Domaine Sérol, 2019 Update

The Côte Roannaise is one of four very distant appellations which make up the vineyards of the Upper Loire, the others being the Côtes du Forez, the Côte d’Auvergne and Saint-Pourçain. A lost corner of the French vineyard, this region of France is scattered with the remnants of once expansive vineyards which were spread over many tens of thousands of hectares before being razed to the ground by phylloxera. Some of these vineyards had enviable reputations, akin to those enjoyed by Burgundy today, yet it has been a battle for the four surviving appellations to re-establish themselves, hampered by their relative anonymity and their isolated position. Happily, and quite rightly bearing in mind the position of the vineyards on the banks of the Loire or its major tributary, the Allier, the Loire Valley has taken these remnants under its wing.

Domaine Sérol

Of the four appellations, the Côte Roannaise is perhaps the most successful. Sitting at the extreme easterly position of the Massif Central, this is a region of eroded igneous soils, particularly granite, along with some non-igneous materials including degraded tufa and alluvial deposits. Most of the vineyards have a south-east facing aspect, stretched across 25 kilometres of hillsides around the city of Roanne, 200-or-so hectares divided between about fifty growers who all work independently, farming the soils, vinifying the fruit and making their own wines, there being no local co-operative to fall back on. One way in which they can support one another, however, is mutual marketing, and quite sensibly the vignerons of the Côte Roannaise and the other three appellations have joined forces to publicise their wines under the banner of La Loire Volcanique. It’s a good move, focusing on their distinctive terroirs, but under the umbrella of a well-known wine region.

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