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Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

31 January 2008

Roussillon: Domaine Pechpeyrou, Banyuls-sur-mer

Domaine Pechpeyrou
Bertrand de Guitaut, who started Pechpeyrou in that year-of-heat 2003, makes slightly eccentric wines in the micro-winery underneath his house above Banyuls town (you're not allowed to build a cellar on farm land i.e. next to the vineyard, stupid rules huh), using grapes sourced from his tiny 1.7 ha of vineyards (about 4 acres) to produce a grand total of 3000 bottles. One parcel is located on the way towards the Col de Banyuls, the thrilling little 'road' that climbs over the pass into Spain behind the town, which is 100m higher top to bottom and planted with mostly red Grenache and Carignan & Mourvèdre (see sample 1 below) plus a couple of white varieties (mainly Grenache gris and blanc), all mixed together. The other overlooks the sea and contains a bit of clay in the soil, planted with red Grenache (sample 2) and again a few whites.
Bertrand thinks: "it's the best way to go for Collioure and Banyuls if you have small plots, by naming each cuvée after the parcel, or its Catalan name, like a 'clos' in Burgundy" (where he's from originally). In addition, he follows organic growing methods, thanks largely to "300 windy days a year" making mildew and oidium less of a threat. In 2007 for example (I visited in the spring), "I only applied sulphur (treatments) twice." Anyway, I tasted the following wines in his not-quite-finished cellar down below and panoramic kitchen upstairs.
2006 red (vat sample 1, no sulphur dioxide) – lovely rich black fruits and olives, very lively and fresh yet quite lush and powerful with subtle grip and length; fine v fruity with attractive dry coating. 88-90
2006 red (cask sample 2, made in 5th-fill barriques and not de-stemmed) – less open than above but still showing richer dark chocolate tones suffused with very subtle spicy oak, firmly structured and dry v rounded mouth-feel with nice depth of fruit; finally closes up a bit on a solid peppery and fresh finish.
90-92
2006 white 1 (from both parcels, part barrel-fermented separately) – lovely fragrant honeysuckle and apricot with very light coconut spice, slightly oxidised nutty side too; powerful finish (16% alc!) with a little residual sugar remaining.
2006 white 2 (with first pressings from sea-facing parcel, just
GG & GB) – less exotic and spicier with again honeysuckle and peach tones, quite rich v citrus zest on the palate. 89+
2006 white 3 – ("bottom of the vat mixed with barrique wine") – spicy cider notes v fatter apricot and toasted nuts, attractive texture v freshness as well.
These three white samples will probably end up as one blend...
2005 Capa Casa, vin de table blanc (blend of vat and barrique wine, 15%) - lightly fizzy with orangey colour; nutty toffee fruit enhanced by honeysuckle and dried apricots, spritzy fresh bite v weighty mouth-feel, slightly yeasty tanginess in a Fino kind of way yet not oxidised. Odd but it works, try it with anchovies, marinated grilled peppers, goats cheese etc.
87-89
2005 Soula d'en Couvartet, Collioure rouge (14.5%) - dark cherries and elderberries with chocolate tones, aromatic and fruity with liquorice richness v dry finish and solid structure; nice balance between fruit, tannins and freshness on the finish.
88-90
The above 2005 Soula tasted again at Millésime Bio wine show, Jan. 2008 - herby spicy floral red fruits lead on to a lusher raisiny palate, finishing with leather v wild herb tones. Quirky but good. 90
12 Les Hauts de Marisol, 66650 Banyuls-sur-Mer. Tel: 04 68 82 57 24, mobile: 06 70 76 22 76, bertrand.evelyne@wanadoo.fr.


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