Romain des Grottes and his wife Perrine Stas live in the Beaujolais region, in Saint-Étienne-des-Oullières, where they grow Gamay, Chardonnay and hybrid grape varieties on Romain's grandfather's land. Both passionate about biology and biodiversity, they also cultivate all sorts of plants, herbs and flowers in their garden, pushing back the limits of traditional viticulture...
|Cultivated grapes||Gamay, Chardonnay|
|Certifications||Organic agriculture (AB), Demeter|
|Our favorites||Brut de Cuve, Dry Paradise|
Romain, who today defines himself as a farmer, grew up in the Paris region where he met his wife Perrine and began studying at a business school. Freshly graduated and already a young father, his grandfather suggested that he come and look after part of the family vineyards at Château de Lacarelle, in the Beaujolais.
Anxious to give his family roots close to the land and the countryside, and not very attached to the urban setting of Paris, he took the plunge and, after the 2001 harvest, settled in Saint-Étienne-des-Oullières, taking over some 6.5 hectares of the family estate under lease.
At the beginning, he produced bulk wine which he sold to a historical wine merchant, while already doing some tests and bottling of wines without sulphur, attracted by what he likes to call "pure juice" wines. After a few years, the merchant abandoned him, as Romain's style of wine was probably too far removed from the formatted shackles of the market... this was the opportunity for him to generalise his practices and since 2005, all the wines produced at the domaine are yeast-free, sulphur-free, without any additives and obviously unfiltered.
The practices in the vineyard, on the granitic terroirs of the Beaujolais, are also crucial for Romain and the estate has been certified in organic agriculture and Demeter since 2006, under the label Nature & Progrès, a label that goes further and further. Instead of copper, Romain prefers herbal teas and fermented plant extracts. For some years now he has also been experimenting with hybrids, which are sometimes more resistant to the high temperatures of our time and the terrible spring frosts.
Most of the grapes are released as "new" Beaujolais under the name of Brut de Cuve, to which are added the sparkling Dry Paradise and Un Petit Coin de Paradis with its touch of sugar and, depending on the vintage, a few more confidential cuvées with extended maturation. Romain sums up his style in four points: fruit, acidity, bubbles and low alcohol.
Beyond the wines, Perrine and Romain produce fruit and cereal juices, flowers and medicinal plants through their Elixir Lab and have been sharing their land with a market gardener, also biodynamic, since 2012 under the gentle name of Un Jardin dans les Vignes.
Concerned about producing thirst-quenching drinks for the whole family, even the youngest, Romain has been developing his Antidote for a few years. A gentle blend of grape juice, apple juice, herbs and plants from their garden, all pasteurised and carbonated and... without alcohol!
The result is surprisingly deep and fresh. A perfect balance between acidity and aromatic complexity, the sweetness of the grape juice balanced by the herbal infusion and the tickling bubbles for even more crunch...