Profile: Château des Ronzes

22.3.2017billn

Tasted in Regnié with Frédéric Sornin and son Victor, 21 February 2017.

Château des Ronzes
les Ronzes
69430 Régnié Durette
Tel: +33 6 11 48 54 41

Frédéric’s great-grandfather, had vines and a negoce business but stopped during the war and there was no-one to succeed, so the vines were diffused through the family. In the 1960s there was some regrouping. In 2006 Frédéric started down the direction of bio – “But there are always some new parcels, so now some are vins de bio and others vins de nature.” Victor is Frédéric’s son and he already has his name on the labels of one cuvée.

The domaine produces Beaujolais Villages from Lantignié, Regnié and Morgon from 20 hectares of vines – less Morgon than Regnié as the heart of the domaine was always Regnié and the block of vines around the domaine – but they continue to grow…

Around the domaine there is a nice looking soil – this is the bio. “It took me ten years of experience to plough like that, slowly modifying the plough so that it can work under the corns of the goblet. Still it’s a mix also with vines that are newly planted on cordon. But there’s not yet a ‘bio solution’ for the vines on the slopes…” And it’s clear that Frédéric likes his modifications – his garage looks like a mechanic’s workshop.

The cuverie is traditional, the old cellar filled with concrete tanks. Frédéric has been making ‘vins de nature’ seriously since 2014 – but they are not completely free of sulfur – “I add just a trace of sulfur at bottling, but only that!

Frédéric says that he has relatively little contact with the end clients, as the sales are done through distributors and agents. “But if they come on rainy days, I’m available!” There are good sales in France though there is also some export.

Frédéric on 2016:
In bio it was complicated – actually horrible – in 40 years I never saw anything like it. There was hail, but fortunately not dramatic, then there were the weeds and the mildew – simply hours and hours in the tractor – and the bio products are a little less effective. In the end It was something of a miracle that had started in the direction of a catastrophe. Since 2006 I was never in danger of losing a vintage due to mildew, but in 2016 it could have happened. In the end the grapes were not bad, but it was hard, psychologically until the end of June! In the end I harvested 30 hl/ha – and for bio I’d say that 30 is close to normal – it just double the work!

Frédéric on 2015:
2015 was much less work but also not so much volume – About 30 hl/ha again but without the stress. I’ve never seen a vintage like it, and my wines represent the vintage – I don’t think they represent the domaine. Even the trees were dry here, even with a fire in the forest above us. The 2015s are pretty much sold out already… I did a lot of destemming in 2015 so the wines are very approachable!

The wines…

An engaging producer of engaging wines. Not much to taste though as it was all sold out!

2015 Coeur de Régnié
Vin bio. Here lots of destemming. Bottled last spring, now 1 year in bottle, ‘the cuvée that is for saving – I like to think!’
Here is a modest but attractive and silky nose of dark fruit. In in the mouth, bright, dark fruit, really lots of energy. Bright and interesting and really very drinkable. Yum! The nose becomes ever-more attractive.

2016 Domaine victor Sornin, Beaujolais Villages Vin Biologique Naturel
No sulfur, even at the bottling…
A slightly tighter nose. Hmm, this is bright, quite direct, still a dark fruit, a good texture. Slowly mouth-watering. The nose is now slowly opening out. A different style of fruit but nicely saline and complex too – I like – there’s terrior here.

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