"Order my book on the Roussillon wine region (colour paperback) DIRECT FROM ME SAVING £4/€4 (UK & EU only), or Kindle eBook on Amazon UK. Available in the USA from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook; or Amazon.com. For other countries, tap here." Richard Mark James
Showing posts with label Côtes du Roussillon Villages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Côtes du Roussillon Villages. Show all posts

27 November 2023

Roussillon: the north continued.

Overlooking a vineyard, Cases-de-Pène Agly Valley.

Continuing this year's series of tasting and touring articles on the Roussillon, this time we're heading back north to the Agly Valley to supplement a previous piece on the Maury area, as well as one focused on winemakers in central Roussillon (Les Aspres and either side) and one celebrating the region's rosé wines (compared to Languedoc). Meaning there'll be one more report picking favourites from the south (Collioure, Banyuls and neighbouring Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes Catalanes wines).

17 November 2023

Roussillon: Les Aspres, the centre and beyond.

Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, central Roussillon.

Côtes du Roussillon Villages and Les Aspres, Côtes du Roussillon, Côtes Catalanes and Rivesaltes VDNs.
Talking of the Aspres and neighbouring areas in central and eastern Roussillon, barrels full of heartfelt empathy go out to those winegrowers who had the very bad luck of being hit by a freak storm just before some remaining black grapes were due to be picked this vintage. One night of terrible wind and rain after months of drought with virtually no rainfall, which had already made things difficult and reduced the crop.

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.

08 July 2022

Roussillon - the north: 27 reds to knock your socks off (part 1).

This spicy variety of reds features some of my top picks from a Wines of Roussillon tasting in London (in June), and other recommendations from recent wine shopping. These include reds from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 vintages, as well as a few older, more mature and sometimes special bottlings. They were made by different-sized wine producers across the northern Roussillon - Les Pyrénées Orientales is the département name - or 'French Catalonia' as I coined in the subtitle of my book on the region.

19 October 2021

Roussillon 2019 reds: La Préceptorie, Domaine Jones and Vignobles d'Agly.

The three 2019 vintage reds tasting-noted here come from a few different northern Roussillon vineyard locations. Full profiles of these wineries and notes on their other wines and previous vintages can be found in my book on the Roussillon. These tasty reds are all available from the Wine Society in the UK (among others, and in other countries), which I became a member of recently.

16 December 2020

Roussillon: top 100 red wines

Apart from another excuse to plug my new book on the Roussillon (links to previous post with details, or go straight to Amazon UK or USA or Barnes & Noble to buy it - other formats and countries' stores are also linked in the post above), here are some of my hot red wine tips from the region made by producers featured in the book. Many winemakers have just released their 2018 and 2019 reds, and I look forward to tasting more of these next year (?!) when we're able to travel safely to France again due to the ongoing Covid-19 nightmare.

27 October 2020

ROUSSILLON ‘French Catalonia’ Wild Wine Country by Richard Mark James

This detailed book on the Roussillon wine region in deepest south of France, or far western French Mediterranean to be more precise, is available to order on Amazon as a paperback (with colour photos) and eBook (Kindle). Follow the link below to your 'marketplace' to read the blurb, get swept away and purchase a copy!
Or buy it DIRECT FROM THE AUTHOR (UK and EU only):

08 May 2014

Roussillon: Mas Amiel update

There are already several words about Mas Amiel on this blog (searches for everything) and their wide range of wines, so I won't add too many more... But MA has launched a series of single block reds called 'Terres Rares' including 'Towards the North' tasting-noted below, which, apart from this vineyard's "does what it says on the label" exposure, comes from a two hectare "parcel" called La Devèze. In particular, plots of "old-vine black Grenache and Syrah (about 8% of the latter) on schist soil with sandstone, blueish limestone and clay," apparently. Anyway, what I liked especially about this red is, unlike some of Amiel's other non-Vin Doux Naturel wines (fortified sweet reds) made a little too Bordeaux-y, it isn't smothered in flashy new oak and really lets the pure Grenache fruit and some kind of intense wild French Mediterranean thing shine through.

