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30 September 2013

Roussillon: Domaine La Bòria, Trilla

Stoned in the Fenouillèdes
from laboria.fr
Vincent Balansa set sail on this “participative estate” project – there are several 'partners' or 'investors' who also muck in in vineyard, winery and beyond apparently – in 2009 when some old co-op vineyards in the Trilla, Caramany and Trévillach area, due to be ripped up or abandoned as the local co-operative had sadly closed down, came up for sale as a take-it-or-leave-it opportunity. These time-resilient vines, among them some over one hundred years young, lie on varied chunky soils pretty commonly found in this neck of the woods (gneiss, granite, marble, marl anyone) at between 400 and 600 metres altitude, “the highest part of the (upper) Fenouillèdes,” or “the Limoux of the Roussillon” as Vincent puts it rhetorically. There are also a few disparate parcels in Prats de Sournia, Caudiès and Saint-Paul de Fenouillet, as is the fashion with these young energetic winemakers who obviously don't mind putting in the kilometre-age.

After a period of apprenticeship with an impressive collection of top domaine owners across the south - Christophe Peyrus at Clos Marie in Pic St-Loup, Claude Serra at Villa Serra in Minervois, Gérard Gauby of that eponymous property and Le Soula (review to follow) and with Hervé Bizeul at Clos des Fées in the Roussillon – Vincent felt he had enough experience and confidence to embark down the alternative rocky road to biodynamics. The idea: to make “living wines,” as has become a bit of a cliché but we'll forgive him in this instance, as the results so far are tasty enough for sure. Vincent calls it “country logic, or rather an attempt at updating it, 21st century version. We're not making up anything new but acknowledging what the old folks have passed on to us...” Kind of paying homage to them too as “the village's only remaining working vineyard / farm...” There's a lot more detail on Vincent's site - click on the link under the photo.

2010 Merci red (Syrah/Grenache from Caramany and Carignan/Cinsault from Trilla, SO2 only added at bottling) - perfumed sweet vs herby notes with ripe berries, wilder 'volatile' edges, finishing with a bit of bite and subtle length.
2009 Nova white (Macabeu, Vermentino from Trilla) - lightly toasty coconut vs aromatic ripe apricot fruit, textured/rounded yet still fresh, tasty finish with a light touch of oak grain.
2009 Nova red (Syrah, 100 year-old Carignan from Trilla) - lightly funky and 'volatile' vs ripe sweet wild flower/herb notes (garrigue), nice tannins and fresh bite too, again tasty with ripe vs crunchy fruit profile.

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