ROTEM & MOUNIR SAOUMA BY DECANTER
Even the most traditional wine regions need to evolve, and it’s often newcomers who bring new ways of thinking. But as the price of vineyard land rises in famed appellations such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it becomes more difficult for outsiders to gain a foothold. Such appellations risk resting on their laurels – so thank goodness for Rotem and Mounir Saouma.
The success of their Burgundy négociant house Lucien Le Moine has allowed them to invest in vineyards; they chose to focus on Châteauneuf. Mounir is interested in ancient ways of making wine and does things his own way. For reds, he opts for a two-week cold maceration and long, slow fermentations; he then ages the wines in barrel or amphora for up to five years – no racking, pumping, fining or filtration.
Sulphite additions are late and minimal. Omnia is a blend from across their nine lieux-dits, but the pinnacle of the range is Arioso, a pure old-vine Grenache from lieu-dit Pignan. Their white Magis is just as distinctive, tight and focused.
These are among the appellation’s most engaging wines.
Tasted by Matt Walls
Very deeply coloured, with powerful, strict tannins, deeply mineral. At 10 years, it’s starting to show its potential. I enjoyed it, but this will be spectacular in another 10 years. It’s showing beef blood, iodine, truffle and hung game, but its development has only just started. Mint, graphite and blackcurrant too. It’s only medium-bodied, but so saline and mineral, full of energy and tension. Very fine but very tight tannins for now. A great wine in the making. Elemental and electric, with none of the overextraction, thickness or sweetness that can mar some Châteauneuf. Good now; better from 2026.
Drinking Window 2021 - 2043