Vers le Nord Maury sec 2012 (Grenache, Syrah; 14% abv) - delicious ripe yet floral Grenache nose with dark berries, kirsch, liquorice, pepper and almost wild thyme/pine too; lush concentrated and structured with lovely supple vs 'chalky' tannins, powerful and spicy with nice bite; closes up on its youthful fruit finish, needs some time to open up. Quite classy red. Amiel's wines are listed in the UK and Ireland by e.g. The Perfect Cellar, Lea & Sandeman and Bubble Brothers, although none of them sell this one yet as it's new, as I said. €19.50 cellar door.

And these were (re)tasted recently in London as a reminder of how tasty their 'traditional' Maurys are, made in two very different styles (the link at the top takes you to more info about VDN winemaking). Although they do also remind us, along with the "dry" Maury above, that Amiel's wines are expensive; there's no other way of saying it!

Maury Vintage 2008 (Grenache, 16% abv) - smoky tobacco and developing savoury tones vs sweet blackberry and spice, still young vs maturing meaty side, quite elegant actually for a fortified red. £29.99
Maury 15 Ans d'Age (blend of ages averaging at least 15 years, or something like that; Grenache, Macabeu, Carignan, 16% abv) - "red Madeira" style, complex with cooked red fruits and tangy nutty flavours, long and intricate finish; lovely VDN. £49.99

07 November 2013

Roussillon: Domaine Modat, Cassagnes

Overseen/run by father/son Henri and Philippe Modat, who are originally from the Roussillon and "came back to the old country and took over some old family vines," after various high-profile legal and business careers in Paris. The estate was thus established in 2007, which comes to 20-something hectares (50+acres) in the Cassagnes area (circled by the villages of Montner, Latour, Rasiguères and Bélesta) lying on a "200 to 300 metre altitude plateau." The main intro page on their website (goes there) doesn't mention some of the white varieties I was told are in the 'de-ci de-là' blend - maybe because they really are picked "from here and there," as the name implies, from the odd white vine mixed in with the reds - but does say that four ha of Grenache blanc, Viognier and Roussanne were planted in 2009. Anyway, the dominant grapes by far are Syrah and Carignan, some of the latter dating from 1905 and 1930. Under the guidance of vineyard manager Laurent Abet, they're in the process of converting over to organics, with all the usual 'green' practices and philosophy that involves. Their groovy eco-friendly cellar, fitted with solar panels supplying more than enough electricity to power the winery, they claim, was built in 2008, the year of the Modat family's maiden vintage.

From facebook.com/pages/Domaine-Modat
As suggested above, Philippe's wines have quirky personal, and rather cute, names with reds dominating the field; the ones profiled here are labelled under the Cotes du Roussillon Villages Caramany sub-appellation, which includes Cassagnes (don't ask). Hence 'comme avant' (“like before” or “in the old days"), 'sans plus attendre' (“without waiting any longer” or “without further ado” perhaps) and “the nicest one” or 'le plus joli'... These wines are available in the UK and Ireland from James Nicholson (= the second pair of prices in £ and € - the first € price quoted is cellar door or delivered in France). Going there: “Les Plas”, 66720 Cassagnes. Phone 04 68 54 39 14.

2010 comme avant (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan from some of the oldest vines bearing the best fruit; half of it aged in new oak for 16 months) - perfumed sweet liquorice with white pepper and wild flower notes, nice 'chalky' tannins and bite vs rounded texture, weight and power; subtle aromatic fruit on its very attractive finish. €12 cellar door. JN Wine £14.99 / €21.80

