"Buy my book about the Roussillon wine region (colour paperback or eBook) on Amazon UK HERE or Amazon USA HERE. Or order it direct from me (UK & EU only). Also available in the US from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook. For other countries, tap/click on the link over the cover photo (below right)." Richard Mark James

02 April 2009

Roussillon: Domaine de la Pertuisane, Maury

Englishman Richard Case makes rich, powerful and concentrated reds sourced mostly from low yielding, old-vine Grenache and Carignan, which are labelled as Vins de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (by choice) as they don't really fit into the 'Roussillon Villages' appellation box. Meaning they either don't contain any or the "required" amount of Syrah: actually, only Le Nain Violet has a bit of Syrah in it. Richard and wife Sarah now have more than 5 ha (12.5 acres) found on very steep schist slopes around the village of Maury, where they settled a few years ago.
Richard is already making special labels for one of his US importers (especially white wines: see notes below) and has recently gone into partnership, as "project manager" with a Grenache-loving American winemaker (Dave Phinney of Napa's Orin Swift, particularly well-known for his cultish "The Prisoner" label), who has invested in a staggering 80 ha of vineyard parcels in the area and a bold new high-tech winery up the hill from the village, which will also become home to Domaine Pertuisane (more on that here). Richard now sells most of his wine ("99%") in the US market, hence why I've indicated prices in dollars.

These wines - bottled and cask samples - were tasted in situ in spring 2009.
2007 Cuvée Cuthbert "Fin Amour" (Carignan blanc & Grenache gris 14%) - barrel-fermented with wild yeasts 10 months total in third-fill Burgundy casks, no malo-lactic fermentation. Lightly toasty and rounded vs tangy yeast-lees and hazelnut edges; nice dry, crisp and fresh mouthfeel with fair power vs quite elegant mineral length; attractive white Rhone style. Importer: Kimberley Jones & David Shiverick, stockists include Backroom Wines in California. $50 87+
2007 Clos Thalès Foun del Bosc (100% Grenache gris) - a touch more exotic and bigger yet still has that tangy mineral twist, spicier and weightier too with crisp dry finish and light lees intensity; a tad more oak spice and texture but it's clean and fresh (also no malo-lactic). $50 87+
2005 Le Nain Violet (Grenache Syrah Carignan 15%) - smoky lightly toasty oak (no new wood) layered with concentrated juicy fruit, spicy vs "sweet" profile with rounded tannins yet still firmly structured; actually not so big in the end and beginning to open up nicely. $16-18 87+
2005 Vieilles Vignes (100% Grenache 15%, 50% in new oak) - smoky and turning savoury / leather notes vs enticing ripe liquorice, chunky fruit and tannins with dark tasty concentrated finish; again shows good balance and palate weight vs that quite high alcohol, attractive grip and bitter twist to finish. $30-35 90+
2005 Domaine de la Pertuisane (Grenache + 30% Carignan, all new barriques) - again lush and concentrated showing more chocolate spice yet attractive ripe vs savoury profile; solid mouthfeel although rounded tannins, dark chocolate twist vs liquorice fruit vs meaty maturing tones; big but well-done needing 2-3 years to express itself fully. $50 92+
2007 Carignan (unblended) - lovely violet blueberry cassis and cherry with a very lightly smoky backdrop; intense and concentrated vs lush tasty palate, power vs freshness. Yum. 89+
2007 Grenache (unblended) - sumptuous ripe black fruits with savoury tones, peppery too vs 'sweet' liquorice; nice tannins, concentration and weight.
50-50 blend of above two - works well, strangely tastes oakier than either two on their own but still plenty of fruit and depth.
2008 Grenache (clay-limestone soils) - juicier and richer fruit in a certain way, 18% alc. unblended but you don't really notice it!
2008 young Grenache - lovely "sweet" dark cherry (actually bone dry), juicy vs dry texture.
2008 Carignan - floral and intense with blueberry and cassis notes vs darker fruit finish, lush vs much fresher and a tad firmer.
2008 old Grenache - undergoing its malo when tasted so difficult to say, but it's certainly concentrated and structured.

And my notes on previous vintages (May 2006, click here for more):
2004 Le Nain Violet (Grenache Carignan Syrah) - closed up and difficult to taste as it had just been bottled: firm yet elegant and long with attractive underlying fruit and well handled wood texture. 88-90
2004 La Pertuisane (90% Grenache, Carignan) - similar story to above: pretty oaky at the moment with fleshy underlying fruit, very concentrated and powerful with firm grip and oak coating. However, it is balanced despite all this and 15% alc, thanks to its subtle mineral freshness and that lovely dark fruit. Needs time. 90-92

Route de Cucugnan, 66460 Maury.

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