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29 August 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Boucabeille, Corneilla de la Rivière / Força Réal

Jean Boucabeille
Jean Boucabeille
Domaine Boucabeille

Named after affable owner Jean Boucabeille, who I met, interrogated and tasted with at Millésime Bio organic wine show earlier this year in Montpellier. Which means he has taken the organic wine-growing plunge, as is increasingly the fashion (fashion can be a good thing), with 2011 being his first fully 'certified' vintage. Jean's original vineyard plots hang on to eleven distinct staggered terraces facing southeast up on the Força Réal hill overlooking Millas, Corneilla and surrounding villages. These contoured vines were replanted in the 70s at between 200 to 350 metres altitude, following the lie of the land; and the “black mount” itself (see Jean's last red noted below, whose name evokes the locals' nickname for it) peaks at over 500m, or about 1550 feet, impaled by a giant TV mast. And Jean's been hard at it over the course of 2012 planting another six hectares of white and red Grenache, Mourvèdre and Roussanne in backbreaking stony schist soils, bringing the total to 28 (70 acres). They've deliberately kept the surrounding woodland in its 'natural' state with wild scrub and flowers, olive and fruit trees, honey production and even the odd grazing goat and ewe.
Good range overall, especially their Orris white wine and a rather sexy Rivesaltes Hors d'Agethat sees at least five years barrel ageing. More info @ www.boucabeille.com, and you'll find the winery off the D614 road before you reach Corneilla de la Rivière (coming from Estagel or Millas). Phone no. 04 68 34 75 71. Sold in London by Philglas & Swiggot (see £ prices below)and Firth and Co.(N. Yorks); and also in Germany, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg, Poland and the US (in civilized Virginia at least).

2011 Le Blanc de Régis Boucabeille(50/50 Grenache blanc / Maccabeu, 13% alc.) – quite rich milky and honeyed nose/palate tinged with spicy floral notes, crisp 'mineral' vs weighty mouth-feel, attractive style and good with it.
2011 Le Rosé de Régis Boucabeille (Grenache gris / noir & Syrah, 13.5%) – juicy and quite delicate start with nice bite and texture, finishing with a bit of oomph and fruity roundness too. Serious rosé.
2011 Les Terrasses de Régis Boucabeille red (Grenache, Carignan, Syrah; 14%) – lovely rich spicy warm and dark fruit with peppery liquorice undertones, nice solid fruity style. £12.50
2010 Les Orris white (70 Maccabeu, Grenache blanc; 13%) – honeyed and toasty edged with floral white peach aromas/flavours, crisp vs weighty palate with developing oily tones on the finish. Very good.
2009Les Orris red (75 Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre; 14%) – hints of coconut oak and grain too vs firm and lush mouth-feel, balancing soft dark fruit with dry grip. Good. £24
2009 Monte Nero Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan; 14%)– more savoury meaty and developed, grainy texture with attractive tannins, quite subtle and accomplished for the dry and hot vintage 2009. £15

Vins Doux Naturels

2007 Rivesaltes ambré (70 Maccabeu, Grenache blanc; residual sugar 98 g/l and 15.5% alc) – nutty Fino vs Madeira type quirky nose, sweet palate with tangy orange peel edges, delicious walnut flavours too and almost a bit of grip of the finish! Very good.
Rivesaltes Hors d'Age (mostly Maccabeu, 15.5% alc, RS 117 g/l) more complex and 'volatile' aromas with rich vs tangy palate and tasty very long finish. Towards excellent, should slowly get even better with bottle age...

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