Saint-Romain is a wine appellation named for the eponymous commune. The commune is about 4.6 square miles, which yield about 238 acres of vineyards, none of which are designated as Premiers Crus. As a result, all wine is produced at the village or lieu-dit level.
Due to the lack of Premiers Crus, many producers simply label their wine as Côte de Beaune-Villages or some other generic designation. Yet two types of St-Romain can provide good value: the austere, dry whites, and the firm but not complex reds. Both need a few years to round out. Although production is split about evenly between red and white, the whites have much more market share.
When St-Romain was given AOC status in 1970, that led a few producers to begin labeling their wine under the village name. Up until then, and still sometimes now, these wines were labeled as Côtes de Beaune-Villages.
Climate and Viticulture
The village is located somewhat to the west of Monthelie, which similarly occupies a lower bracket of the Burgundy wine market. Climatic conditions are similar, with less concentrated limestone than the prime time villages but still excellent weather and soil conditions.
- Chardonnay: Since the Côte de Beaune is largely a white wine area, white wine from Chardonnay enjoys a disproportionate amount of attention even in villages such as this. In reality, the white is hardly a better value than the red. With dry, classically austere flavors, these wines will open out after a few years and can last up to seven.
- Pinot Noir: There's not much Pinot Noir exported from St-Romain, even though it makes up about half of production. After about 2-3 years, the firmness and hostility initially present will fade to reveal a much more approachable core of earthy red fruit. Not much later, the wine's flavors will begin to fade. This is one of few appellations where the white ages longer than the red.
We discuss four white wine producers and one red.
- Domaine Bertrand Ambroise: These well-valued red wines offer firm, complex flavors as well as a decent backbone for aging.
- Philippe Colin: This white wine, made only at the village level, is fresh and lively but with that hard edge that materializes in many St-Romains. It will be most vivacious in the first year of life.
- Maison Deux Montilles: This consistent Côte de Beaune producer makes a village wine and a lieu-dit wine called Les Jarrons. Both are white, with firm but lean mineral and stony flavors. They usually should round out after a few years' bottle aging.
- Domaine Jean Pillot et Fils: Only white wines are produced here. Dry and flinty but with a secondary ripe, exotic layer, the village wine is more approachable than most St-Romains. The "La Perrière" lieu-dit is not significantly better, with similar flavors.
- Domaine Sauzet: The star of so many Montrachets also has a little-known St-Romain Chardonnay offering, with a far more nutty, round, almost Meursault-like quality than any of the other wines produced here. They are often on the simple side, but provide decent value.
St-Romain has no Grands Crus nor Premiers Crus. The wines of the area are discussed in the producers section instead.