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01 October 2009

Roussillon: Vignerons de Terrats

This usually exemplary co-operative winery, sporting a bizarre kind of giant stack of vats work of art visible from kms around, dates from 1932 and is found in the so-called Aspres zone in the middle of Côtes du Roussillon country a little southwest of Perpignan or northwest of Collioure. The very Catalan village of Terrats is a bit dead but the scenery all around it, with its red-clay coated rolling vineyards, is very attractive (I used to live down the road, by the way). They're now part of the Vignobles de Constance alliance with local co-ops in Thuir and Fourques (I think). Tasted their wines on and off over a five-plus year period, which can be bought at the cellar shop or in all supermarkets and restaurants in the area, which were usually very reliable, although something odd happened with their 2009 rosé and white with strange background flavours on at least three bottles I tried, from memory. Anyway, here's a bit of a back-catalogue:

August-September 2005:
2004 Le Blanc de Blancs de Terrassous (Grenache Blanc Vermentino Macabeo 12.5%) - Nice and dry & smooth, interesting nutty floral leafy characters underneath, crisp but has weight too. €4 from the cellar or supermarkets. 87
2004 Le Rosé de Terrassous (13%) - Ample ripe juicy red fruits and medium-full rounded yet dry palate with a hint of crispness to balance. €3.90 from the Cave. 87
2001 Terrassous Côtes du Roussillon red (Grenache Carignan Syrah 13.5%) - Attractive ripe developed fruit showing gamey leather edges, liquorice and plum with earthy backdrop and firm-ish tannins. About €4.50 from the cellar. 89
2004 Terrassous Côtes du Roussillon red (Grenache Carignan Syrah 13.5%) - Straightforward enjoyable blackcurrant/berry and blueberry fruit, medium weight finishing with light bite of tannins and acidity. €4 from the cellars or supermarkets. 85

And some of my French "wines of the moment" originally posted on WineWriting.com...
December 05/January 06:
2005 Blanc de Blancs de Terrassous
(Grenache Blanc Vermentino Macabeo 13%) - tight and steely at this stage, subtle zesty intensity v attractive oily nutty tones, crisp and dry. 88
May-June 06:
2005 Le Rosé de Terrassous Côtes du Roussillon - fresh aromatic roses and red fruits, tight elegant palate, zesty and dry. €3.82 Auchan 87+
Summer 2007:
2006 Le Rosé de Terrassous, Côtes du Roussillon (13%) - lively raspberry fruit and full body v elegant, fresh and attractive style. €3-€4 87
Summer 2008:
2007 Le Rosé de Terrassous Côtes du Roussillon (13%) - fairly chunky red fruity style with nice food-demanding weight, turning rounded and slick with underlying wild red fruit and biscuit notes; still alive and well. €4 87
Autumn 2009:
2008 Terrassous rosé Côtes du Roussillon (13%) - quite chunky vs creamy red fruit cocktail making this a good all-round foodie rosé style; rounded and oily with wild cherry fruit and refreshing dry finish. €4.50 87

And a sensational, very old, medal-winning Rivesaltes from the 2009 Saint-Bacchus awards:
1974 Terrassous "Rancio" Rivesaltes Ambré "Hors d'Age" (Grenache blanc & gris 15.5%) - yes, the vintage is right. Very complex oxidised pecan-nutty aromas with lightly cheesy Madeira-like edges; coconut sweetness vs tangy toasted nuts on the palate, turning more treacly yet with subtle cut underneath; very long and smooth sweet/sour finish with caramel and intense roasted pecan/hazelnut flavours. Keeps well in the fridge so tasted again and again: toffee apple and baked nuts, quite intensely sweet yet it gets more intricate, nuttier and tangier too. €35 cellar door. 93-95  
terrassous.com

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