"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 Languedoc-Roussillon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Languedoc-Roussillon. Show all posts

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.

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):

26 June 2014

Languedoc & Roussillon: Domaines Auriol

Les Domaines Auriol, brainchild of Claude Vialade (pic.) who set up the company in 1995, is a producer and property owner with organically run vineyards in Corbières, operates as a broker buying and selling other estate wines and varietals and also offers a winemaking service sourcing tailor-made wines for clients from a whole host of partner wineries across the big south. Apparently they export 90% of production, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find some of their wines in a country near you. I was told Myliko is the UK importer but couldn't find any obvious Auriol wines on their site.

More info @ www.saint-auriol.com, where I found Claude's imaginative and amusing catchphrase: "Redécouvrir l'artisanat industriel," roughly translating as "Rediscover mass-produced craftsmanship," obviously a contradiction in terms but I think she's poking fun at snooty wine people who believe all big is bad. I remember seeing signs for "pain industriel" in French supermarkets, used in a patronising if not deadpan accurate sense like that. Anyway, here's a small selection of her wines sampled over the last few months.

2012 Les Flamants Picpoul de Pinet – enticing yeasty edges, oily vs crisp mouth-feel, concentrated and stylish dry white.
2012 Belles du Sud Cabernet Franc – nice Cab Franc styling showing red pepper notes vs a smokier and richer side.
2012 Domaine Mirabau Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache, Syrah) – a tad 'volatile' and soupy perhaps but has nice soft rich palate.
2011 Intense de Claude Vialade Languedoc (Syrah, Grenache) – attractive ripe dark fruit style with a hint of spice and grip vs lusher mouth-feel.
2011 Croix d'Aline Saint-Chinian (Syrah, Grenache) – lots of lovely sweet cherry and liquorice fruit, ripe and soft palate with complex smoky maturing notes.
2013 Château Cicéron rosé - attractive style dry rosé with creamy red fruits vs lees-y and crisp mouth-feel.

03 August 2013

Sud de France Festival London 31 August

Or "Languedoc‐Roussillon Joie de Vivre in the heart of London (on the Southbank)..." as their PR blurb says; sounds tempting, non? All you need to know here: festival-suddefrance.com with updates on Facebook SuddeFranceFestivalUK and Twitter @Suddefranceuk / #suddefrance.
A few people showing their south of France wines and food include Bemywine, Hourlier, Majestic, Roberson, Sanglier, Borough Wines, Château Cabezac, Gerard Bertrand, Laurent Miquel, Paul Mas, Elliots, Le Marché du Quartier, RAW, Saveur du Sud and Summer Fruit...

15 June 2012

Sud de France Festival London

... Has blasted off. Check out this link for all Languedoc-Roussillon wine & food events taking place until the end of the month:

14 July 2011

Domaine les Enfants Sauvages, Opoul / Fitou

Update: I chatted and tasted with Carolin and Nikolaus at the first "natural" wine fair held in London back in May (click for more info); there's a bit of detail and philosophy on "the wild children" below scribbled after a laid-back visit to their cellar a couple of years ago. These wines sell for £10-£15 in the UK available via their agent Dynamic Vines; and from two US importers: Williams Corner Wine in Charlottesville, Virginia, and another one whose name escapes me in Boston. They're all monikered as vin de pays des Cotes Catalanes (read on for explanation...) and 'scored' using my now world-famous 1-2-3 'system' (see blurb, right hand column):
2009 Cool Moon white (Grenache blanc, Grenache gris, Carignan blanc) - very appley and nutty nose, almost fino/cider like; perhaps a tad too much so as it's verging on acetic, but not quite... that's "natural" for you.
2007 Les Enfants Sauvages red (Grenache, Carignan) - no wood: nice dark berry with fruity vs tangier side, easy going and ripe style with maturing edges, soft elegant finish. 1
2007 Roi des Lézards (Carignan) - aged 2 years in large casks: perfumed ripe blueberry vs liquorice hints, again attractive maturing fruit and tannins, subtle flourish. 1-2

Hesitating whether to head up this profile as Roussillon or Languedoc, since the "wild children," aka Carolin and Nikolaus Bantlin and sons (not so savage really), have a little winery/cellar underneath and adjoining their house up the hill in the village of Fitou itself; but the wild-child vineyards lie just over the 'border' towards Opoul, which is what counts at the end of the day if we must locate them on paper, so to speak. Carolin and Nikolaus' story is the kind-of love story I've written about before on this site, but I certainly don't mind telling it again. They fell in love with a beautiful place frozen in time, which was the catalyst for leaving their native Germany and settling in the area as soon as they could. So, in 1999 they bought some old vineyards surrounded by dry scented scrubland a few kilometres inland from Fitou and an elderly house in the village, which was refitted in 2004 to accommodate a new cellar.
Right from the start, like many young couples from elsewhere turned independent growers, they decided to nurture the eight ha (20 acres) of vines that "came with the land" as naturally as possible, using that "new-old approach" as they call it and by extension a minimalist winemaking touch as well. As their goal was to be certified organic (they are, as well as practising certain biodynamic methods), they realised - encouraged by Olivier Pithon among others - it didn't make a lot of sense to carry on being co-op growers (2001-2) and waving goodbye to their treasured grapes once picked. So, they took the plunge, went back to school and fused a mini-winery into their home, as I said. Good job too, otherwise these lovely wines (notes below) might not ever have seen the light of day. All the promising 2008s were tasted from vat or barrel (unfinished obviously) in March 2009.
2008 Carignan blanc - attractive fresh acid structure, tight and long palate; the barrel fermentation doesn't overpower it at all.
2008 Grenache blanc - slightly more exotic fruit aromas, again fresh tight and long in the mouth with a tad of light coconut flavour / texture.
2008 Grenache gris - fatter and peachier with apricot notes too vs nice taut mouthfeel and framework.
2008 Grenache rosé (barrel-fermented) - rounded and full-bodied rather than overtly fruity, long dry finish. Unusual.
2008 Carignan (60%+) Grenache Mourvèdre blend - six days maceration with foot-treading. Delicious black fruits and spice, firm framework on the mouth, fresh with lively fruit and attractive tannins. Lovely.
2008 Carignan (90%) Syrah - more perfumed with enticing blueberry fruit, 'sweet' and ripe vs tangy and tight, rounded tannins again.
2006 Roi des Lézards (Carignan Grenache Mourvèdre 14%) - nice "vinous" fruit and mouthfeel (wine like!) with very light chocolate / coconut texture; cherry and black olive notes, turning savoury & leathery vs vibrant and refreshing, solid yet rounded finish. Yum. €12 88-90
Muscat Vin Doux Naturel - very aromatic orange peel and grape nose; zingy and zesty with lovely fresh bite vs quite sweet and lush. 87+

10-12 rue Gilbert Salamo, 11510 Fitou. Tel: 04 68 45 69 75, www.les-enfants-sauvages.com.


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