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04 December 2023

Roussillon: the south.

The final rant of 2023 about the Roussillon covers my favourites encountered earlier this year from the Côte Vermeille: mainly Collioure white wines (rosé is here), Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel (VDN) sweet fortified wines (including some old vintages), and neighbouring Côtes du Roussillon (white and red) that miss the Collioure appellation (of little importance apart from the price they can charge!).

Domaine des Deux Puits
Mas Cristine 2022 Côtes du Roussillon Blanc: 40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Macabeu, 10% Roussanne, 10% Vermentino; barrel fermented and aged for 6 months. Nice mix of zesty characters and fuller fatter fruit flavours, tight fresh finish too. France €13.50. £19-£21 UK.
Mas Cristine 2021 Côtes du Roussillon Rouge: 45% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 20% Carignan; 50-50 tanks and barriques for 12 months. Appealingly juicy and soft with black fruits, fresh and chalky texture, good. €13.50 France. £19-£21 UK.
Domaine Deprade Jorda
Tradition 2022 Côtes du Roussillon Blanc: 60% Grenache Blanc, 40% Macabeu, a few months in tank. Aromatic and juicy with yeast-lees and chalky tones, fresh long finish, good value. €9 France, Belgium. Photo: facebook.com/DomaineDepradeJorda.

L'Etoile Les Toiles Fauves 2022 Collioure Blanc: 70% Grenache Blanc, 30% Grenache Gris, left on the fine lees until bottling. Aromatic citrus and lifted lees notes, juicy and crisp mouthfeel, nice white. €12.55-€17.65 France.
Domaine Piétri-Géraud L'Ecume 2022 Collioure Blanc: 80% Grenache Gris and Blanc, 15% Vermentino, 5% Marsanne; fermented in tank and 400L barrels, aged in barrels for 6 months. Juicy zesty and chalky, zingy intense and lingering, this white should develop in bottle. Quite expensive: €18-€21 France, Belgium. £20 UK.
Domaine Tambour Hautes Vignes 2022 Collioure Blanc: 60% Grenache Blanc, 40% Vermentino; transferred to barrel after fermentation for lees stirring before bottling. More honeyed and fatter textured vs zingy finish, good although dear. €19.50 France. 125Kr DK.
Domaine La Tour Vieille Les Canadells 2022 Collioure Blanc: 60% Grenache Gris, 30% Grenache Blanc, 10% Roussanne; fermented in vat, regular lees-stirring. Subtle with zingy chalky texture, appealing 'mineral' tones and length, lingering oily mouthfeel vs lively citrus, classy. €17.50-€19.50 France, Netherlands, Germany. £19.75 UK. $33 US.

Domaine Madeloc Tremadoc 2022 Collioure Blanc: 60% Grenache Gris, 20% Vermentino, 20% Roussanne; barrel fermented (no new oak) and left on lees for 9 months. Richer style with more tropical fruit yet still enticingly zesty on the lingering finish. €19-€20 France, Belgium. £20-£23.50 UK. Photo from famillepierregaillard.com.
Clos Saint-Sébastien Inspiration Minérale 2021 Collioure Blanc: 90% Grenache Gris, 10% Grenache Blanc; fermented and matured for 1 year in demi-muids. Hints of oak but with lifted aromatics too, nicely textured palate with fresh zesty finish. Expensive though: €28-€34 France.

Banyuls Vins Doux Naturels
Terraced vines, Banyuls-sur-Mer: www.vialmagneres.fr

L'Etoile Cuvée Réservée 1997 Banyuls Grand Cru: 75% Grenache, 15% Grenache Gris, 10% Carignan; aged for 24 years in vat (first year) then various barrel sizes and bottle. Wow, addictive toffee and dried cherry aromas / flavours, sweet concentrated and complex, still has a bit of firmness and oomph on the finish too. €48 France.
Domaine Vial-Magnères André Magnères 2009 Banyuls Grand Cru (19% abv, 110 grams/litre residual sugar): 70 year-old Grenache, matured for 10 years in old demi-muid casks then in bottle. Darker colour, much more concentrated with fig and coffee notes among other aromas and flavours, still quite punchy and alive. Delicious. €44 France. €58 Finland. 39 CHF. $145 Aus.
Domaine Piétri-Géraud Méditerranée Banyuls 2017 (90 gr/l RS): 90% Grenache (noir and gris), 10% Carignan; matured in barriques not topped up for 4-5 years. Intricate maturing style, some tannin on the palate layered with lovely tasty sweet / savoury fruit; still quite youthful and promising. €24-€26 France, Netherlands.
Maison Chapoutier Banyuls Blanc 1999 (17% abv): Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Muscat; matured in full casks and bottle (reductively). Beautiful example of how well 'white' Banyuls (the colour was deep amber-brown) can age and mellow; who did he buy it from?! €38 France. US, UK, Thailand.

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