2010 sans plus attendre (70% Syrah, Grenache, Carignan) - a bit closed up and delicate even at first, tight 'fresh' tannins with a hint of oak grain, nice ripe berry fruit and spice; tightens up on its fairly elegant yet powerful finish (sounds like a contradiction to me, ed.). €14.50 cellar door. JN Wine £17.50 / €23.49
And this is what I said about the same wine the first time I tasted it in a different setting, while judging at this year's International Grenache Competition (Gold medal winner):
Sans plus attendre 2010 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Caramany - attractive white pepper, sweet cherry and liquorice; firm vs rounded with powerful yet balanced finished. 90

2009 le plus joli (2/3 Syrah, 1/3 Carignan, old vines in the highest sites) - pretty heavy on the coconut to start vs that lush dark fruit again, the oak lingers a little vs very structured and tight wine still for a 2009; attractive tannin texture though, would like to try it again when it's opened up more. Dear too at €38 cellar door.

2011 de-ci de-là white (Carignan blanc, Grenache blanc and gris, Macabeu; 5 months in oak) - toasty vs exotic peachy fruit, has a touch of freshness and 'salty' bite too vs rounder finish, a little elegance vs power and weight. €12 cellar door. JN Wine £14.99 / €21.80

22 August 2013

Roussillon: Domaine de Sabbat, Latour de France

Sylvain Lejeune (pic. taken from www.domainedesabbat.fr) founded his own 10 ha (25 acre) estate in 2008, having worked at several wineries in France from Bordeaux to Burgundy to Provence. The vineyards lie in different spots on very varied terrain - schist, marl and clay-chalk soils - near the brooding villages of Maury, Tautavel and Vingrau across the wildly pretty Agly Valley; Sylvain's winery/cellar and home are in nearby Latour de France though. He claims to follow organic regulations but isn't certified (time yet to put on that straight-jacket), and he makes a red Rivesaltes Grenat VDN style and a rosé too. The 'Spring 1900' label refers to a small plot of senior citizen LLadoner Pelut, a Catalan variety closely related to black Grenache, used for this particular red blend. And let's not forget helping-hand Pilou the dog, aka 'Doudou', who's apparently "priceless when it comes to making decisions..." € prices are online for delivery in France.

2011 white Côtes du Roussillon (mostly Grenache gris, Grenache blanc & Macabeu; fermented and aged in cask for 12 months) - fairly toasty yet has exotic fruit too, rounded nutty palate, quite rich and juicy with creamier side then an elegant 'mineral' touch to finish. €14
2010 red Côtes du Roussillon Villages (80% old-vine Carignan, 20% Syrah; aged in cask for 8 months plus six in tank) - nice dark 'tar' and liquorice vs crunchy berry, fresh and lively mouth-feel with light grip and a little power too. Attractive style drinking now. €12
2010 Printemps 1900 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (2/3 Grenache & LLadoner Pelut, Syrah & Carignan; 12 months in cask + 6 in tank) - more blackberry/cherry, dark and peppery; chunkier lusher and firmer too, concentrated with attractive tannins; closes up on its promising finish. €16
2009 Printemps '1900' - savoury hints with wild herby/floral character vs dried black fruits, a touch more chocolate oak texture, more powerful; still quite firm and tight with similar concentration. Typical 09 perhaps, less obvious. €16

16 August 2013

Roussillon: Domaine des Soulanes update

Fooled you - IT'S HERE actually...

Some of those Soulanes = south-facing hillside
Taken by Vi Erickson

14 August 2013

Roussillon: Domaine Rousselin update

There's a "virtual and tasty" update on Laurence and Pascal Rousselin's wee estate winery HERE, tucked away in pretty hilltop Lesquerde in deepest Fenouillèdes country...

18 May 2013

Roussillon: Mas Delmas, Rivesaltes

Pruning at Mas Delmas - yes, it's cold in the Roussillon in winter!
Pierre-André and Mercedes Delmas' organic vineyards lie on low south-facing slopes of the Corbieres hills, in the Rivesaltes and Salses-le-Chateau area in the northeastern corner of rough-and-ready Roussillon country. This wide-open windswept terrain feels exposed and airy under a vast, bright and 'larger than life' skyline, as you look out to sea to the east and the Pyrenees to the southwest. Mind you, it isn't always dry and sunny here: I see from their blog that their cellar in Rivesaltes was flooded in March after a mega deluge. Hopefully didn't cause any lasting damage or losses. Having lived in the region, I can indeed confirm that, when it rains, it can rain big time. In addition to a few Roussillon red blends and Muscat and Rivesaltes VDN styles, they also make a new 50/50 old-vine Grenache-Syrah called 'Nature' with no added sulphites and a white and rosé.

