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ROUSSILLON ‘French Catalonia’ Wild Wine Country by Richard Mark James: Buy my book on Amazon UK (paperback with colour photos and e-book) or black & white version. Or Amazon USA (colour paperback and e-book) or black & white. For other countries, click on the cover image below for details.

08 April 2007

Roussillon: Domaine Rancy, Latour-de-France

Brigitte and Jean-Hubert Verdaguer are real specialists in aged Rivesaltes ambré VDN wines (70% of production), although started making tasty Côtes du Roussillon reds six years ago; 11 out of 17 hectares are old vine Macabeu destined for this purpose. I was lucky enough to try their 1969? Rivesaltes, I think (from memory, I didn't note the vintage down) when visiting La Coume Majou (his personal stock!), which was quite extraordinary. Brigitte and Jean-Hubert have plans to refit part of the cellar into a dining room to do lunches with wine & food matched menus. Despite the fact they sell 80% of their production at the cellar door, very little of this comes from tourists as they are a bit off the beaten track. So hopefully this kind of meal thing will entice people out into the countryside. Believe me, good wines aside, it's definitely worth the trip: the Latour area offers a beautiful backdrop for driving or better still walking. I sampled these wines at the Fenouillèdes wine show in April 2007:

2005 Côtes du Roussillon red – nice juicy black cherry notes set the scene for a quite soft and forward palate v light grip and weight. 85

2005 Latour-de-France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Carignan Grenache Mourvèdre) – lightly volatile nose (vat sample) gives way to lovely rich blackberry fruit, lively fresh mouth-feel v power, dry grip and delicious length.90-92
2003 Côtes du Roussillon Villages – attractive lush wild fruit cocktail with maturing leather tones, firm palate showing further developing savoury and rustic fruit with underlying 'sweetness' too. 88-90
2003 Latour-de-France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (50% Mourvèdre plus Carignan Grenache) – similar profile to above although more intense, savoury black olive notes and less rustic; more grip and muscle on the finish. 89-91
2001 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Carignan Syrah Grenache) – their first non-fortified red: complex herbal wild fruit with maturing meaty edges, lush rustic yet still perfumed palate with dry bite and a bit of oomph; those tannins finish up a tad firm, however this is good and quite elegant actually. 89-91

11 Rue Jean Jaurès, 66720 Latour-de-France. Tel: 04 68 29 03 47 / 06 87 11 15 18,

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