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06 September 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Rouaud update, Pézilla

Rivesaltes ageing in demijohns
From www.domaine-rouaud.com 
Previous words and wines from Domaine Rouaud can be viewed HERE (scribbled 2006 to 2008, so I've been following them for six years now). I've updated and tweaked their profile below and added some of the latest releases sampled at this year's Millésime Bio organic wine show in Montpellier a few months ago, where I talked to Sophie Rouaud...
Jérôme Rouaud and his wife Sophie were drawn to the deep south by a hazy wine dream and initially worked nine hectares of vines and grapes, which were picked for the local co-op winery. They established their own estate in 2003 (that year of heatwave after heatwave), which has since expanded to 15 ha (37 acres) lying on the distinctive clay-stoney-schist slopes found to the north of the village of Pézilla (about 10km west of Perpignan). They'd already opted for organic farming since they started out - something they were determined to do - and got full-blown 'certified' status (visions of compulsory wearing of a straight jacket while among those precious mad vines...) from the 2004 vintage. These vineyards are home to a happy mix of senior-citizen Carignan (red, white and 'grey'), born in 1949, and the other usual suspects, some of them relative babies planted ten years ago.
Before this viticultural upheaval, Jérôme worked for years in the car industry in Paris (yawn) then dramatically switched career, having been bitten by the wine bug, first to a Nicolas wine shop followed by Bordeaux university to study winemaking and viticulture. The couple moved to the Roussillon, as a job came up as a winery assistant; and finally they bought, ripped out and rebuilt an old Catalan-brick house cum cellar in sedate Pézilla. Nothing too radical on the winemaking front (which is fine) e.g. what you'd expect from any conscientious organic grower, such as using indigenous yeasts or a low sulphite policy (there's a rational and not overly technical explanation on their site about what Jérôme does and why).
Some of their wines are exported to Germany, Denmark and Sweden: get in touch for details. Where it's all going down: 7 Rue du Portal d’Amont, 66370 Pézilla-la-Rivière. Tel: 04 68 92 46 59, mobile: 06 98 17 22 81; rouaud.vigneron.66@orange.fr, www.domaine-rouaud.com.

2011 Llosawhite Côtes Catalanes(100% Maccabeu) – perfumed honeysuckle with apple notes, quite rich and lees-y vs attractive nutty 'mineral' side, quite intense finish. Good stuff: 8.50 cellar door.
2011 Barbacane Grenache Côtes Catalanes (45 year-old vines) – spicy liquorice aromas / flavours, quite soft and easy-going palate, nice drink-young style. €8.50
2010 Rive Gauche Côtes du Roussillon (80% Syrah, 20% Grenache from 35-45 year-old vines) – new wine: rustic leather edges vs dark sweet berry/cherry fruit, dry vs rich and rounded mouth-feel. Very good. €9.50
2009Têt Pourpre Côtes du Roussillon Villages (50/50 Syrah & Carignan, 45-65 year-old vines) – has a touch more oak layered with ripe black fruits with earthy edges, quite firm still with punchy finish; maybe less charming this vintage (?) in common with other 09s. €13
A few earlier vintages of this wine are HERE.
2009 EssènciaCôtes du Roussillon Villages (85% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache from 15-60 year-old vines) – oakier still but it's rich and intense with nice fruity berry palate and savoury black olive undertones, powerful structured finish; needs a bit of time to open up fully. Very good though: €18.

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