Marie Delmas Muscat sec 2011 (12.5% abv) - pretty typical easy-going aromatic dry Muscat style, although a touch fuller and rounder than most; went well with a variety of Chinese dishes (spicy stir-fried veg, salt & chilli prawns, sesame coated pork, smoky noodles...).
Marie Delmas Côtes du Roussillion Villages 2010 (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre; 13.5% abv) - rich dark cherry fruit with savoury black olive and wild volatile edges, peppery and dry vs quite soft tannins, nice balance actually of fruit, grip and concentration giving a solid vs drinking well palate profile. Fairly wild/volatile on the nose but has attractive texture, flavour and depth too.
M del Mas 2009 (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan; 14% abv, 50 cl) - rich dried black cherry with smoky savoury meaty edges, concentrated and lush vs lovely dry yet supple tannins, hints of coconut vs nice maturing fruit, powerful yet balanced finish.
Muscat 2005 Vin Doux Naturel (aged in casks for 6+ years) - quirky complex style of Muscat, caramelized marmalade flavours blend with baked Brazil and pecan nuts, tangy long finish layered with lush dried fruits. Dessert alternative on its own or pour some over vanilla ice cream!

Going there:  29 avenue du stade, 66600 Rivesaltes. Phone: +33(0) 468 518 810.

14 January 2013

Roussillon: Domaine de Joliette, Espira de l'Agly

Domaine de Joliette

Jean Gardiès' (update to follow soon) neighbours Philippe (pic.) and Laurence Mercier have been based in Espira for some time now – and there's a “...great-grandfather and grandfather after the war... with even older Catalan roots...” story lurking nicely in there somewhere - and Joliette is rightly a well-known name on the northern Roussillon quality circuit. Eleven vine varieties, including more whites than you might imagine in this sometimes very hot and dry microclimate and terrain, and their treasured environment have been looked after using organics since 2000. All in all, around 30 ha/75 acres make up the Joliette estate lying on the spectacular near-lunar (although a touch more wooded!) landscape nestling up near Espira and Vingrau on the edge of the Corbières hills.
Route de Vingrau, 66600 Espira de l'Agly. Phone: 04 68 64 50 60 / 06 80 33 31 44. mercier.joliette@wanadoo.fr & www.joliette-mercier.com.

2010 Côtes du Roussillon white – nutty honeyed nose, toasty and creamy palate with roasted hazelnut notes vs nice crisper 'mineral' side too. Good to very good.
2009 Côtes du Roussillon red – toasted oak tones layered with very ripe dark fruit, concentrated and grippy, closes up a little on its taut finish. Needs time.
2006 Cuvée Montpins (mostly Mourvèdre) – mix of herby, black olive and cooked cassis notes; concentrated and firm mouth-feel with savoury vs dark fruit, powerful and still youthful finish. Wow, very good.
2005 Côtes du Roussillon Villages – savoury leather aromas with minty edges too, structured and concentrated, quite extracted tannins with coconut nuances vs rich and dark texture. Good+

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.

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...

