WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

04 October 2011

Roussillon: 3 white wines

If you've been kind enough or bothered to read anything else Roussillon on this excitingly narrow-focused blog, you'll have noticed a slight enthusiasm for the sometimes superb white wines being made more and more often nowadays in the region. I tried these two below not so long ago, on the "South of France" stand at the London Wine Fair: both from well-known and well-regarded estates, very different in style, varietal make-up and with three years of age between them too (Ed: I've since added a third - scroll down).
Jean Gardiès' quite fine Clos des Vignes is crafted from Grenaches blanc and gris grown on an elevated (380m) vineyard in the Vingrau area, which were fermented and aged for 12 months in demi-muids barrels (600 litre size). It's sold in the UK by H2Vin Ltd. for about £17 retail, so it's no giveaway but has a bit of class, as I said.
Le Soula is joint-owned by Gérard Gauby and UK importer Richards Walford (their wines are handled by Peter Weygandt-Metzler in the US), and this nicely maturing white is made from a heady cocktail of Sauvignon blanc, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Macabeu and Malvoisie; all grown at altitude on sites around St. Martin de Fenouillet, Feilluns and Le Vivier. It's also similarly grandiosely priced at £22.49: there's a list of UK retail and restaurant stockists on their website

Domaine Gardiès 2009 Clos des Vignes white Cotes du Roussillon - toasty notes layered with peachy hints, quite steely mouth-feel vs those toasty edges adding texture and flavour vs attractive exotic apricot fruit underneath.
More Gardiès' wines and profile here (written in 2007 after I went to the winery, and updated in 2011 and 2012).
Le Soula 2006 white vin de pays des Cotes Catalanes - enticing developing nose with quite rich hazelnut tones, roast nut flavours too and rounded mouth-feel; fairly intricate with mature vs still alive profile. 
Blurb on Le Soula to follow.


UPDATED 1st November: found this one at Marks & Spencer's recent press tasting, the latest release of a Collioure dry white I've tried previous vintages of made by the Cave de l'Abbé Rous co-op winery. Much improved I'd say - it was always too oaky before - although it appears to have gone up by £3 in two years, so is very overpriced. I'm not blaming M&S particularly, just the silly prices now attached to the apparently fashionable Collioure appellation!
2010 Cornet blanc (60% Grenache gris, 20% Grenache blanc, 20% Vermentino; 14% alc.) - lightly toasty tones with yeast-lees edges vs oilier and more exotic side, steelier crisper palate than previous vintages with a touch of oak grain underneath vs nice weight and oomph, finishing with ripe peachy fruit and oily texture vs attractive bitter twist. Well-made, good quality foodie white. £11.99 in 100 stores.

And a few sexy Languedoc whites, just to develop the "theme"!

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