"Buy my book on 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

01 August 2022

Roussillon - the south & centre: 16 reds to knock your socks off (part 2).

These plush reds represent more of my favourites from a recent Wines of Roussillon tasting in London (part 1: the north, is here). Featuring wines from 2019, 2020 and 2021 plus some more mature or rarer vintages produced by various wineries in the centre and south of the Roussillon, aka 'French Catalonia, wild wine country' as in the title of my book.
You can find out more by buying the book HERE. Any updates, new wines and stories are likely to end up in a revised edition at some point. I've added a blurb about each winemaker to set the scene: for more background on these people, their wines and where they craft them; knock yourself out and buy it! Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or direct from the author. Photo: extreme vineyard at Domaine Madeloc, Banyuls-sur-Mer (RMJ). Tap here for some thoughts on the vintages mentioned above.

South

Domaine Vial-Magnères, Banyuls-sur-mer: This 'family-owned property for five generations' is owned/run by Olivier and Chrystel Saperas and Laurent Dal Zovo, where 10 hectares of vines are spread around in small blocks along the coast by Banyuls-sur-mer, Cosprons and Port-Vendres. Maybe better known for their fabulous Banyuls Vins Doux Naturels and Rancios (sec) (more on those to follow), they do make rather good white rosé (ditto) and red Collioure wines too.
Les Espérades 2020 Collioure rouge (14.5% abv): Two-thirds Grenache noir with Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre; aged for 18 months in old oak barrels. Delicious fruity nose with ripe and peppery profile, lightly grippy and firm-structured palate while very concentrated with lush dark fruit finish. €22 cellar door; older vintages sold in Germany (Passion Vin) and Switzerland (Cave SA).
Le Petit Couscouril 2021 Collioure rouge (13.5% abv): Majority Grenache with Syrah, no oak. Lovely ripe cherry and kirsch aromas, rich yet fresh and fruity with light tannins and lively finish. €14 France; (2020/19) €15.50 Germany, 16 CHF (as above).


Jonquères d'Oriola Vignobles, Corneilla del Vercol: Anchored in local history by one of those old-as-time wine families you come across every now and then, the Jonquères d'Oriola clan has owned vineyards 'since 1485' based at their magnificent ancient Catalan castle, Château de Corneilla (pic. above); and is headed up by William nowadays. The village lies southeast of Perpignan, although they also have vines on the eastern side of Les Aspres (more central) and the edge of Collioure.
Château de Corneilla Héritage 2020 Côtes du Roussillon (13.5% abv): Syrah, Grenache, Carignan (no oak). Lovely fruit with appealing supple chalky tannins, very nice easy-going red and a bargain too. €9-€9.50 France and Netherlands; £8.95 The Wine Society.
Château de Corneilla Pur Sang 2020 Côtes du Roussillon (13.5% abv): Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre; aged in French oak 300 litre casks for 9 to 12 months. A touch firmer and denser on the palate with liquorice and black cherry fruit, has a little more depth to it and needs a few more months in bottle to open up nicely. €12 cellar door.
Château de Corneilla Cavalcade 2019 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Aspres (14% abv): Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre; five-week maceration then aged in 500 litre barrels for 12 months. Herby minty Syrah-dominant nose with a wilder earthier side too, fairly concentrated and tightly structured mouth-feel with good depth of fruit; still a little closed up at the moment but promising. €16 cellar door; €15.50-€17 Germany; UK: BBS wine importers.
Château de Corneilla Les Candelles 2019 Côtes du Roussillon (14% abv): Mourvèdre and Syrah; similar ageing to above. Lightly grainier and toastier oak notes on a concentrated palate with well-textured tannins, good substance and length; another red needing a tad more bottle age. €24

