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30 March 2007

Roussillon: Mas Crémat, Espira de l'Agly

Originally from Burgundy, Catherine Jeannin's beautiful hillside Mas was established (and replanted) 17 years ago, complete with charming old Catalan farmhouse buildings; and is found down a signposted, vine-enFrom www.mascremat.comclosed track between the villages of Espira and Cases-de-Pène. You catch a glimpse of it while driving along the main road; but you have to carry on towards Espira, turn left at the roundabout up a hill and then left off this road. Now that her son and daughters have returned after various studies and work experience to help run the estate, Catherine wants to develop the wine tourism side by offering accommodation and lunches to small groups of wine lovers, as well as regular events such as their 'open day' in June. Watch this space...
In addition to all the usual red suspects, they have 10 ha/25 acres of white varieties including the less common Vermentino and Carignan blanc, plus both Muscats. "I'd like to increase plantings of red," she explained, implying she'll remove some of these white grape vines. "But it's important to have a good mix of vins de pays and dearer wines. We find people buy either the cheapest or the dearest, not so much the mid-price ones." Their 'entry level' red is indeed
great value
(see below) and sensibly Catherine believes that "we don't want to price our top wines too high."

Tried and tested back in March 2007:
2005 Grenache vieilles vignes, vin de pays Côtes Catalanes white (70+ year-old Grenache blanc & gris 14%) - subtle toasty notes mingle with apricot, peach and floral tones; elegant soft mouth-feel, attractive but lacks a bit of zing perhaps. €12 85+
2006 Tamarius red, vin de pays Côtes Catalanes (Syrah Grenache Carignan) - delicious vibrant black cherry/currant fruit with light cedar tones, fresh and easy palate with a touch of grip to finish. €4.30 85-87
2005 Côtes du Roussillon red (Grenache Syrah Carignan Mourvèdre) - still quite fruity although savoury too with rustic edges; more structured and firmer with nice backdrop of fruit, quite elegant and long. 87-89
2003 Cuvée Bastien, Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre 14%) - smoky and peppery showing lovely fruit with liquorice notes; concentrated and firm v spicy and lush with very light chocolate oak coating, again good balance grip and length. 90-92

Mas Crémat, 66600 Espira de l'Agly. Tel: 04 68 38 92 06, www.mascremat.com, mascremat@mascremat.com.

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