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

France - Roussillon: 'Wines of the mo' Modat, Cazes (2014) - 'Festive sweeties' Amiel, Mas Blanc, Vignerons de Maury (2013) - World Grenache Competition (2013) - 'Dry' Maury (2012) - 'Three white wines' (2011) - Banyuls and Maury: 'sweet seductive red Roussillon' (2010) - 'Relentless Roussillon: strange goings-on in Maury' (2010) - Saint-Bacchus Awards (2009) - 'Finding Fenouillèdes country' (2006)

Summary of selected features on the Roussillon with links to posts is below - for individual producer profiles, peruse my handy A to Z winery list here.


'Roussillon wines of the mo...' (Feb 2014) with Domaine Modat 'Comme Avant' 2010 and Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes ambré 2000.
Roussillon "festive sweeties and reds with or without chocolate" (part 2) (Dec 2013) with Mas Amiel 1980 Maury, Vignerons de Maury Cuvée Centenaire, Mas Blanc 2000 old vine Banyuls...

World Grenache Competition part 2: Roussillon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape... February 2013.
'Part one' posted nearby on WineWriting.com (goes there) ran a bit like this, just to regurgitate some background and my thoughts: "The first of its kind, I/they believe (? and set to become a regular event), an international wine competition in celebration of one of my fav varieties, Grenache / Garnacha / Garnatxa / Cannonau: red, white, rosé and fortified wines. And absolutely why not, I hear you say. Ah, yes, Cannonau: it took me a while too to remember that Sardinia's Cannonau di Sardegna (click for Part 3...) red is made from what they call Grenache!"


Old terraced Grenache, Banyuls-sur-mer
By Vi Erickson

'Dry' Maury March 2012.
"So, it comes to pass. A little bit of common sense has arguably prevailed behind the creation of a new Cotes du Roussillon Villages (CdRV) sub-zone for dry red wines, also called Maury. These wines will come (first ones will be vintage 2011 appearing in about a year's time) from the same appellation area (Maury, Tautavel, Saint-Paul de Fenouillet and Rasiguères) as for the already well-known Maury Vins Doux Naturels (sweet fortified reds), so a big advantage on the marketing front from the start then..." CLICK HERE to find out more...


"If you've been kind enough or bothered to read anything else Roussillon on this excitingly 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..." Featuring: Jean Gardiès - Le Soula - Abbé Rous.
CLICK HERE to find them.

Wine tasting & touring feature: "Banyuls & Maury, sweet seductive red Roussillon..." Featuring Mas Amiel, Coume Mas, La Rectorie, Serrelongue, Soulanes, Tour Vieille, Vinci, Coume Majou, Mudigliza... November 2010.
"My pick of some (25) of these red (and a few white) Vins Doux Naturels or vins mutés, as they're called in French: literally "natural sweet wines" or fortified wines, tasted in early October on a whirlwind tour of leading estates in north and south Roussillon. Plus words on how these delicious Grenache based wines are made and their different styles." Featured wineries: Amiel, Coume Mas, La Rectorie, Serrelongue, Soulanes, Tour Vieille, Vinci, Coume Majou, Mudigliza; and a new-release Maury from Mont Tauch. Click here to read it...

Demijohns outside at Mas Amiel, by Vi Erickson

"Relentless Roussillon: strange goings-on in Maury..." Featuring Dept. 66, La Borde Vieille, Domaine des Enfants, Domaine Jones... January 2010.
There's nothing new about a high-profile 'outsider investment' story round these parts: Calvet-Thunevin's stark statement winery fashioned from blocks of orange Gard stone was the boldest testament to this up until now, and has somewhat altered the view on the way into town (I also noticed, by the way, the logo on the facia now runs 'Domaine Thunevin-Calvet': we probably shouldn't read too much into that?!). But the once slightly dull and dour village of Maury has rapidly become the centre of the Roussillon wine universe, maybe even of the Languedoc too. I'm constantly amazed, and pleased I have to say, that the momentum is still going strong; it's getting difficult keeping up with everything that's happening...
Mega-bucks: the Americans are here
Grenache-loving Dave Phinney (pictured) of Napa's Orin Swift fame (the man behind the, I'm told, hugely successful "Prisoner" label, a Zin/Cab/Syrah blendl), is the first to put American $$$ behind an even bigger, and arguably bolder, site just up the hill from the village centre (off the Route de Cucugnan).... CLICK HERE to read this article.


Roussillon: Saint-Bacchus Awards 2009
October 2009
The award-winning wines gleaned from this annual French Catalan taste-off were this year (2009) billed as "the finest representation of the Roussillon region," which it probably isn't although for sure there are some good wines to pick from here. As in any competition, the winners are only as good as the wines submitted in the first place and, I assume as I don't know what the original 'pre-selected' line-up was, it appears the majority of the Roussillon's best growers and winemakers didn't/don't actually enter the Saint-Bacchus. Why don't they?
CLICK HERE to read more...


"Finding Fenouillèdes country, wild wine touring..." Around Calce, Estagel, Tautavel, Caudiès de Fenouillèdes, St-Paul de Fenouillet, Lesquerde, Maury, Caramany, Rasiguères, Latour de France, Bélesta, Vingrau...
This article was published in English and French on the wine travel website www.winetourisminfrance.com in December 2006.
Whichever map angle you approach the Fenouillèdes region from, you’ll quickly be invaded by the primal beauty of the unforgiving terrain that cradles its vineyards. Draped across a dramatically wild, elevated valley landscape bridging Corbières and French Catalonia, you can kick off a wine route on its eastern side coming from Perpignan airport, around the villages of Calce, Estagel and Tautavel; or from the west between Caudiès de Fenouillèdes and St-Paul de Fenouillet. The latter choice is recommended, if you’re travelling down from Carcassonne via Limoux and Couiza then winding your way through the scary Gorges de Galamus. Between St-Paul and Estagel, dotted along and south of the D117 valley road, the villages and wines of Lesquerde, Maury, Caramany, Rasiguères and Latour de France all grab your attention...

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