At the end of a visit this week to the Clos Roche Blanche run by Catherine Roussel and Didier Barouillet in Mareuil-sur-Cher (AC Touraine), Didier pulled out a 1960 Clos Roche Blanche Romorantin that was a mid gold in colour with some oxidation on the nose – perhaps maderisation is a better descriptor along with aromas of honey and dried but not sweet raisins with a high acid – tonique – finish!
Neck of the 1960 Romorantin
Catherine and Didier explained that some Romorantin was planted on the property until 1974 when Catherine's father grubbed up the vines. He died the following year and Catherine replanted with Sauvignon Blanc. The Romorantin, and this may well have been the same the other wines, was only bottled in good years, so clearly 1960 was a good vintage for Romorantin. One reason for only bottling the best vintages was the lack of bottles in the 1950s and early 1960s. Wine would be bottled in previously used bottles – quite often Champagne bottles as this one looks to have been.
As I far as I know there is now little or no Romorantin still in production outside Cour-Cherverny and Valençay, although Henry Marionnet’s patch of pre-phylloxera Romorantin is outside these two appellations .
However, in the recent past Romorantin was part of the mix of varieties that makes eastern Touraine, the Loire’s melting pot, interesting. Perhaps I should say made it interesting as Sauvignon Blanc, a relative latecomer to the region, has cuckoo-like largely pushed out more indigenous varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Menu-Pineau as well as Fie-Gris and Malvoisie (Pinot Gris).