. From these vines, one can clearly view the fabled Hermitage slope, which shares very similar soil, slope, and soil characteristics with this vineyard.

Age of Vines: 10 to 100 Years.

Yields: 25 hl/ha 3,000 bottles annually.

Pruning Method: Gobelet

Soil: Schist.

Varietals: Syrah.

Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without destemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks and aged on fine lees in second-hand oak casks for eight months. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25mg/L.

Tasting Note: Violets, bacon fat, black cherry all interplay on the nose. Deep black cherry and juicy plum flavors meshed with candied violets and cool strawberry flavors on the palate. The moderate tannins highlight the fruity components on the finish. Pairing: Leg of lamb, grilled beef, roast pork, pan seared veal chops, aged cheeses, braised rabbit, pan seared duck breast, rabbit paté on rustic bread.


Syrah: — Back to the top

Age of Vines: 10 to 100 Years.

Yields: 25 hl/ha 3,000 bottles annually.

Pruning Method: Gobelet

Soil: Schist.

Varietals: 100% Syrah—30 year-old vines, some of the fruit is purchased from neighboring growers.

Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without destemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks and aged on fine lees in second-hand oak casks for eight months. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25mg/L.

Tasting Note: Violets, bacon fat, black cherry all interplay on the nose. Deep black cherry and juicy plum flavors meshed with candied violets and cool strawberry flavors on the palate. The moderate tannins highlight the fruity components on the finish. Pairing: Ideal with squab, Cornish game hen, roasted chicken or roast pork, grilled beef or lamb.


Viognier/Roussanne: — Back to the top

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Age of Vines: 10 to 100 Years

Yields: 25 hl/ha 4,000 bottles annually.

Pruning Method: Cordon de Royat

Soil: Schist.

Varietals: 70% Viognier, 30%Roussanne—10 year-old non-cloned vines. Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without destemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks and aged on fine lees in second-hand oak casks for eight months. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25mg/L.

Tasting Note: Golden straw in the glass with lovely scents of white flowers, tropical fruit, wet stones and notes of oak. The palate is supple with loads of pear and fig flavors that are backed by elegant mineral notes. Moderate acidity, apple preserves and a warm note of oak lingers on the finish. Pairing: Seared sea scallops, lobster, stewed fish dishes, creamy chicken and pasta dishes, roasted vegetables, hearty garden salads.


Cessieux: Saint Joseph

 

Varietals: Syrah.

A new cuvée from vines Beatrice’s grandfather always owned (along with all the other vines). But around 25 years ago, before he knew Hervé wanted to make wines, he rented that parcel out with a 25 year lease. The vines were planted back then from clonal selection (as opposed to massale (non-clone) for the rest of the vines). These vines weren’t worked organically until Hervé got the vines back in 2013. Herve says the soil in St Joseph is very rocky, with very little soft soil that retains chemicals, so he thinks the chemicals have now washed out of the parcel.

Tasting Notes: Les Cessieux is a study in Hervé’s use of finesse in what would traditionally have made a powerful, brooding wine. The classic elements of Northern Rhone syrah, dark red fruits and savory elements of bacon fat are there, but are subtle in comparison with the floral aromas jumping out of the glass. Les Cessieux is Hervé’s most exuberant–one might say hedonistic–wines.