Centre

Domaine Treloar, Trouillas: Englishman Jonathan Hesford and New Zealander Rachel Treloar walked away from the New York 9/11 terrorist attack to start a new life in wine. Jon qualified and worked in winemaking in New Zealand (Rachel has a finance background) before the couple established this 10 hectare estate winery in the central Roussillon in 2006. Their wines have got better and better over the years: I struggled to pick just a few favourites from the reds on tasting as I liked them all. UK e.g. Cambridge Wine Merchants, Leon Stolarski, Guest Wines, Carte du Vin or order direct online; € prices cellar door or some also available in Germany; US: Vintage 59.
Le Ciel Vide 2018 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (14%): 70% Mourvèdre, 30% Syrah (no oak). Fairly chunky and concentrated, quite firm texture still while offering enticing mature savoury flavours, tasty long finish. £12.25, €10.
Three Peaks 2018 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (14%): Majority Syrah with Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged in vat and used barrels 12 months. Smoky and black cherry nose, concentrated with nice depth and well-balanced mouth-feel, deft mix of 'serious' and drinking now. £12.95-£13.95, €10-€13.
Le Rescapé 2019 Côtes Catalanes IGP (14% abv): 100% Carignan (65 year-old vines), fermented 50% carbonic maceration 50% in cask, then 12 months in used barrels (French). A hint of oak on the nose with ripe and funky notes, liquorice too; lively with nice tangy fruit, weighty yet subtle mouth-feel, good wine. £15.50-£17, €14-€16.
Motus 2017 Côtes du Roussillon (14% abv): Majority Mourvèdre with Syrah and Grenache, aged in (American oak) barriques (20% new) for 12 months. Dark brooding and meaty, pretty 'serious' palate with firm yet supple tannins, long tasty finish; lovely red, just beginning to mature. £17, €15-€19. Jonathan planted more Mourvèdre three years ago, so hopefully there'll be more of this type of wine in the future.
Tahi 2015 Côtes du Roussillon (14% abv): Barrel selection of Syrah (55%), Grenache (18%) and Mourvèdre (27%) from Le Roubau hillside vineyard, aged in (French oak) barriques (40% new) for 12 months. Good colour still, attractive maturing smoky aromas lead to concentrated ripe and meaty flavours, still has a little tannic structure; very good red. £22-£24, €24-€25.

Mas Bécha, Nyls, Ponteilla: Charles Perez has been farming organically and making wine at this 25 hectare estate winery since 2008, which lies on gently hilly terrain in Les Aspres zone. I find some of his reds a little overblown and oaky (and overpriced), but the three recommended here were very tasty showing a good range of quality levels. The fun sketch-style labels often belie something more serious in the bottle. UK: Hallgarten & Novum Wines (importer), Strictly Wine, Hic Wine Merchants, Corking Wines, The Wine Company NI; also available in Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada (Québec).
Classique Rouge
2020 Côtes du Roussillon (14.5% abv): 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, unoaked. Delightful aromatic spicy black cherry style, offers a little depth as well as softish tannins; drinking nicely now. France €10; UK £15-£16.
Excellence Rouge 2020 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Aspres (15.5% abv): 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, unoaked. Very dark purple - black colour, dense and concentrated with intense minty fruit flavours; wow, delicious. €25; £30 The Wine Co. NI.
Patterns 2018 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Aspres (15.5% abv): Block selection of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre; 12 months in new barriques (225 litre 'medium toast'). Pretty serious wine showing sweet kirsch and spice on the nose and palate, more extracted style while concentrated and maturing attractively too; very good, quite pricey: €66.

Château Nadal Hainaut, Le Soler: This handsome peacefully set edifice was built on to a 12th century priory, and in 1900 the Hainaut and Nadal families married creating a new local wine dynasty. Today, the 40 hectares of vineyards (the overall estate is three times that size) lying between Le Soler and Thuir, winemaking and other aspects of the business are managed by Jean Marie Nadal with daughters Julie and Pauline. They produce a fairly large and variable range, but these two were my favourites of their reds. Some nice white and fortified wines to follow in my next Roussillon post. You can stay there too in the huge luxurious holiday gîte. Certified organic.
Odyssée
2019 Côtes du Roussillon (14.5% abv): Two-thirds to one third Syrah and Grenache, no oak. Enticing minty and herby nose suffused with dark fruits, quite firmly structured with lightly grippy texture on the finish, but it's pretty dense too. €13 cellar door.
Terre de Quarante 2017 Côtes du Roussillon (14% abv): From a selection of 'our best Syrah and Grenache vines', aged in French oak for 12 months. Light waft of oak on the nose but it shows attractive maturing fruit as well, the tannins are similarly quite solid still but the wine has good substance. €15

Photos either taken by me or downloaded from the producer's website or Facebook. Next Roussillon feature on WW.com: white, rosé and fortified wines...

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