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05 September 2006

Roussillon: Domaine Fontanel, Tautavel/Estagel

Laid-back Pierre and Marie-Claude Fontaneil (not a spelling mistake) have 25 ha (62 acres) around Tautavel, where their small yet soon-to-expand winery is found, and 10 ha (25 acres) in the village commune of Maury. I like those traditional village cellars found on a narrow residential street like any other, where you just walk in as if you were going into a large garage. The domaine was set up in 1989, before that the two families were cooperative growers. Their focus is red, mostly Roussillon AOC wines, producing around 10,000 cases in total per year, 80% of which is exported particularly to Asia and the Far East. In the UK, the wines are listed by Stone, Vine & Sun and Indigo Wine.

Tasted 5th Sept 2006:
2004 Côtes du Roussillon rouge (Grenache Syrah Carignan, 14%) - smoky black cherry with minty notes, elegant fruit despite fair concentration and weight, tight fresh finish v dry coating of tannins. 87
2003 Tradition Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache Syrah Carignan, 13.5%) - firm and a bit closed up, subtle ripe fruit underneath; attractive tannin texture, needs 6-12 months to express itself as it's concentrated and structured. 89+
2004 Prieuré Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel (Syrah Mourvèdre Grenache) - elegant perfumed nose and black cherry fruit, good grip and length. 89-91
1997 Rivesaltes Ambré (Grenache blanc & gris, 16.5%) - appealing mix of aged toffee notes and mature cheese complexity, finishing with fresh long bite. 88-90
2002 Maury (Grenache, 16%) - deliciously concentrated spicy blackberry and liquorice fruit, nice grip bite and power on the finish; not so sweet.
90-92


25 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 66720 Tautavel (cellar address, from April to October) or 37-39 Avenue du Docteur Torreilles, Estagel (shop open all year round 10am to 7pm). Tel: 04 68 29 04 71, 04 68 29 45 21; http://www.domainefontanel.com/.

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