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10 April 2007

Roussillon: Domaine Depeyre, Cases-de-Pène

Brigitte Bile and Serge Depeyre set up shop in 2002 (I first went there in April 07) and now command 12 ha/30 acres in two main blocks overlooking Cases de Pène and Espira, and Vingrau. Some of their Mourvèdre is 90 years old and there is still the odd Carignan vine here that they believe to be “about 200!” That's what I call old vines. All the plots that used to churn out fruit for VDN wines have been, or are being, replanted with red varieties. Brigitte told me: “we aren't interested in making sweet wines but have added some Muscat to make dry white.”
You'll (have) notice(d) various points of view in this guide on the 'tyrant' Syrah versus Grenache, Carignan etc. and its place in the Roussillon. While the region should arguably focus on the latter grapes to distinguish itself from, say, the Languedoc; there is some damn good Syrah produced in certain sites. Brigitte certainly believes “Syrah is better suited than Grenache here, and we've also planted more Mourvèdre.” Serge and Brigitte are concentrating on exporting their wines – and most of it to our red wine obsessed Belgian friends – but you can buy the wines below in good local wine merchants in e.g. Perpignan, Prades or Argeles. However, they have plans to do up her father's old cellar into an on-site shop...

2005 Cuvée Depeyre
Côtes du Roussillon Villages (50% Syrah plus Grenache Carignan) - light chocolate and spice tones, floral black cherry fruit on top; elegant tight palate, quite closed (this was only bottled 2 months before I tasted it, so it should have opened up a bit now) and fresh, chunky fruit and tannins yet finely textured. Could be good. €8.50 87-89
2004 Cuvée Ste-Colombe Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache Syrah Carignan Mourvèdre) - displaying more oak but has lovely juicy black fruits as well, elegant v concentrated with the 14.5% alcohol well integrated; lusher fruit than above v light choc oak on a tight, lively and solid framework. Sainte Colombe is sourced from a 2 ha/5 acre parcel at higher altitude (200-300 metres/800 feet). €13.50
89-911 rue Pasteur, 66600 Cases de Pène. Tel: 04 68 28 32 19, brigitte.bile@orange.fr.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.