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27 February 2008

Roussillon: Clos Saint Georges, Trouillas

Dominique and Claude Ortal from www.clos-saint-georges.comClaude and Dominique Ortal's extensive 60 hectare (150 acre) estate lies tucked away in the open rolling countryside between the villages of Trouillas and Pollestres (south of Perpignan), not far from Château La Casenove. The initial, slightly alarming 'alterations' to the landscape, caused by nearby work on the new Perpignan to Barcelona TGV line, have now grown back and settled in while providing Saint Georges with a new road, signpost and large roundabout to conveniently slow people down so they notice it!
Saint Georges makes quite a big range of different local styles - including rosé, vins de pays varietals, traditional fortified Muscat and Rivesaltes - out of which their cru red Les Aspres cuvée is a real highlight (see below), which they don't make very much of. This Roussillon sub-appellation has its critics and supporters (
click here and scroll down to "Straining at the Leash...", or browse through other estates in this area on these Roussillon pages for more on that): the Ortals are vociferously in the latter camp and it shows in their wines. I talked to and tasted with Claude at this year's Vinisud wine show (Montpellier, Feb. 2008), this is what he said: "We talked about it (Les Aspres) and did research for ten years parcel by parcel. Renou (the former head of France's AOC regulatory watchdog who sadly died a couple of years ago) thought it was the only AOC that fitted his new ideas on appellations. Things might change as we'd felt left out of the whole cru thing. It's a shame some aren't supporting it."
2003 Cuvée de Pierre Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres (2/3 Syrah 1/3 Grenache) - attractive mix of rustic and inky fruit v lush and vibrant flavours; nice grip of textured tannins layered with maturing fruit richness. 89+
2005 Cuvée de Pierre Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres (2/3 Syrah 1/3 Grenache) - richer and riper fruit than the 03, less smoky and developed too with more minty spicy characters; very nice wine, shows promise. 90+

Clos Saint Georges, 66300 Trouillas. Tel: 04 68 21 61 46,
clortal@wanadoo.fr, www.clos-saint-georges.com.

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