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Showing posts with label Força Réal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Força Réal. Show all posts

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...

05 October 2010

Roussillon: Domaine Força Réal, Millas/Força Réal

Cyril Henriquès, right
Yours truly, centre, and American guest
Photo: Vi Erickson
The Henriquès family's elevated hillside estate - with terrain running up from 100m to over 400m above sea level, giving you an idea of what kind of "slope" we're talking about - is accessed (and signposted) off the road between Millas (behind the town over the river) and Corneilla-la-Rivière; keep going up the track until you find the elegant orange Mediterranean villa. A personal project spanning over 15 years, Jean-Paul and now son Cyril have invested a lot of energy and money into restoring vineyards (JP started replanting in 1992), (re)building the house, a new underground barrel cellar and tasting room cum visitor reception. Cyril thinks the next step is "maybe to offer on-site accommodation by refitting the old farmhouse buildings alongside the winery." Fantastic view too, by the way.
There are now over 40 ha (100 acres) of vines in production and ten of olive trees; their extra virgin olive oil is very tasty too, if you ever get the chance to visit (don't just turn up though, as Cyril's main office is in Perpignan). Apart from the reds below I tasted in situ in May 2007 and October 2010, DFR produces quite fine Muscat de Rivesaltes and a delicious barrel-matured 'Hors d'Age' style (€6.50-€7.50 50cl), which is great with strongly flavoured cheeses or nut-based puddings. Most of their wines are sold in export markets with the US and UK “really beginning to take off,” I'm told (e.g. Mark Hughes’ Real Wine Company on-line, or see their website for distributors and on-line shop). More Força Réal wines here (Vinisud 2006, Montpellier).

2004 Mas de la Garrigue Côtes du Roussillon – nice ripe Grenache (it is mostly) fruit layered with black cherry and rustic peppery notes; attractive tight fresh palate, dry grip v fruity softness. €5 87
2005 Domaine de Força Réal Côtes du Roussillon Villages (14.5%) – more closed up with hints of chocolatey wood plumped up with lush fruit, dry tannins on its tight framework, power yet elegant too; not showing that much at the moment, it needs a few months to a year to express itself. €10 89+
2003 Les Hauts de Força Réal Côtes du Roussillon Villages (80%
Syrah + Mourvèdre Grenache) – smoky blackberry fruit with subtle coco oak, maturing rustic liquorice edges; dry structured finish v Black Forest gateau "sweetness", elegant length and style. €15-€20 90-92

UPDATE autumn 2010: I sampled all three 2008 reds with Cyril, who'd just finished picking the last of the 2010 fruit, in their cool barrel cellar at the beginning of October. By the way, good to see the price of these wines (all 3 now "classified" as Côtes du Roussillon Villages, if that makes any difference) hasn't changed much, if at all.
2008 Mas de la Garrigue (Grenache Syrah Carignan 14.5%) - lovely bright fruit with dark cherry and liquorice notes, minty and peppery touches too; attractive and quite intense fruit on the palate, light grip of tannins and a bit of oomph too. €6 87+
2008 Domaine de Força Réal (similar blend but higher-altitude vineyards, 14.5%) - similar nose to start but richer and spicier; more concentrated too with nice "sweet/savoury" style, tight fresh tannins vs lush fruit; fairly elegant too despite its (attractive) weight. €10 89+
2008 Les Hauts de Força Réal (mostly Syrah + Mourvèdre from the highest parcels) - the new oak is pretty up-front and coconutty still, but this wine shows great depth of fruit vs punchy yet subtle at the same time; firmer and more solid although its rounded tannins help absorb some of that oak, leaving a well-balanced and tight finish. Needs a few years to open up. €20 90+

Mas de la Garrigue, 66170 Millas. Tel: 04 68 85 06 07, www.forcareal.com.


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