Thomas ROUANET

Languedoc-Roussillon,

A Languedoc native, Thomas Rouanet grew up surrounded by vines not far from the village of Saint-Chinian. His grandfather was a local grape grower in the region, and after considering alternate career paths, Thomas ultimately ended up drawn back to the vineyards to continue the work of his family members before him.

However, while Thomas’ grandfather cultivated vines, Thomas’ interest expanded beyond the land. In 2008, he began to pursue winemaking studies in Montpellier and garnered further industry experience through working in wine sales and wine retail. A strong desire to be back in the vines pushed him to Yannick Pelletier’s estate in 2010, where he worked for a few years prior to returning to his family vines in the village of Creissan.

Today, Thomas organically farms five hectares of vines around Creissan, including the original vines his grandfather worked, as well as a few other parcels he acquired along the way. Thomas describes his grandfather as somewhat of a trailblazer; not only was he organically farming back in the early ‘90s—far before it was fashionable to do so—he also worked to help create the first organic cooperative in all of France.

Thomas’ vines are planted to Alicante, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, and Terret. With regards to farming, he goes far beyond the regulations of organic certification. He creates a soil-enriching manure from cows, sheep, or hens every year, which he uses to improve the health of the vines. Treatments are based exclusively on sulfur and copper and are used only when necessary.

His first wine, Bombadilom, comes from two plots of 70-year-old Carignan and 43-year-old Grenache. In the cellar, fruit is destemmed, vinified, and aged in vats. Voltigeur is his 100% Carignan. Around 15% whole bunches are used. Vinification and aging take place in vat, though beginning this year, around 20% of the wine will be aged in amphorae.

Ale is Thomas’ 100% Alicante. He notes that while less upfront than his other wines, the wine opens beautifully and truly knows how to express itself over time. Lastly, Supersonic is made from a majority of Cinsault, with up to 35% of Grenache and Carignan used, depending on the vintage.

According to Thomas, the region’s clay-limestone terroir offers a lot of freshness and tension in the wines. By harvesting at the right time and executing gentle macerations, Thomas’ wines are silky and easy to drink, marked by harmonious, well-integrated tannins. In the words of Thomas, it’s hard to believe that these wines are made in the hot, sun-drenched south.