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01 June 2009

Roussillon: Domaine du Mas Blanc, Banyuls-sur-mer

Latest HERE featuring their 2000 Vieilles Vignes Banyuls tasted with fine chocolate (December 2013)...

Jean-Michel Parcé puts together quite a diverse range of traditional reds (mostly Collioure) and Vins Doux Naturels, sourced from different plots lying in first-rate sites around the Banyuls-sur-Mer area, which usually age well - he doesn’t tend to release them until he thinks they're ready. Jean-Michel, whose winery and cellars are located right in the town centre, has been at the helm of Mas Blanc for over 30 years continuing the pioneering work done by Doctors Gaston (grandfather) and André (father) Parcé. So, a few generations of Doctors (Who?) then, for those of you who don't know them and get the tangential "joke" ((w)ho (w)ho).
On the Banyuls VDN front, he makes just about every style imaginable (and a couple more besides), which makes Mas Blanc a good place to learn something about these distinctive wines. For example, his ‘Rimage’ La Coume, built from rather old Grenache, is intensely "sweet and sour"; and Colheita-style ‘Excellence’ impressive, quirky and complex. As for Collioure reds, Clos du Moulin (the name of the vineyard, pic. above) is made from about 80% Mourvèdre supplemented by Counoise and is something of a solid meaty forte; and his half-Syrah Cosprons (again, a single vineyard site) is rich, smoky and savoury. Jean-Michel has also started producing more whites (e.g. the promising ‘Signature’ below) and rosés, as well as a few balsamic-style Banyuls vinegars (see website at bottom for details).

Spring 2009:
2008 Signature white Collioure (Grenache blanc Marsanne Roussanne & Tourbat) - exotic fruit and banana notes lead on to zesty citrus vs a touch of yeast-lees creaminess, finishing with nice fresh mineral length. €12.50 87-89
2006 La Llose red Collioure - already turning smoky and savoury with minty herbal undertones and nice cassis fruit too; tangy vs soft mouthfeel with subtle concentration, attractively lively and firm vs easy and supple on the finish. €9 87
2004 Cosprons Levants red Collioure - smoky leather touches although still a bit closed up surprisingly; maturing ripe resiny fruit vs hints of wild herbs on the palate, enticingly elegant savoury and tasty finish. €18.50 89+
2004 Clos du Moulin Collioure (mostly Mourvèdre) - meaty black olive aromas with dried fruits too; attractive elegant palate showing a lush savoury side vs firm but accessible tannins, dry yet quite fine finish. €23 89+
2005 Les Junquets Collioure (mostly Syrah) - very cassis nose although perhaps a tad reduced; cleaner palate, pretty solid at this stage with 'sweet' vs herbal fruit, tight closed up style but give it 1 to 2 years. €28 90
2006 Rimage Banyuls - oxidising meaty edges vs nice intense sweet raspberry vs dry grip all lending good balance. Still young. €21 87+
2004 Collita Banyuls - more liquoricey with dried / cooked fruits, spicy too vs firm textured, lush and sweet vs meaty leather tones. €15 88+
Cuvée du Docteur Banyuls - more oxidised with toffee and sweet nuts; oily texture vs dry grip, nice traditional style with a warming Christmas pudding finish. Just what the, erm, Doctor ordered (groan). €13 89+
1998 Vieilles Vignes Banyuls - maturing "cheesy" aromas, intricate and savoury; rich toffee vs again that dry texture, nutty and long. Yum, all comes together nicely. €30 92+
2000 Excellence Banyuls "Colheita style" - unusual nose showing toffee, banana, caramel and baked Brazil nuts with an interesting "herbal" backdrop; sweet vs structured and punchy mouthfeel with delicious "sweet & savoury" mix, dry grip vs liqueur-like flavours. Wow. €35 92-94
Hors d'Age Sostrera Banyuls ("solera" style) - really oxidised and sweet, very complex and Madeira like although more raspberry syrup; again firm palate yet minty or something too, fine mature wild cheese notes then structured and still lively finish. A one-off. €45 92+
This "bin-end" was found in a LeClerc store (north Perpignan), early summer 2009 (I assume as it was only €5 and bottled with a screwcap, so I doubt originally destined for French supermarkets):
2005 Les Piloums Collioure rouge (13.5%) - attractive mature supple style with dried, smoky, savoury fruit; lacks a bit of substance and class but quite a bargain though. 85

And this is what I said back in September 2005:
2003 Banyuls blanc (Grenache Blanc Malvoisie Muscat d'Alexandrie 16.5%) - Unusual bromide nose leads to minerally palate, finishing more Muscaty and aromatic; good balance of alcohol and residual sugar. 85
2001 Banyuls Rimage, la Coume (Grenache Noir 17.5%) - Fairly oxidised nose (intentionally) showing lovely spicy 'garrigue' fruit with perfumed wild flowers, attractive grip of tannins v sweetness with good bite and length. €38 92-94
2001 Clos du Moulin, Collioure (80% Mourvèdre + Counoise) - Lovely ripe smoky complex nose with sweet berry, liquorice, mushroom and lavender; soft v structured mouthfeel, dry texture with bite of tannin and acidity layered with rich wild raspberry fruit, subtle elegant length and concentration. 90-92
2003 Mosaique, Collioure - More up-front and straightforward than the Clos Moulin, ripe blackberry fruit then quite structured closing up a little on the finish; again shows richness v elegance v firmness. €15 87+

9 Avenue Général de Gaulle, 66650 Banyuls-sur-Mer. Tel: 04 68 88 32 12, www.domainedumasblanc.com.

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