21 August 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Jean Louis Tribouley, Latour de France

Jean Louis Tribouley
Jean Louis Tribouley
From Weygandt Wines site
I've bumped into Jean Louis a few times over the years at various tastings and goings-on in the area, but most recently in Montpellier at the 2012 edition of Millésime Bio wine show and the Real Wine Fair in London. These charming encounters reminded me what tireless enthusiasm he has for his wines, what he does to create them and this way of life. Smiley easy-going JL started up his own estate about ten years ago, after a stint working for Gauby as seems to be the fashion as some kind of almost mandatory 'real-wine' apprenticeship for several of the region's best growers, or best-known at least.
Jean Louis decided to farm his vines and grapes organically from the word go – how could you not having spent time with Gérard Gauby, who wouldn't tolerate anything else! - and is also keen on applying biodynamic methods, as well as a 'low-or-no' sulphite rationale. His 14 ha (35 acres) of vineyards are spread out between fairly remote spots in Latour, Maury and Calce. The most recent acquisition was a few mixed plots of elderly Grenache gris and Macabeu used for his white wines; and most of the reds are based on a healthy dollop of sexy old-vine Grenache and/or Carignan. US distributor is Weygandt Wines (Washington DC) or K&D Wines (NYC), and Indigo Wine in London. There's no website/blog, but you could try emailing on jean-louis.tribouley@orange.fr. Or if you want to call in: 9 Place Marcel Vie, 66720 Latour de France; tel. 04 68 29 03 86.

2011 white (Grenache gris, Macabeu; unfinished sample) – a touch of toasted oak underlined by exotic banana and pineapple fruit, yeast lees edges bring out its attractive quite rich vs crisp and tight features. Good stuff.
2010 Marceau white Côtes Catalanes (mostly Macabeu grown on schist soil) – similar profile to above but creamier/buttery and layered with unusual flowery notes, minty even; rich vs crisp palate, very good actually.
2010 Les Copines Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache, Carignan) – intense and 'inky'/rustic nose with rich vs crunchy fruit profile, turning to enticing leather vs liquorice notes, concentrated spicy finish with a touch of dry grip. Good.
2009 L'Alba Côtes du Roussillon (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah) – reduced/awkward nose, moves on to roasted red pepper hints vs very dark fruit and lightly toasty chocolate tones; quite wild and powerful with underlying lush intense finish, again shows a quirky mix of rustic-edged, peppery and charred almost (but it's not the oak)! Exciting though. US $20.
2009 Les 3 Lunes Côtes du Roussillon Villages – a touch 'finer' with the same kind of attractive ripe dark vs spicy and earthy mix, again concentrated and intense on its long finish. Very good+.
2009 Cuvée 1901 – quite rustic, wild and/or 'bretty' but has lovely intense roasted 'garrigue' characters too; not so sure this one's for me but...

Tribouley tasted and talked about previously on this blog:
Roussillon trip 2005 (including his 2003 Alba).
Probably more to follow...

23 July 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Cazes update, Rivesaltes

Lionel Lavail and Emmanuel Cazes
Click here to read what I've said about Cazes and their wines on various occasions over the past six years. The most recent catch-up session with Emmanuel Cazes (vineyard manager & winemaker) and Lionel Lavail (sales director) was at Millésime Bio organic wine show earlier this year, where I had the chance to try some of their 2010 and 2011 vintages. These were my favourite two for entirely different reasons...

Canon du Maréchal 2011 Muscat/Viognier - grapey aromas with exotic touches, apricot vs orange notes; crisp and 'mineral' with light bitter twist, nice and easy style. €6.60 cellar door.
2010 Ego Côtes du Roussillon Villages (still roughly the same Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre blend) – attractive dark fruit with savoury edges and towards chocolate notes/texture although it's quite subtle, nice ripe mouthful offset by herby edges, grippy vs rounded mouth-feel. Good stuff, possibly better than previous vintages. €10 cellar door (comparatively much better value than the above).

LATEST vintage VDN released by Cazes tasted here: Rivesaltes ambré 2000 (February 2014).

