When from a young age you learn how to grow vines and harvest grapes, the risk of you turning your back on it later is just as great as that of falling in love with it. The Roustang family has been working the vines on the Massif d'Uchaux in the southern Rhône Valley for three generations. Over the years I've learned to understand this business, to know its rules and enjoy its attractions. However I wasn’t predestined to become an oenologist… out of love, my parents had always tried to deter me from taking up such a tough, demanding profession.
But don't you always return to your first love?
My interest in oenology took me off to study wine science, first in the Loire Valley and then in Burgundy - I was keen to understand the plant first, the wine second. This was when I learnt that the Pinot Noir had certain similarities to the Grenache, especially in the way these varietals are not easy to bring out because of their uncompromising and fascinating characters. Both grape varieties need to be observed and understood in order to be able to tame and work with them. I then knew that I would return to the Rhône valley, closer to my roots.
But before that, I had a burning desire to go and see what others were doing elsewhere, to open my mind. In order to explore the Syrah in other latitudes, I took off on three occasions to well- known, new world wine regions (Napa Valley, Hunter Valley and Barossa Valley). Not so 'new’ world in fact, as I vinified a 120 year old Syrah in one of them. The finesse and elegance of this grape variety made me even more eager to return to the Rhône Valley, as close as possible to the famous hills that gave it birth. I learnt a great deal from my time spent abroad. From the strong ties which the wine culture creates, forged back then and still strong today, I have come to realize that oenology is above all a human adventure and that, like any good idea, it should be shared. Build relationships, share, learn and bring progress, that's what I was going to do.
I have been enjoying and building relationships with Rhône Valley wine producers for over 10 years now. I work hard at preserving these, so that, with our combined experience and knowledge, we can together design and hope to create amazing wines and make great discoveries.