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21 July 2011

Roussillon: Domaine Ferrer-Ribière, Terrats

Update: Denis Ferrer was at the hotly attended ‘natural’ wine fair (click there for more) in London a couple of months ago (doesn't time fly...) alongside several other Roussillon and Languedoc "natural" winegrowers. Read on for a bit of blurb about the people and estate, notes on some previous vintages and an indication of retail prices in euros. Their UK agent is the splendidly portfolio-ed Yapp Brothers, who sell these wines for about £10-£15. Refer to explanation on 1-2-3 "scoring" in the right hand column.

2009 Grenache blanc Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes – quite fat and juicy, a tad grainy perhaps (or something slightly intrusive?), lush and rounded although falls a bit flat on the finish. Preferred the 2008 (see below).
2007 Carignan Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes – ‘sweet’ ripe vs maturing savoury side, nice dry vs lively mouth-feel, quite elegant for warm-vintage 2007. 1-2
2007 Côtes du Roussillon red “tradition” – herbal peppery edges, again mature with ripe liquorice and turning meaty, a touch of oak grain on attractive tannins then lingering ‘sweet/savoury’ fruit. 1+
2007 Cana Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres (Mourvèdre, Grenache noir) – richer with a tad more oak, again has that hallmark ‘sweet/savoury’ thing with liquorice then wilder edges; more concentrated too with firm punchy finish, needs a year or two to open up. 2

Set up in 1993, Denis Ferrer and Bruno Ribière are the partnership (not forgetting their wives of course) behind this slightly elevated (up to 250 metres / 800 feet altitude) estate - hence their original tag "terroirs des Hautes Aspres" (not heard that one before) - that spreads across different plots around the villages of Terrats and Fourques. Over 40 ha / 100 acres are now tended organically with 2010 being the landmark vintage as their first to be officially "certified" (where's that straight-jacket...). These two down-to-earth guys make quite a wide range of wine styles, from classic to quirky, at different qualities and prices; so, there should be something for everyone here.

I tasted these at Millésime Bio show in January 2010 in Montpellier:
2008 Grenache blanc Empreinte du Temps, Vin de Pays Catalan - nutty fino like nose and palate; peachy and lightly toasty flavours vs mineral streak, bit of rounded weight too. €9 87
2008 "F" Vin de Pays Catalan (Carignan, Grenache) - delicious juicy cherry, cassis, blueberry and liquorice fruit; tasty and crunchy palate making it an attractive quaffer. €5 85+
2007 Carignan Empreinte du Temps, Vin de Pays Catalan - quite elegant and tight in style showing sweet/savoury notes; quite concentrated actually with firm, spicy and leather-tinged finish. €10 87-89
2006 Cana Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah) - pretty concentrated and chunky with wood spice tones; maturing vs tight palate with attractive texture and fruit underneath. €16 88+

20 Rue du Colombier, 66300 Terrats. Tel: 04 68 53 24 45, www.vinsferrerribiere.com.

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