Welcome to the latest installment of our new series highlighting the wineries and producers that craft the wines for Tasting Room! We're excited to show you some behind-the-scenes photos and give you a peek at how some of our popular Languedoc-Roussillon reds are made at Serre Romani.
Serre Romani (which translates to "Rosemary Hill") was founded in 2008 in the heart of the Agly and Maury valleys, near the Spanish border and facing the Mediterranean Sea, by Laurent and Cylia Pratx. They chose the land for its dark-colored, schist-based soil, perfect for growing Grenache, and the grapes are cultivated entirely by hand, under conditions that are respectful to the environment, in 6 hectares of vineyards. In this region, Grenache is able to express the terroir of the south: bold and vivid, yet refined and elegant.
While the Pratxes were passionate about the location for its grapegrowing benefits, they also chose it as a beautiful and idyllic place to raise their family. Laurent grew up in the Roussillon, where his own family produced grapes and other fruits for generations. When the couple first settled in the region, they had one young son; now they have two more sons and a daughter, who were all an integral part of the harvests in one way or another. Laurent gave us a peek at his harvest notes through the years:
2008: We have bought 5 hectares of Grenache Noir in the Maury Valley, the best place for Grenache on schist soil. And we produced our first bottles (four reds: pure Grenache and one fortified). The production was 1,200 cases this year.
2009: I'm a dad for the second time. It's a boy! My wife is really busy. This is the only thing I remember from this vintage!
2010: Very bad year for us. Hail on the vineyard; only 500 cases. Something to forget!
2011: With the birth of my third boy in January, my wife is now a full-time mom. No more help in the vineyards! However, it was a very nice vintage; fantastic Grenache, pure expression. I feel good!
2012: We have created our own cellar with stainless-steel tanks, a pneumatic press and a warehouse. Production: 1,700 cases.
2013: With our new winery, new products, new vineyard, we made 14 different wines this year (white, red, rosé, fortified, barrel-aged). Production: 2,500 cases.
2014: It's time for a baby girl! My daughter was born in June. Perfect timing; I will be ok for harvest! We have decided to build our estate in the vineyard: home, winery, tasting room, warehouse. Our dreams are really coming true. Production: 3,200 cases.
2015: This year marked my best vintage and my worst experience as a father. My first son was in a terrible accident at our winery on the first day of harvest. I spent most of my time between the winery and the hospital. He is now ok, but I will never forget that day in August. My family is first, and my daily work is for them. Production: 5,000 cases.
2016: We are so happy to live in the middle of the vineyard, the result of years of hard work. The winery and tasting room is nice for welcoming customers. This vintage was a challenge. No rain from April to September, and 100° F every day for an entire month. A very dense vintage. We had to extract the best flavors and tannins. The wine reveals the spicy character of the Grenache, with a licorice finish. Production: 7,500 cases.
Try the wines for yourself. The 2016 Domaine Sainte Estelle Côtes Catalanes, crafted at Serre Romani, is currently on sale in our Bottle Shop.