Roussillon: Domaine de l'Ausseil update, Latour de France

Latour de France overlooking Grenache gris vines  Domaine de L'Ausseil
Latour de France watching over old Grenache gris vines
Domaine de L'Ausseil
Previous wines and words on Domaine de l'Ausseil can be found here (April 2007 and April 2009). Owner/grower/winemaker Jacques de Chancel was, as sure as flowering follows budding, at the 2012 vintage version of Millésime Bio wine fair (held in Montpellier earlier this year) with the latest vintages gleaned from about 10 organic ha (25 acres) of mostly old vines scattered around the handsome timeless village of Latour de France (photo). Among other things, Jacques told me that, in addition to organic-only treatments in their vineyards, he's also focusing on using "very little - less than 10 milligrams per litre - or no SO2" (sulphites in winemaking: without wanting to get too chemical, 10mg/l is roughly 10% or less of what could be in a 'regular' bottle, depending on the wine/winemaker). €uro prices below are cellar door (in France obviously) to give you an indication: more info @ www.lausseil.com.

2011 P'tit Piaf white - very Muscaty with orange peel vs floral grapey notes, ripe and rounded vs crisp and juicy. Nice easy style. €6.50
2011 P'tit Piaf rosé (Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah) - zingy 'mineral' touches with yeast-lees undertones, crisp dry finish. Nice style again. €6.50
2010 Papillon (Grenache gris/blanc, Macabeu, Muscat) - rich nose with complex 'volatile' edges, lovely spicy vs honeyed palate with lush and lees-y vs intense 'mineral' finish. Very good dry white. €13
2008 La Capitelle Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France (Carignan, Syrah, Grenache) – lush vs savoury style red, again has that intriguing wilder side and lovely concentrated fruit; developing quite fast but it's still very good. €9.50
2007 Les Trois Pierres Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France – reductive/herby vs ripe and aromatic Syrah dominant profile (?), meaty and concentrated with chunky tannins, developing complex flavours with powerful finish. Lovely red. €14
2011 Prise de Bec red (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre) – lively black cherry/berry and cassis to start, soft vs dry texture, attractive quaffer finishing with peppery liquorice notes.
2011 Du Vent dans les Plumes(Carignan based) – quite rustic / bretty even (?) and spicy, although the former works here thanks to its rich vs crunchy mix of flavours and textures; concentrated too with thick yet supple tannins. Very good actually despite that initial nose.

25 June 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Carle-Courty, Millas

Véronique and Frédéric Carle set up shop, vines and cellar in 1995, leaving their legal and accounting careers happily behind them (still, must be handy experience for getting to grips with local wine politics, admin and economics!), up on the slopes of the Força Réal hill overlooking Millas and other surrounding villages (over 500 metres altitude or about 1550 feet). Twelve out of 15 grape-producing (rather than cats...) hectares (they've been planting more Grenache 'black' and 'grey', as they say in French) have been organic since 2002. Força Réal is a stunning spot and great vantage point to take in the lie of the land of parcelled vineyards, olive groves, wild woodland and rocky outcrops around here. There's a signposted route off the Estagel road leading up to one of those view and info points; and a couple of other estates worth checking out up here too: Domaine Força-Réal and Domaine Boucabeille (profile and wine notes to follow).

2009 Camps Bernats Côtes du Roussillon white (Roussanne, Macabeu, Grenache gris) - quite toasty vs nicely oily and rich, attractive peachy fruit too with creamy and nutty finish. Good stuff, mature now.
2011 Arbosseres rosé (mostly Syrah + Grenache) - full-on colour and red fruity style, quite rich and rounded vs crisp finish. Nice foodie rosé.
2009 Cuvée Marion Côtes du Roussillon red (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre) - enticing dark fruit tinged with subtle oak, punchy and grippy mouth-feel vs lush and ripe, concentrated too. Very good.
2008 Cuvée Quentin Côtes du Roussillon Villages (more Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre) - richer smokier and a tad toastier, concentrated and powerful with solid firm backdrop, closes up on the long finish. Fairly wow.

Photo copied from www.sud-de-france.com, as they don't appear to have their own site yet; but you can email them on domaine.carlecourty@orange.fr if you wanted to call in and taste or find out where to get their wines. These four were tasted at this year's Millésime Bio wine show in Montpellier, where I talked to Frédéric.


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