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04 July 2013

Roussillon: Abbé Rous, Banyuls-sur-mer

Abbé Rous is one incarnation of this well-known co-operative winery based in Banyuls-sur-mer (Cellier des Templiers is another), which they use for a certain wine range sold to independent merchants and restaurants & hotels, rather than say own-labels in the supermarkets etc. I've talked about some of their wines on FMW.com before - click on these links for notes and comments: Roussillon: 3 white wines (Oct/Nov 2011) featuring the 2010 Cornet white Collioure that was available in selected M&S stores and on-line; and the Saint Bacchus Awards covering this local wine competition in 2009 and featuring the not so good 2008 vintage of said white wine, plus their rather good in fact 2005 red Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel (VDN, sweet fortified wine) 'Muté sur Grains Mise Tardive' (LBV style if you like).
I finally went to the Abbé Rous winery earlier this year, met some of the people behind this fair size operation (750 growers owning 1150 hectares of vines running from and around the towns of Banyuls-sur-mer to Collioure), had a look around lots of very big tuns and tasted their full range of white, rosé, red and VDN wines. The story goes that "this name was chosen as a tribute to the abbot, who, in the late 19th Century, set up the first trading & storing company for Banyuls wines to finance the construction of a church in the village." Their Collioure white and reds are generally quite good, except the ones where somebody got carried away with the new oak barrels (yawn). And, on the Banyuls front, whereas the winery is perhaps better known for some of its classic 'Grand Cru' old cask-aged styles; they've also got pretty good at making those 'new' vibrant full-on 'vintage' style reds such as Rimage.

Some of these wines are available in the UK from e.g. Ellis of Richmond (near London) and Michael Jobling Wines in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; as well as via quite a few importers around the US - see www.abberous.com for details (and some nice recipe ideas too). Going there: 56 avenue du Général de Gaulle, 66650 Banyuls sur Mer; phone 04 68 88 72 72.

2011 Cornet & Cie Collioure rosé - nice deep colour, but a little lean and flat on the palate.
2011 Cornet Collioure blanc (Grenache gris, Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino) - fresh and lively start vs richer honeyed notes, light yeast lees and toasty oak edges vs crisp and 'mineral' vs exotic apricot flavours; nice texture and bite too. Good stuff showing a lighter touch than previous vintages.
2011 Cuvée des Peintres Collioure rouge (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan) - nice aromatic wine showing liquorice, pepper and violets; quite soft texture vs rich and warm fruit, easy-going attractive style with lightly dry vs sweet finish.
2010 Cornet Collioure rouge (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan) - a bit fuller and lusher, still perfumed though with nice violet and peppery hints, more structured and firmer mouth-feel layered with attractive fruit, a bit more extracted yet more depth vs that floral vs ripe fruit. Quite good too.
2009 In Fine Collioure rouge (90% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre) - rich peppery black cherry fruit, grainy and firm palate vs riper rounder edges, some enticing maturing notes too; shows a little oak but it's well done, quite firm and dry still vs weighty with good fruit, ends up more austere on the finish vs a certain fruit 'sweetness'.
2010 Cyrcée Collioure rouge (mostly Syrah with Grenache & Mourvèdre) - deeper richer colour, tons of chocolate and coconut oak, extracted and grippy; a big wine-show red, concentrated aromatic and ripe but the fruit's hidden under all that oak.
2010 Cornet Banyuls Rimage VDN 'mise précoce' (100% Grenache noir: "bottled young" with no cask ageing) - Lots of lively black cherry/berry on nose and palate, rich and sweet vs spicy and fiery, lush ripe fruit vs dry grip and bite. Good stuff.
2006 Hélyos Banyuls (100% Grenache noir: 'LBV' style) - attractive maturing meaty savoury notes vs dark fruit vs firm mouth-feel, ending up not particularly sweet actually, fuller and more extracted yet with complex nuances.
Baillaury Banyuls 5 ans d'age (mostly Grenache noir + gris) - quite deep colour still although turning pretty brown, already fairly oxidised and 'old' vs chunky tannins and obvious alcohol. Been open too long or just past it?
2000 Christian Reynal Banyuls Grand Cru (100% Grenache noir) - lots more of those intricate (red!) Madeira type notes, not much browner in colour than above either; lovely coffee toffee and walnut flavours vs still quite firm and dry with nice bite vs that sweet maturing fruit, complex and long finish.
1999 Castell des Hospices Banyuls Grand Cru (100% Grenache noir) - has a little sediment, so careful when pouring. Similar colour to the 00, more oxidised and nuttier / 'cheesier' on the nose, the alcohol's a touch fiercer too with some dry grip underneath, complex Madeira and toffee notes, finishing relatively dry with fairly intense long finish. Good although I slightly preferred the 2000s.
2000 Joseph Nadal Banyuls Grand Cru 'dry' (100% Grenache noir) - browner and thinner colour, lots of complex pecan/walnut and all that with enticing 'gassy' Madeira edges, definitely drier with nice bite vs layers of caramelized coffee flavours, long complex and delicious.

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