It's borderline annoying how memory is so often tethered to the burst of neurons firing that accompanies the first time.
That's what I think about when I drink Romuald Valot's 'Cuvee 21550.' It reminds me of my earliest, foggiest natural wine memories. Loud rooms, dark corners, little pops of tart cherry and raspberry, recollections of forests during humid summer mornings with the sun peeking through the canopy in shards, this unstoppable, pulsating energy. Purity that I long for every time I open a bottle.
Romuald Valot makes his living as a contract vigneron for some of the top Grand Cru names in Burgundy. He's been doing it for the past two decades. His approach is farming first; he's the son of a winegrower in the Hautes Cotes de Nuits and grew up in the vineyards.
Everything he does is hands-off. Not in the lazy sense, like that "the wine makes itself" bullshit. But in the sense that his fruit is so impeccable and his touch so deft that he can create beautiful wines without tricks or overparenting. His wines are unmistakably zero zero but they hang on the clean side of that razor's edge.
For the wines that bear his name, Valot vinifies in Beaujeu (a middle of nowhere village on the far western reaches of Regnie). The 'Cuvee 21550' comes from a really good parcel of old vines in Ladoix; it's a stones throw from where Domaine Prieure-Roch sources the grapes for 'Le Cloud.' Valot is a Burgundian winemaker making Beaujolais because it's chill. This wine tastes like what it is: top-flight Pinot Noir made by a radical Regnie-ish producer, for kicks.