Wine Producer Spotlight - Romain Duvernay
The Duvernay family trace their business back as far as 1904 and over the years have become one of the most reliable and well-known in the Rhône, supplying the best part of the base wine for the Côtes-du-Rhônes of many famous producers, including Etienne Guigal.
Based at Châteauneuf-du-Pape with his father Roland, Romain Duvernay decided that the quality of fruit he was sourcing was so good that he would rather keep the best parcels and produce wine under his own label. In 1998, Romain Duvernay was created.
Under this brand name, Romain Duvernay and Jean-Marc Pottiez, creator and producer of major brands of champagne and brandy, have worked to develop several partnerships between domains of the South and the North of the Rhone Valley and their company NewRhône Millésimes, with the aim of finding the most beautiful expressions of the terroirs and grape varieties of the region rich in diversity.
We were lucky enough to have a quick chat with Alisa Kondratova Defoort of Romain Duvernay and discussed all things wine, the terroir and region their wines are made, and some incredible food pairing ideas with their wines. Enjoy!
1. What goals as a winemaker are you still looking to achieve?
As a house of wine, even if NEWRHONE MILLESIMES and its brand ROMAIN DUVERNAY are young, we intend to develop the best brand awareness to satisfy and build a strong consumers loyalty. In order to achieve that goal, we try to establish a permanent relationship with our vine growers based upon trust and reciprocal pieces of advice about methods of vinification and, upstream, for vineyard management, in order to develop the style, we are looking for.
We have been developing for some years our range of organic wines, extending it step by step from South to Northern Rhone appellations. We keep major attention to our male and female vine growers’ personalities. The more they are curious and innovative, the better for us.
2. Can you tell us a bit about the terroir and the region that make these wines so unique?
Romain Duvernay, a gifted wine taster who favours the Rhône Valley and is known as one of the finest palates of the region, has experienced different vineyards in France before he decided to settle in the Rhône Valley. He met with Jean-Marc Pottiez, a wine marketing specialist, responsible for developing significant wine and champagne brands now famous internationally. Having travelled the world and encountered consumer expectations from the four corners of the globe and the innovative approaches of key players from new wine-producing countries in both hemispheres, Jean-Marc Pottiez became convinced that Rhône Valley vineyards possess the exceptional resources to answer the expectations of wine lovers everywhere. This has led him to invest in creating NEWRHÔNE MILLESIMES house, purchasing the brand ROMAIN DUVERNAY, a brand bearing the name of its creator.
Rhône Valley vineyards are characterised by its sun-drenched Mediterranean climate, interspersed with short periods of rainstorms and mistral, a mighty wind which benefits the vines running down the valley from North to South. There is a great diversity of soils (granite in the north, rounded pebbles, sedimentary clay and limestones, broken up limestone soils in the south) from the last steep foothills of the Massif Central, followed by small hillsides with more gentle landscapes towards the south, at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail close to the Mont Ventoux all making up a rich and varied terroir which produces wines with a really strong identity.
The variety of altitudes and exposures gives the wines produced a nice diversity of terroirs with a palette of maturities and typicity.
3. What difficulties have you had to overcome with climate change and are you doing anything to lessen your environmental footprint?
For sure we, as anywhere in the world, have to suffer from the consequences of climate change and adapt to it. Especially the drought. Fortunately, the variety of altitudes and exposures mentioned above but also and especially the involvement of our partner winemakers in the control of yields and harvest with optimal maturity allow us to develop harmonious wines.
4. What is your favourite vineyard in the region and why?
For the beauty of the site, without hesitation Beaumes de Venise with the village of Suzette at the top of it, around the pass of the same name, and the Dentelles de Montmirail mountain around: a real vineyard of altitude in the heart of Provence. Otherwise, the villages of Gigondas, Seguret and Rasteau also have their charm.
And in the north of the valley, the St Joseph landscapes facing, on the other side of the Rhone river, the Hermitage famous slopes.
5. Finally, what is your favourite food and wine pairing from your range?
There is such a variety of expressions of Rhone wines that a single choice is impossible.
But we personally recommend:
- An aperitif with tarama on blinis, blue cheese on toasted bread or slightly spicy shrimps, with a Condrieu, so distinctive from 100% viognier grape.
- A back of cod and piperade with a St Joseph white.
- A tender meat such as lamb, lamb chops or leg of lamb, which marries as much with the Syrah of the North (Crozes Hermitage, St Joseph or Côte Roti) as with the red Appellations from the South of the Rhone Valley where Grenache is the dominant variety: Chateauneuf du Pape, Cairanne, Gigondas, etc.
- Or a curry accompanied by a Rasteau red or a Vacqueyras red.
An award-winning wine made from 100% Syrah grapes! This light and fruity wine has beautiful flavours of ripe red fruits and subtle tannins with just a touch of spice. Towards the end, there is a delightfully sweet chocolate hint along with leather and herbal notes. A wine that can be enjoyed now or left for 8 to 12 years age for a while longer.
ABV: 14% | €26.00
A great example of Cotes du Rhone Blanc from Romain Duvernay at a brilliant price. Made from Grenache, Roussanne, and Viognier the Cote du Rhone blanc from Duvernay is exotic and fresh. The palate has a creamy texture and superb balance with a vibrant acidity and spicy finish. Pairs very well with seafood, white meats, salads, and risottos.
ABV: 13% | €16.00
A must-try salmon-pink rose made from 70% Grenache, 20% Carignan, and 10% Mourvèdre. From the moment you open the bottles, the wine offers wonderfully aromatic rose with notes of peach, lime, and grapefruit envelops the senses. Fruity and refreshing with flavours of peach, apricot and strawberry, good texture and a persistent finish. Delicious on its own or as a great accompaniment to sushi, risotto or shellfish.
ABV: 13.5% | €18.00
You can find our full range of Romain Duvernay’s fantastic wines at Irish Drink Shop. And if you still can’t find that perfect wine, then be sure to contact us by email or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and we’ll be delighted to assist!
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